Christian Living

Faith Independence: Engaging Ideas for Teens and Tweens to Connect with God Personally

Children praying together
Image credit: Andrey Zhar / Shutterstock.com

As a mother of four teen and pre-teen children, I firmly believe that encouraging independent spiritual growth in teens and tweens is pivotal for their development. It enables them to take ownership of their faith journey, helping to foster a more profound and personal connection with God.

This approach isn’t just about spirituality; it’s about growing stronger and more resilient in facing life’s hurdles. Encouraging critical thinking helps build a sturdy belief system that can withstand any storm – and life sure is full of them.

Starting these habits early sets the stage for a lifetime of personal growth and faith that feels genuine and true to each individual’s journey. It’s not just about following traditions; it’s about finding your path and embracing it authentically and independently.

Here are 14 ideas to work on with your children to encourage their faith.

Provide Supplies for Them to Use When They Read the Bible

Supply them with highlighters and blank, undated journals for their Bible reading. Encourage children to jot down the verses that impact or challenge them. Creating a collection of meaningful verses from their experiences can greatly inspire them. Showing by doing—having a simple journal to note challenging passages doesn’t require exceptional writing skills or extensive biblical knowledge.

Create Invisible Rules

Craft Bible reading guidelines to be fun or provide freedom for personal choices, enabling children to develop independence in their Bible time. Implementing “invisible rules” encourages desired behavior without the children being consciously aware of your influence. Instead of dictating, inquire about their preferred reading spots, times, and cognitive patterns, allowing them to shape their decisions based on personal answers.

Customized Bible Reading Guides

Provide printed Bible reading checklists for them—preferably undated lists, as children tend to feel discouraged when falling behind. Keep extra copies accessible in a drawer or on a shelf. If they use a phone, introduce them to apps with Bible reading plans.

Family Engagement in Church Service

Enroll your family in a church service project. Your children will connect and build relationships with others while serving together.

Encouraging Bible Reading by Adjusting Daily Chores

Consider how your schedule facilitates Bible reading time. For example, deliberately keep the mornings as streamlined as possible. Let the older children “get out of” chores if they read their Bible. They can do their chores after reading the Bible (an unwritten rule).

Connect Faith with Real-Life Scenarios

Connect faith with real-life situations and challenges to help them see the relevance of church teachings in their daily lives.

Encourage Ownership

Empower teenagers to take responsibility for their faith journey and their involvement in the church. Give them autonomy and support to make their own decisions about their beliefs and level of engagement in church activities. This helps them develop a sense of personal investment and commitment to their spiritual growth and participation in the church community.

Provide Positive Feedback

Acknowledge and praise their efforts and involvement in church activities, reinforcing positive behavior.

Find a Relevant Youth Group

Help them find a youth group within the church that aligns with their interests and values. A vibrant and engaging youth community can make the church more appealing.

Respect Their Space

Acknowledge and honor their need for personal boundaries and independence. Give them room to make choices regarding their faith and church involvement without imposing pressure or control.

Discuss Their Spiritual Growth

Have open, ongoing conversations with them about their beliefs, experiences, and faith-related questions. Create a safe space for them to share their thoughts, guide them through reflections on their beliefs, and offer support as they navigate their spiritual journey.

Explore Modern Approaches

Find churches that offer contemporary worship styles or incorporate multimedia elements that resonate with younger audiences.

Engage in Open Conversations

Have open, non-judgmental conversations about the importance of faith and church in their lives. Listen to their thoughts and feelings without imposing.

Lead by Example

Demonstrate your commitment to attending church regularly and participating in its activities.

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Susan is a mother of four beautiful babies and a born-again Christian. She took over Hope No Matter What in 2024 and enjoys sharing her knowledge of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Her passion is to bring hope and encouragement to others, and she prays that by sharing her knowledge and personal story, she can inspire others to find enlightenment in God's word.