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Exploring the Way Participant's Book

Exploring the Way Participant's Book

An Introduction to the Spiritual Journey  

by Marjorie J. Thompson
Companions in Christ Series Spiritual Practice

Exploring the Way Leader's Guide is also available.

Do you long for something more? Maybe you can't explain your yearning, but you want to make a difference in the world, and you're never quite satisfied with your life. You're not alone. Even people raised in church can feel disconnected from God.

Exploring the Way will help you understand and deepen your experience of God. You'll be able to ask questions about issues and faith in a safe place. You'll discover (or rediscover) a way of grace, joy, and peace — indeed, the way of Christ himself. Ideal for the novice and veteran alike, this book defines and explains the most basic concepts and language of the Christian spiritual life: prayer, the Bible's message for our lives today, spiritual gifts, listening, journaling, and much more. It's the ultimate 6-week orientation to spirituality and the essential elements of faith. Sessions include:

  • Beginning the Journey
  • Sharing the Adventure
  • Bread for the Journey (Scripture)
  • Drink for the Journey (Prayer)
  • Companions on the Way
  • Reaching Out in Love

Stories, scripture, and exercises in each chapter will help connect your beliefs with daily experiences. Through independent and group study, you'll establish a rhythm of daily time with God, weekly time in Christian community, and a lifelong attentiveness to possibilities for serving the world. Feed your hungry soul, and use both your head and your heart while rejuvenating your own spiritual journey.

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-8358-9806-5
Publisher: The Upper Room
Imprint: Upper Room Books
Publication Date: 04/01/2005
Pages: 84
Dimensions: 9.2500 x 7.5000 x 0.1740

Marjorie J. Thompson is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has served as director of the Pathways Center for Spiritual Leadership and as spiritual director to Companions in Christ, a program outgrowth of the Pathways initiative of The Upper Room. Companions in Christ is a series of small-group resources for spiritual formation in local congregations, suited to ecumenical use. Marjorie has exercised a ministry of teaching, writing, and spiritual guidance for many years.


"Exploring the Way received positive reviews at our church because it changed lives. Encounters with God were real and fresh and powerful. Exploring the Way helped us detect the Spirit moving among us and helped us open ourselves to the revelations we experienced."

— Beth McConnell
Minister of Education for Adults
Providence Baptist Church
Charlotte, NC

"The Upper Room has proven once again to be at 'the top of their game' when it comes to spiritual formation resources. Their latest product release, the fifth in the Companions in Christ series, is a much anticipated introduction to spiritual formation called, Exploring the Way: An Introduction to the Spiritual Journey. In the wake of the initial Companions in Christ phenomenon, there was a call for a brief antecedent to the 28-week small group experience. Exploring the Way is the response to that call. This resource will meet the need for:

* More information about spiritual formation
* A basic, introductory Companions in Christ resource to lay a foundation for the longer, 28-week resource.
* A shorter, one-hour format that can easily be expanded to one and a half hours.
* A user-friendly resource for helping your church capture a practical vision for spiritual formation.
* A resource for longtime church members new to spiritual formation and persons new to the Christian faith.

Exploring the Way is designed to be a seven-week experience. An initial group meeting serves as a time of introduction orienting participants to the resource and the weekly experiences. The remaining six week schedule looks like this:

* Week One — Beginning the Journey — explores a definition of spiritual formation and the spiritual practice of journaling.
* Week Two — Sharing the Adventure — explores the role of spiritual disciplines in helping persons become more intentional about their relationship to God and the spiritual practice of testimony.
* Week Three — Bread for the Journey — explores scriptural meditation as a means of spiritual formation and the spiritual practice of lectio divina.
* Week Four — Drink for the Journey — explores prayer as a way of 'paying attention to the divine' and the spiritual practice of breath prayer.
* Week Five — Companions on the Way — explores the gift of one another and the spiritual practice of holy listening.
* Week Six — Reaching Out in Love — 'explores a way of noticing God's presence in daily life that leads us beyond ourselves and into God's call to reach out to the world' and the spiritual practice of daily examen.

Each weekly experience is designed to last one hour. The following movements outline each group meeting:

* Sharing Insights: Sharing learning and questions from the prior week’s reading and spiritual exercises.
* Setting the Stage: Developing an understanding of the week’s theme and featured spiritual practice.
* Taste and See: Experiencing together a spiritual practice that will lead to individual practice the following week.

Exploring the Way is written by Marjorie Thompson and Stephen Bryant, two much sought after voices in the field of spiritual formation. Marjorie is best known for her book, Soul Feast, a book on Christian spiritual practice. She serves as the Director of Pathways Center for Congregational Spirituality, a program position within Upper Room Ministries. Stephen is editor and publisher of Upper Room Ministries. His vision for small groups as important settings for spiritual formation provided the inspiration for the Companions in Christ series.

— Rick Bennett
Associate Coordinator for Faith Formation
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Resource Center

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