Do you expect all your small group members to have a certain type of quiet time? Do they get as excited as you do about certain ways to worship God?
Preference on Ways to Worship God
I feel closest to God when I am outdoors or serving others. I have friends who experience this when they are with a group of people celebrating with music. Other friends prefer a very disciplined, traditional approach.
Am I less spiritually mature because I prefer to pray and worship God outdoors rather than in a closet? Or that I prefer to express my love to God through helping others rather than singing?
This is an important question for you to answer. It affects how you perceive your members. It can also affect what you do in your small group gatherings. Churches have become stronger, weaker or split based on their response. I want your small group to be stronger!
God created each of us to be unique. So why is it difficult to believe that Christians have spiritual temperaments that are also unique?
In Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God, Gary Thomas describes 9 categories of spiritual temperaments along with examples of each from the Bible. Each of us falls into one or more of these temperaments.
Here are a few of the spiritual temperaments identified by Thomas:
|Spiritual Temperament||Short Description|
|Naturalists||Loving God outdoors|
|Traditionalists||Loving God through ritual and symbol|
|Enthusiasts||Loving God with mystery and celebration|
|Intellectuals||Loving God with the mind|
Application to Your Group Gatherings
When it comes to expressing love, Gary Chapman is the expert. In The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, he explains that we each have a preference for how we want love expressed to us. The problem is that most people express love based on their own preference, not the needs of the other person.
As a leader, there is a danger of you doing the same thing when it comes to the ways you have the small group worshiping God together.
How can you apply this new appreciation of your members’ spiritual uniqueness?
- Learn about all the spiritual temperaments. Consider studying the topic with your small group. There is a free study guide available at http://www.garythomas.com/resources/free-resources/.
- Find ways to meet your members’ preferences from time-to-time.
It doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to be deliberate.
Here are some examples:
- Hold a meeting outdoors for the naturalists.
- Include music and song for the enthusiasts.
- Help others for the activists and/or caregivers (yes, these are two more of the spiritual temperaments)
Mix it up!
Question: What is your spiritual temperament? What are some more ways small group leaders can mix it up? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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Very good article. In today’s world time is a very valuable resource. Christians have to develop a daily communion with God that works for them. I have played worship music to clear my mind before entering into his word and prayer. I have also exchanged music with the sound of the wind blowing through the trees on the top of a mountain with the distant sounds of birds praising God. I have been on beaches with the ocean waves crashing onto the shore and the sounds of the gulls searching for food. Always the same. Clear my mind from the world’s issues and focus on God. Read his word as the Spirit communicates its meaning. Prayers of thanks and hope for the future in Jesus’ name. Worship is necessary to clear your mind and prepare that connection with God. Each of us must do what opens the line of communication with God.
David – I love that you already know what works for you. Playing worship music or nature sounds before prayer and Bible study at some of your small group gatherings would be something you could try for those in your group who have a similar spiritual temperament. As you discover the spiritual temperament of others in the group, consider trying additional changes some of the time that align to their preferences.