In Spiritual Formation, One Size Does Not Fit All!

For all the ways we are on a common, spiritual journey
with fairly identifiable stages,
we variously proceed and progress on that journey
according to a wide variety of factors –
tware bookemperaments and “wirings”,
life situations and influences,
environment,…

This week, in the online spiritual formation course I am facilitating at BeADisciple.com, we will be focusing on one such variable – in the form of “Spiritual Types.” Here, we will be engaging an inventory and materials developed by Corinne Ware in her book, Discover Your Spiritual Type. (For more about this online course and others related to the bigger spiritual formation programming of which it is a part, click here.)

I produced a video as a supplement to class readings – as a way of unpacking Ware’s work… and conveying the ways it might be used for individual and congregational purposes. (The links below the video will take you to 1) a version of Ware’s Inventory (as you’d like to engage it more fully) and 2) a handout copy of slides from the video.)


supplemental links:
* Ware’s Spiritual Type Inventory (with additional notes from formedfaith.org)
* A handout reflecting slides used in the video


wheelWhat’s clear from the video (and, indeed, an engagement of other Explorations we promote at Zoe-Life [as, e.g., our “Introduction to the Enneagram”) and one of the points I hope to establish this week in our coursework at BeADisciple is: in the spiritual life and in spiritual formation, “one size does not [and can not] fit all.” It’s “different strokes for different folks.” Or, it should be.

You would think this would be common knowledge (grounded in some common sense) and common practice in faith communities.

Until, that is, you look at the standard(ized) operations (and the priorities/judgements conveyed in those operations) of most churches:

  • Sunday morning retains the spotlight (it’s important, yes, but we’re not talking about a one-ring circus here!)
  • Sunday School classes are the preferred and most recommended small group experience (even though they are largely structured and conducted with type 1s in mind)
  • Some disciplines or “means of grace” remain neglected and hardly explored/encouraged – as, e.g., Spiritual Direction/Companionship or Lectio Divina
  • Some disciplines (as, e.g., mission work or social justice advocacy) are viewed as valuable, yes, but secondary “add-ons” to “foundational” Bible study
  • Some formation arenas (such as the choir) are second-placed since they are not as Bible-oriented or academic as a real study

Many bemoan the ways that our public schools’
herd and corral our children
on the basis of and for the sake of
standardized testing –
testing that overlooks
the unique ways
that each individual
is wired and learns.

Maybe we ought to bring that same sense
of dissatisfaction/unease
(or, more positively,
that same kind affirmation
about the uniqueness of each soul)
to the ways we are about
the essential process/dynamic
which is the Church’s ministry
of spiritual formation.

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