I have twin nieces who when they were very young, like many twins, developed their own language. The mixture of sounds that came out of their mouths meant nothing to me but to each of them the message was crystal clear. They knew what was said, they could communicate back and forth, and the language drew them closer.
I believe that we have inside us a longing to grow closer to God. However, many of us struggle to make that closeness a reality. We strive to do it through studying ‘more’, praying ‘harder’, ‘doing’ stuff but all too often find that we still don’t feel the desired connection.
What if the answer to our quest is in a special “temperament” or “language” through which we can best communicate with God? What if God has a style of communicating with each of us that will fill us with God’s presence? By utilizing these “languages” we can fashion learning experiences to reach the intellectual, or the caregiver, or the activist or the…. By considering the “temperament” of various members we can provide different worship experiences (not necessarily Sunday morning Services) that touch people. By looking at these temperaments we can better identify the kinds of ministries that the church is best suited to pursue. This is the message of those who have done research and study into the area of “spiritual temperaments” or “God languages” such as Gary Thomas*, Myra Perrine* and Dan Dick*. Their conclusion is that each of us “approach” God in particular ways and if we identify our temperament(s) or language(s) and reach out through them we will find more powerful experiences with God.
What are these temperaments or God languages? Thomas has identified 9 temperaments (which Perrine utilizes and details) but makes it clear that there may be more. But what do these look like? You may recognize them as:
*the person who knows much of the Bible and loves to work out the details of issues and thoughts,
*the person who is always making sure that others are being thought about,
*the person who will raise questions or issues that you know are to be have one “right” response,
*the person who can’t wait to give praise to God and who bubbles over with joy about the Lord,
*the person who has a special personal connection with God and who loves solitary prayer time,
*the person who experiences God best on walks in the neighborhood, woods or …,
*the person who works hard for God and desires few personal comforts,
*the person who loves the beauty of the ceremonies of the church and “hasn’t worshiped” unless we
say the Lord’s Prayer.
*the person who wants to include more “experiential” aspects in worship or learning about God
because that makes God more real.
As we understand these temperaments several things open up for us. We discover a pathway to help ourselves and others grow closer to Christ (e.g. styles of Bible Study, Worship experiences, activities). We gain an insight into what others value and need. We identify areas that we can grow in so that we discover more of God.
If you would like more information about this topic or information on hosting a workshop of Spiritual Temperaments contact Rev. Stephen Wallace at: Wallace SC&W
*Gary Thomas “Sacred Pathways”, Myra Perrine “What’s Your God Language”,
Dan Dick & Barbara Miller “Equipped for Every Good Work”