guest post by Rev. Beth Galbreath
What’s on your calendar for Lent this year?
Perhaps you’ve read books on spirituality that promote specific practices: Lectio divina. Centering prayer (meditation). Perhaps you’ve taken one of the great classes offered by BeADisciple on meditation through photography. Or yoga. Perhaps you’ve really connected with some of these practices, and others left you untouched.
Overwhelmed by Resources
There are literally thousands of books urging different spiritual practices from across the globe. Some of them even recognize that people’s personalities are different, and offer useful, if competing, systems of spiritual types. By the time I’d read the books in my seminary spirituality classes, I was more confused than ever, and promptly forgot every system I’d studied.
Then I discovered the “3 Color” system of spiritual styles, and suddenly I understood why other faithful Christians could be so different from me! I suddenly had a visual roadmap for growing my own spiritual life. I had a tool for helping others work through their differences in preference. It blew my mind.
And I had a goal: to bring it to online learning.
Learning Your Spiritual Style
Let me explain: Christian Schwarz, a brilliant and prophetic voice from Germany and founder of Natural Church Development International, asks, “What if we see the Trinity as not just about God, but also about the way God connects with us and we connect with God?” His Trinitarian Compass illustrates that while God is three-in-one (represented by the white in the center), God is revealed in creation and creativity (green), in the salvation history expressed in Scripture and Jesus (red), and through the personal inspiration of the Holy Spirit (blue).
Within each color there are three basic “spiritual styles.” Each of us has a God-given “native style,” the way we most naturally relate to God. And each of us can draw closer to God by learning from others, not to change and become like them, but to incorporate some of their wisdom into our own native practices. And as the graphic shows, as we grow closer to God, we also grow closer to others.
Schwarz developed the concept 3 Color Christians from his organization’s groundbreaking research in 70,000 churches across virtually all Christian denominations, over 70 countries, and all six continents. From this solid research comes the 3 Color system of spiritual styles, and the process of Natural Church Development, which is a topic for another class. The same 3 Color approach relates to ministry, worship and everything else, but this class begins at the beginning, with an exploration of the principles, discovery of our own native styles, and learning a bit from others of different styles. This class focuses on principles rather than any particular form of prayer or spiritual practice, but we will surely share particulars with each other!
Will you join us as we explore our spiritual styles this Lent – in technicolor?
Note: If you are interested in learning about your 3 Colors, check out the course Beth will be teaching this spring.
The U.S.-Canada publisher of Schwarz’ books, ChurchSmart Resources, is offering students of this BeADisciple class one-third off the price of the required book ($8). When you register, you will receive the link for ordering the book at the discounted price.
Rev. Beth Galbreath is a trained Natural Church Development coach. She is also a United Methodist deacon whose specialty is “digital culture ministry.” That means everything the Church needs to do to move from the print-literate culture of the last five centuries to the digital-communication culture of the 21st and communicate with post-Boomer Christians. To that end she is one of the few (but proud!) graduates of the former Lumicon Institute’s certification program in digital culture ministry. Beth serves on the pastoral leadership team of Compassion UMC in Brookfield, IL, a new church plant, and Crossroads of Life UMC, a new church plant within the walls of Illinois’ women’s prison. She loves to bring a multimedia, multi-intelligence approach to classes, and she Tells Scripture weekly in worship. She is active as clergy on Walk to Emmaus teams.
Text post image: Water Walk (detail) by Paul Housberg.