Helping Bible Students Set Spiritual Goals That Work

Nothing is perhaps more hopeful and at the same time more discouraging than setting New Year’s goals. In fact, even teens may have already given up the practice after several years of trying and failing to set and achieve their goals.

In order for them to grow spiritually, however, it is helpful for them to have goals to work towards. Unfortunately, most adults struggle with setting and achieving goals themselves. Thankfully, several recent studies have found that with some helpful tweaks the teens served by your ministry can actually set spiritual goals that are achievable.

Here are some key things to do when helping young people set goals.

  1. Teach your students that God has plans for their lives. Their biggest goal should be to discover and follow God’s plans.
  2. Remind your students that they should have spiritual goals in addition to any other goals they may have.
  3. Teach your students to pray to God to help them make the goals He wants them to make.
  4. Help your students write goals that are specific, measurable, and time-bound. God will decide whether or not the goal is realistic or achievable. For example, “I will get a B on my test this week in math.” (Rather than, “I will get better grades.”)
  5. Teach your students to break down each goal into the steps that need to be done to reach the goal. Have them focus on completing one step at a time.
  6. Encourage your students to have tiny goals for new habits. Then once they achieve the tiny goal, they can make another tiny goal that moves them closer to their big goal. For example,
    focusing on reading one Bible verse a day is easier to remember and achieve than reading
    five chapters a day. Once they are reading a verse every day for several weeks, they can
    increase the number of verses a bit until they eventually reach their ultimate goal.
  7. If the goal involves a new habit, encourage your students to connect it to something they
    already do every day. For example, if they eat breakfast every day, that may be the best
    time to work on the habit of reading one Bible verse every day…at breakfast.
  8. Encourage your students to place reminders of their goal in lots of places, to help them
    remember it.
  9. If your students struggle with a goal, encourage them to take a closer look at it. What is causing the problem? Can they correct the problem or is God trying to get them to change their goal?

(If you want to send home a parent friendly copy of this post, you can find one here.)

Helping Bible students set and achieve spiritual goals takes extra time and effort. For some though, it may be what they need to encourage a spiritual growth mindset.

Categories Bible, Elementary, Faith Based Academic Program, Special Needs, Teens
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