Different people are helped by different ways of meeting with God helpful. Which ways work for you can depend on your experiences and also on the kind of personality you have. The book “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas (Zondervan 2000) suggests nine kinds of ways in which people can encounter and develop their relationships with God.

  • Naturalists – loving God out of doors
  • Enthusiasts – loving God in mystery and spiritual experiences
  • Contemplatives – loving God in adoration and intimacy
  • Activists – loving God through confrontation
  • Traditionalists – loving God through ritual and symbol
  • Caregivers – loving God by loving others
  • Intellectuals – loving God with the mind
  • Sensates – loving God with all the senses
  • Ascetics – loving God in solitude and simplicity


I have explained these ideas in two sermons on “Finding your spiritual pathways” which are online at http://pbthomas.com/blog/?cat=38

The important implication for outreach and evangelism is this. Not everybody is a “book” person. Some learn by doing rather than talking. Some like crowds, others like solitude and for them even a small group is several people too many. We need to make sure that our events and activities meet the needs of, and are psychologically and emotionally accessible to, all kinds of people. As well as other ideas below, we should recognise that many people will be touched not primarily by our words but by participating with us (or even better, by us sharing with them) in some community project or charitable fundraising activity, which then gives natural opportunities for conversations. Over the years, conspicuously successful examples of this would include Christian Aid Coffee Mornings, Food Banks and Harvest for the Hungry (for more details see http://www.transformeuropenow.org/)