Start them off early to ingrain these ways of life in your child's mindset from the get-go. Ease younger kids into it with a spiritual discipline calendar that includes simple acts like brushing their teeth on top of prayer, worship, and coloring sheets.
Some disciplines, like fasting and serving, should be saved until they are a little older, but there is no time like the present to get your little ones started practicing good Christian habits to set them up for a lifetime with Jesus.
Have you found yourself wondering, “what are the spiritual disciplines”? You’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for an outline of the eight most important spiritual disciplines and how to get the kids of your youth ministry to practice them.
Praying to Give Thanks
Practicing gratitude through prayer is one of the first and most fundamental disciplines to teach your kids. Instead of asking God when they need help or want something, encourage your students to give thanks regularly.
For younger kids, it is beneficial to pray with them and share your thoughts out loud. Giving them an insight into how to express gratitude to God will set them up with a format for prayer for life.
Worship Through Gospel
There is a reason why communal singing is a central part of Christian churches across the world. It catapults people into a state of worship while boosting connectedness with other congregants. For many, singing is a spiritual discipline.
Plus, this is one of the easiest ways to get kids on board. Singing and dancing come as second nature to children and make worship feel like a fun and exuberant activity (which it should be). Try incorporating some of these worship songs for kids into your ministry classes.
Journaling is a powerful tool for self-expression and creativity. While its uses are not limited to the spiritual realm, it has a unique benefit for those tracking their spirituality. Bible journaling nurtures other spiritual disciplines and provides an emotional outlet for kids.
This discipline is essential for kids of all ages. Little ones might need some help with writing, but you should still encourage them to reflect on their day. Give older kids the freedom to take charge of their own journaling, as it is often a very private process.
Striving to better yourself through new skills and wider knowledge is a process that never stops. While kids are in school, this may feel obvious, but you should model by example to show them that the learning process is a spiritual discipline in itself.
Support them through Bible study classes and encourage extracurricular activities to help them take learning seriously. No person is ever so knowledgeable that they can stop educating themselves, even a pastor who has worked in the church for decades.
Resting on the Sabbath
As this is an inactive discipline, it can be difficult for kids to get their heads around. They might wonder what is disciplined about relaxing on a Sunday, but the truth is it is harder than we imagine. Many people don’t know how to switch off from the busy bustle of life, never giving themselves time to breathe.
Instill in your youngsters that the Sabbath is a family day for relaxation, rest, and recharge. Silence and solitude provide room for the spontaneity and clarity we are prone to miss if our lives are constantly jam-packed with activities.
Reading the Bible Regularly
The best way to learn the Christian worldview is by regularly taking time to read the Bible. Whether it is a bedtime ritual you share with them or a practiced study period is down to you, but we should aim to open the Bible once a day.
If this doesn’t come naturally to your child, get them a customized Bible. Choose from the countless kid-friendly versions of the Bible designed to match different age groups and their reading capabilities.
The Value of Fasting
Fasting relates to not consuming food and drink, but it also extends to bad habits. Whenever Easter comes around, make an effort to teach them the value of unplugging, fasting, and self-discipline.
Encourage your kids to choose a food item to give up over Lent that will really challenge them and provide an insight into Jesus’ experiences in the desert. If possible, urge them to give up a piece of technology, too.
Serving Your People
Volunteering time is an essential spiritual discipline as it aligns so closely with a Christian worldview. We must live like Jesus and look after every member of our society, leaving no one behind. Start this habit in kids while they are young, so it becomes like second nature.
So when the kids of your ministry get older and become independent teens, offer opportunities for them to serve. Build a volunteer culture where older kids can help the younger ones when needed, and the little ones can’t wait to join the volunteer team.
When they feel the importance of Christian habits at home and in church, the message will make a lasting impact, so help your kids develop strong spiritual disciplines by incorporating some of them into your children’s ministry curriculum. You could even introduce your teens to some apps that remind kids to work on their disciplines. Creating Godly habits that last has never been easier.