The spiritual formation and spiritual experiences of children are incredibly important. Parents and churches can encourage children's spirituality in many ways.
Parents play a particularly important role in the spiritual growth of children. They can benefit by helping their children because the spiritual formation and experience of the child is in some ways like that of parents. Children can minister to parents, and parents can learn from children, because youngsters can also hear from God and be used by God. As a result both parents and children can foster an atmosphere of spiritual vitality in the home and wherever they may be.
Churches also are incredibly important to the spiritual formation of children. Their earliest impressions of God may be influenced by the church context, including the teaching youngsters receive there. Unfortunately churches can have practices that discourage healthy spiritual development. The church has a vital role in children's spiritual formation through encouraging genuine worship, teaching about faith, and practicing community.
Churches need families and families need churches. Likewise the church needs children and children need church. Children are not the church of the future; they are very much the church today! This web page has a number of resources that can help churches be more effective at the important task of encouraging the spirituality of children, and assisting parents in this important task.
ChildFaith describes in detail how parents and children can help one another grow spiritually. Both the book and this page are also resources for churches who want to help parents in this process, and in turn be wonderfully enriched by the ministry of children. Whether you are work with kids in a church, or are a parent seeking to nurture the spirituality of your children, I hope this web page will be of help to you!
-Don Ratcliff, Ph.D.