Sep 12, 2011

How to Take Kids "Deeper" Spiritually

"The teaching is not 'deep' enough. We need to take the kids 'deeper'."

Ever heard that from a concerned parent or other adult? Unless you are Matthew Henry, I'm sure you have. On second thought, Matthew Henry probably heard it as well. I know I've heard it at every church I've served at.

Normally you will hear this from a parent or adult who wants the children to have more head knowledge. I do applaud the person for this. The fact they want children to be more grounded in God's Word is to be commended. So how do we take kids "deeper" spiritually?

Strategically plan what you are going to teach. You've only got so many teaching opportunities over the course of a year. They go by quickly. Make the most of them. Decide where you want the kids to be spiritually when they leave your ministry. What do you want them to know? How do you want them to act? What world view do you want them to have? Your curriculum should be the road there.

Challenge them to apply what you teach them. A big part of helping kids grow deeper is application. We are told to be "doers of the Word and not hearers only." Kids can know every fact and truth in the Bible, but if they are not living it out, then their growth will be stagnated. Grow is a verb...it's an action word. Have a specific action step each week that kids can take to apply what they have learned.

Give them the simple tools they need to take themselves deeper. I'm amused when someone says, "I'm thinking about changing churches...I'm not getting fed spiritually." Many times this comes from someone who has known Christ for several years. Can you imagine a 15 year old sitting in a high chair waiting for mommy to feed him? Of course not, we grow up and learn to feed themselves. And so it is spiritually. We must grow up and learn to feed ourselves.

One of the best things we can do to help kids grow deeper is to give them the tools they need to take themselves deeper spiritually. It goes back to the old saying, "You can give a man fish or you can teach him how to catch fish." Teach them how to pray...how to study their Bible...how to share their faith...how to worship privately.

Make every minute count that you have with them. Have fun...with purpose. When you play a game, make sure it is tied into the truth you are teaching that day. When you do a funny skit, make sure it emphasizes the truth you are trying to embed into their lives.

Challenge and equip parents to take the lead. A big start is being more faithful in their church attendance. The average family only comes to church once every two-three weeks. This means they are missing 50-70% of the teaching.

Attending church regularly is a key step, but it's still not enough. A plant won't have deep roots if it's only growing one hour a week. It needs nutrients, sunshine, and water all week long to reach it's maximum depth. When you see a child who has deeper spiritual roots, normally it's because their parents are pouring into them during the week. 

Provide parents with the tools they need to help their child grow spiritually. Discussion questions, devotionals, prayer guides, easy to do application activities, etc.

Move them into serving. A key component to spiritual growth is serving. Many times the reason a person is stagnated in their growth is because they are not serving. Faith without serving is going to have a hard time growing. As we share what God is teaching us with others, we are creating a pathway for our own roots to grow deeper. Why do you think kids return from a missions or outreach trip with a deeper spiritual commitment? Because as they served others, God took them to a new level spiritually.

Help kids grasp this truth while they are young. Provide them with opportunities to serve others at church, in the community, at home, at school, etc. As they serve others they will grow spiritually.

How do you take kids deeper spiritually? Would enjoy seeing your thoughts in the comment section.


1 comments:

I think the parents serving is big. Not only is serving a manifestation of a heart that follows Jesus, but it challenges people so that they will have to depend on Christ. And this dependence leads to growth.

A few years ago, we implemented a Bible reading plan, based on the Sunday lessons. Not just a devotional reading, but teaching them how to do inductive Bible study. We call it the ROAD method (Read-Observe-Apply-Depend).

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