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Discover Your Unique Way to Connect with God: The 9 Sacred Pathways

Since God made us uniquely, it’s not surprising that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to how we worship and engage with Jesus.

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As followers of Jesus, we know how important it is to connect with God and feed ourselves spiritually. The most common way we often hear about doing this is by finding your chair and spending intentional time reading God’s Word and meditating on it. However, while chair time is a great way to invest in your relationship with God, it isn’t the only way -  it’s not surprising since God made us all unique that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to how we worship and engage with Jesus.

Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul's Path to God, lays out 9 spiritual temperaments that you can explore to find the way in which you uniquely express yourself and your relationship with God. Below you’ll find descriptions of the 9 spiritual temperaments, along with some suggested ways to engage and worship for each type.

Naturalists: Loving God Outdoors

The Naturalist feels closest to God when they are literally out-of-doors and spending time surrounded by what God has made - the mountains, forests, or ocean. They’d often rather spend time by a stream or lake worshipping than studying in a small group. Seeing God’s beauty in the outdoors is more moving to them than discovering new theological concepts or ideas.

Suggested worship activities for Naturalists:

  • Spend time reading your Bible outdoors while in the presence of nature and meditate on the beauty of God’s creation
  • Go for a walk while listening to worship music
  • Attend a sunrise or sunset worship service
  • Unplug from all technology for a few hours and connect with God
  • Find a Group that does activities together in nature using LCBC’s Group Finder

Sensates: Loving God with the Senses

Sensates are brought to life by the use of their senses - they love worshipping in environments where they can witness the intricate beauty of architecture and engage in music that is backed by talented artists. They are more drawn to museums and concerts than they would be to walking through woods or reading a book.

Suggested worship activities for Sensates:

  • Journal or draw as you pray - let the beauty of your connection with God come out on the paper
  • Pray with your whole body - align yourself in different postures like kneeling, standing, holding hands with others - and see how your posture changes how you pray
  • Find beautiful places to worship, whether it’s in a church building with beautiful stained glass, a museum, an art exhibit, etc.
  • Find a Group that revolves around a sensory activity, like painting or cooking, using LCBC’s Group Finder

Traditionalists: Loving God through Ritual and Symbol

For the Traditionalist, feeling close to God means harking on a familiar form of worship that ties to their childhood or past memories. Tradition and history hold a lot of meaning, and they’re often drawn to physical examples of symbols that they can place in areas that will serve as reminders of their faith, like in a car, home, or office. They enjoy developing rituals for themselves for elements like prayer, worship, and reading the Bible.

Suggested worship activities for Traditionalists:

  • Read the Bible out loud and meditate on what you’re reading
  • Set a regular time and place to meet with God each day
  • Memorize Bible verses
  • Practice the act of physically placing something on an altar to sacrifice it to God

Ascetics: Loving God in Solitude and Simplicity

The Ascetic enjoys being alone and focusing on their faith internally - they feel closest to God when they’re alone with nothing around to distract them from focusing on his presence. A person with the Ascetic temperament would enjoy taking an overnight retreat by themselves to spend lots of time alone in a small room to pray and study God’s Word, and they’re drawn to simplifying their life as much as possible. 

Suggested worship activities for Ascetics:

  • Unplug from technology and spend intentional time alone, seeking God
  • Simplify your life by cleaning and organizing a space and then spend time with God there
  • Practice worshipping in silence and solitude

Activists: Loving God through Confrontation

Justice is close to the heart of the Activist. They feel closest to God when they’re standing up for his justice - writing letters to government officials and newspaper editors, urging people to vote, etc. Apathetic Christians frustrate them because they’re so impassioned to do good in the name of Jesus, and they’re drawn to confronting social evil. They’d rather stand in the rain for an hour to protest and bring an injustice to light than sit in a room by themselves for an hour and pray.

Suggested worship activities for Activists:

  • Spend intentional time praying about the injustices you feel so passionate about - give God your thoughts and ideas first
  • Walk through neighborhoods or towns dealing with hardship or injustice and pray for them and over them as you do
  • Volunteer at local faith-based non-profits giving your time and energy to those in need

Caregivers: Loving God by Loving Others

Caregivers are motivated by service and compassion, and they feel closest to God when they see him in the needy, the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned. They can be counted on to cook a meal, give a ride, or spend time with someone who is lonely. A Caregiver would rather nurse someone to health or help repair a home than teach a Bible study or take a walk in the woods.

Suggested worship activities for Caregivers:

Enthusiasts: Loving God with Mystery and Celebration

The Enthusiast is always searching for celebration and joy in their worship - they are energized by genuine praise and seeing God work in supernatural ways. Hands-on experiences are especially exciting, and they are always ready for God to move in unexpected ways. Enthusiasts usually own or listen to a lot of worship music.

Suggested worship activities for Enthusiasts:

  • Attend nights of worship (like our Outdoor Acoustic Worship Nights at LCBC)
  • Look into serving in the band on the weekend if you’re musically talented
  • Host celebrations for friends and family around faith decisions like following Jesus and getting baptized

Contemplatives: Loving God through Adoration

Contemplatives feel closest to God when their emotions are awakened through him - when they feel his love, feel a tug at their heart, or are reminded that he wants to be close to them. Difficult times in a Contemplatives faith are when they feel far away from God, because they think of God as their close friend and are often focused in adoration of him.

Suggested worship activities for Contemplatives:

  • Practice meditative prayer - choosing one word or piece of scripture to focus your entire prayer on
  • Worship without limitations - allow yourself to dance, sing loudly, raise your hands, etc. without worrying what anyone else will think
  • Read your Bible and think of it as God’s love letter to you, or a friend offering sincere advice
  • Observe the sabbath and use it as a day of real rest and reflection

Intellectuals: Loving God with the Mind

The Intellectual feels closest to God when they are learning something new about him that they didn’t understand previously, and their mind is stimulated by him. They enjoy understanding their faith, not just focusing on what they feel as a result of it. Intellectuals enjoy uninterrupted study and maybe even teaching or discussing with a small group afterwards.

Suggested worship activities for Intellectuals:

  • Study theology in more depth, whether it’s a course, a class, or pursuing a degree
  • Use Bible Reading Plans to dive deeper into the Word and understand it better
  • Memorize Scripture, hymns, poetry, quotes, etc. that remind you of your faith

If you want to explore the concept of the Sacred Pathways further, check out this Study Guide based on the concept, or grab the book Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul's Path to God by Gary Thomas. 

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