If the children, teens or young adults to whom you minister do not have strong, spiritual resiliency, not only will they struggle with every bump in the road of life, their faith will also be hampered by those changes and problems. Thankfully, the last areas of spiritual resilience are all skill sets that can be taught and practiced – within your Bible classes or other ministry activities.
To avoid getting bogged down with two many explanations, let’s look at the several broader categories that will help build spiritual resilience. If you need more ideas in any area, chances are you can find a past blog post, ebook or other resource we offer that has the information you need.
The first area of skills that will build resilience are those often referred to as executive function skills. These include skills like problem solving, planning and time management. It makes sense that these skills can speed recovery from problems, setbacks and changes, thus improving resilience.
The next area that will improve spiritual resilience is regular practice of spiritual disciplines. For those not familiar with the term, spiritual disciplines include things like prayer, Bible study (independent or corporate), reflection upon and memorization of scripture, fasting, etc. The spiritual disciplines are meant to keep us strongly connected to God and His power. They remind young people that God is in control – even when their world seems out of control. It also increase their Bible knowledge and comprehension so they will know what God may want them to think, say or do in a given situation.
Christian community is also vital for spiritual resilience. Not the rush out the door of the church as soon as worship service or class has ended I was around Christian people this week, but meaningful, impactful community. Community that offers strong, supportive relationships, mentoring and accountability. This takes time and effort, but can help not only in this area, but also in reinforcing the necessary adult relationship we discussed in part one.
Finally, young people need hope and purpose and meaning for their lives in order to be resilient. The Hope can come from Bible study, prayer and community. The purpose and meaning? They are provided in understanding and fulfilling the mission given by Jesus and the New Testament writers – by serving others and sharing their faith. When done in the context of gift discovery, development and use, young people better understand how they can serve God and His Kingdom by using the specific gifts He gave them to do many of their good works.
Helping young people build spiritual resilience isn’t quick or easy. If we want things to begin improving for young people mentally and spiritually in our world and in the church, we must take the time and effort to help young people become more spiritually resilient.