Sacred Pathways for Student Pastors

Sacred Pathways for Student Pastors

Posted on Posted in Personal Development

I live in Atlanta, but unlike most people who live around me, I’m not a big college football fan. I’ll watch a few games every season but that’s mostly just to have something to say when the conversation turns in that direction.


However, I noticed that Mac Brown returned to the University of North Carolina to be the head coach of the Tar Heels’ football team.


I grew up in Raleigh, so I remember when Mac Brown was the coach the first time around at UNC. He made them a little better, and then he left for the University of Texas. After leading the Longhorns to an undefeated season and a National Championship, he changed.


In an article published in The News & Observer, Brown describes the change, saying that he started being critical of his players after wins and personally miserable after losses. In another article, he said, “I’d lost the joy of coaching.”


That’s why he retired from coaching.


Brown had gotten into coaching to make a positive difference in the lives of his players. But he became blinded by his success. He got sidetracked. He misplaced his priorities and lost sight of why he started coaching in the first place.


After spending some time away from coaching, he says he’s ready to jump back in. He has his priorities in the right place now. He remembers what it’s all about and what he’s all about.

What about you?

In the book of Revelation, Jesus dictates a message for John to send to the church at Ephesus. He talks about the good things they’re doing: they seek the truth, they reject falsehood, they patiently suffer and don’t give up.


But then Jesus brings up a complaint: “You don’t love me or each other as you did at first” (Revelation 2:4 NLT).


Ouch! All of the good things are overshadowed by this one thing.


As a youth pastor, it is imperative that you don’t lose your joy in Jesus.

Sacred Pathways

I just finished reading a book called Sacred Pathways: Discover Your Soul’s Path to God. It’s a good book, and I think it can help you practically grow and/or maintain your love for Jesus.

Gary Smalley, the author, says that a sacred pathway is “the way we relate to God, how we draw near to him” (p. 23). Most people have one pathway that is most natural to them.

He identifies 9 of these kinds of pathways:

Nine Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas

These pathways can’t be ranked. They don’t form a hierarchy. Each of them is valuable and viable in their own right. The key is to figure out which one works best for you and lean in that direction. Doing so might just be the difference between keeping and losing your joy in Jesus.


My top three pathways are: (1) Intellectual, (2) Naturalist, and (3) Traditionalist. To stay spiritually fresh, I need to make sure I am incorporating those kinds of things into my spiritual diet.


I’d love to hear back from you about which pathways stand out as the most important for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Suggested Resource:

Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas

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Trevor Hamaker helps youth pastors see their potential and reach their goals. He has over a decade of ministry experience, along with degrees in business management, organizational leadership, and religious education.

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