Spiritual Practices – Starting at the Beginning

One question we ask parents on our Sunday school registration form is ‘How can CCC best support you as your child’s primary spiritual guide?’  The answers that typically receives the most responses are for tips on:

  • how to incorporate more faith-based activities in family time
  • activities, Bible lessons, child development information

Our Family Ministry is committed to supporting parents/caregivers with this! We know that having solid spiritual practices in childhood is a great indicator of how your child will flourish as an adult.  As parents, we have to take our training of children seriously, both in how we guide/teach them and in how we nurture their faith.

According to Lifeway Research’s 2017 study, there are a few factors that stand out. Lifeway surveyed 2000 Protestant and non-denominational church goers who attend church at least once a month and have adult children ages 18 to 30. The goal of the project was to discover what parenting practices were common in the families where young adults remained in the faith. What affects their moral and spiritual development?

And the survey says …

Positive Predictors of Spiritual Health

  1. Not surprisingly, the biggest positive predictor of spiritual health in young adults is that, as a child, they regularly read the Bible
  2. Tied for second are three practices: regularly spending time in prayer, regularly serving in church, and listening primarily to Christian music

Negative Predictors of Spiritual Health

  1. Not wanting to go to church as a teen
  2. Childhood rebellion
  3. Listening primarily to secular/pop music

Back to our original question:  

How can CCC best support you as your child’s primary spiritual guide?  What tips about incorporating more faith-based activities in family time, Bible lessons, and child development can we offer you?

The biggest tip:

Begin now.  Don’t wait. 

If you’re not currently in the habit of reading the Bible, memorizing and meditating on scripture, and praying regularly, then this is where you can begin.  (Check out our post ‘Spiritual Fruit &  Spiritual Disciplines’ for additional resources.)

Two important principles that I’d like to share because they apply to any new habit or goal are intentionality and planning.

  1. Intentionality – As a parent, we must be intentional about our children’s spiritual training. Committing to the spiritual health of our children (and ourselves) and making a commitment to purposefully and consistently take daily steps is essential here.
  1. Planning – Good intentions won’t cut it here. Why? Because time slips by, calendars fill up, activities abound, and children grow up (fast).  Parenting with intentionality requires setting a schedule, committing time on your calendar, and setting goals that will help to achieve the desired outcome of instilling positive spiritual health practices in your children.

What does that look like in real life?  

For Parents:  

  • First off, if your own spiritual practices are waning, start with reading your Bible. Perhaps you need to begin by purchasing a Bible for yourself and an age-appropriate one for your child(ren). Set a day and time on your calendar this week to make that purchase. (You can also access the Bible (in many versions) online at BibleGateway.com.) 
  • Set some time on your calendar. Perhaps start with 2 times this week for 15 minutes each to read scripture and pray.  Set these like appointments on your calendar that you cannot miss. Commit to the time you’ve set aside.  Next week, you might add in a third day and/or increase the duration from 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Let your children see that spiritual development and practices are important – for you and them.
  • Church. Yes, definitely come to church for worship on Sundays, and perhaps join our Tuesday night Bible study, Wednesday Open Hour of Prayer, Women’s Ministry, and the Wednesday morning Play-to-Learn Playgroup

As a family:

  • Download the Family Discipleship Guide by the Village Church. It includes some great questions and planning tools to help you get started.
  • Don’t wait.  Get started today!  Because before you know it, your children will be going out into the world, maneuvering life, and this is always accomplished much better with God.  They need their spiritual habits to keep their faith strong.
  • Spiritual Formation classes. Of course, bring your child(ren) to church! We have an excellent curriculum that addresses many learning styles! Our teachers are fabulous, fun, and creative! Children form friendships that can last a lifetime!

In Christ,

Peggy Kelly
Family Ministry Director

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