For a long time I’ve felt pangs of guilt on Sundays because I’ve often found church very unsatisfying – singing a few songs, lots of notices and someone talking at you about the same thing you’ve heard a hundred times before. Very rarely have I got excited about digging out some new nugget about Jesus in the Bible, and come home with my spirit on fire raring to live boldly for God in the coming week.
Its usually the same old same old same.
But then I came upon a really helpful analysis as to why I feel this on Day 13 of the 40 Days journey in ‘What on Earth am I here for’ that I’m doing at the moment along with a bunch of friends.
It was on ‘worship that pleases God’. From a quote in the book Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas, it was shown that most of us force ourselves to use devotional methods or worship styles that don’t fit the way God uniquely made us. If God intentionally made us all different , why should everyone be expected to love God in the same way?
Gary identified nine different ways people draw near to God:
- Naturalists are most inspired to love God out of doors surrounded by nature
- Sensates love God with their senses and appreciate beautiful worship services that involve their sight, taste, smell,and touch, not just their ears.
- Traditionalists draw closer to God throiugh rituals, liturgies, symbols and unchanging structures
- Ascetics prefer to love God in solitude and simplicity.
- Activists love God through confronting evil, battling injustice, and working to make the world a better place
- Caregivers love God by loving others and meeting their needs.
- Enthusiasts love God through celebration and dance and loud music
- Contemplatives love God through adoration.
- Intellectuals love God by studying with their minds.
There’s no ”one size fits all” approach to worship and friendship with God.
One thing is certain : You don’t bring glory to God by trying to be someone he never intended you to be. God wants you to feel comfortable in your own skin when you come before Him.
As Jesus explained:‘Thats the kind of people the Father is looking for : those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship’. (John 4v23 The Message).
So which of these would you say you are? Its worth taking sometime to think it over; it might just free you up a bit more like it did me!
Anyone for a dance along the cliffs at Walton with me with the sea breeze blowing in your hair and the sun reflecting back from the sea?