The Pilgrim Ways is a Christ-centered retreat ministry firmly rooted in the belief statements of the Apostle’s Creed. But for us Christianity is not a mere belief system to which we give mental assent. It’s an opportunity for heart and character transformation. We long to see people respond to Jesus’ invitation to step into God’s kingdom of love daily and experience transformation. Living under His good rule and reign will lead to a full and abundant life.
But change is hard. Transformation is slow. It’s hard to hear God’s voice through the din of daily life. So by default many people try to change through their own effort, knowledge and perspective. However, without the active involvement of God’s Spirit, and certain spiritual practices handed down through history as means of grace, people may not experience the heart transformation they desire.
We resonate with the work of Richard Foster and concur that there is much life-giving wisdom for transformation in Christianity’s six major traditions. The emphases and spiritual practices within these traditions serve as a guide to help us live like Jesus lived and as a result to be transformed from the inside out. On retreats you will be exposed to people and practices rooted in these time-tested traditions:
- The Contemplative Tradition stresses the value of silence, solitude, and prayer as ways to engage with God’s presence, whether we take a silent walk through the forest or meditate in a chapel.
- The Evangelical Tradition emphasizes the evangel, the “good news” of God to humanity, that all can be redeemed and restored to its intended design. This is the message embodied in Jesus himself, rooted in the word of God, and ultimately expressed through the lives of those who follow Christ.
- The Charismatic Tradition focuses on the power of God’s Spirit moving in and through us. Through the Spirit, we are able to do more than we could on our own, and these abilities not only remind us of God’s presence, but equip us to build up our communities in love.
- The Incarnational Tradition focuses on the relationship between the invisible spirit and physical reality, helping us to see God’s divine presence in the material world in which we live. God manifests himself in his creation, even in the midst of mundane activities, whenever and wherever we acknowledge God.
- The Social Justice Tradition expresses the themes of justice, compassion, and peace. It seeks to bring all relationships, interpersonal, natural and societal, into harmony. True compassion is motivated by a genuine heart and is empowered by the love of God.
- The Holiness Tradition is about cultivating virtue which in the Greek means “to function well.” It rejects mere legalistic behavior change in favor of deep heart change. It’s not about getting into heaven, but getting heaven into us. The tradition teaches us to be attentive to the source of our actions, to the condition and motives of the heart, and how to take on new patterns of life that flow naturally from within with God’s help.
The Pilgrim Ways walking retreats draw on the collective wisdom of all these Christian traditions. As such, we welcome pilgrims from all of them in the hope that you will enrich one another. In doing so, we trust you’ll become a better apprentice of Jesus and experience ever greater abundant life.