When we moved into our new house a couple of years ago, I noticed something in one of the bedroom closets. Here is a picture of it. The previous owners had been measuring the growth of their child. They measured his height each year as he grew physically.
You can see from the picture that the child is growing each year.
As children’s ministry leaders and parents, we should be measuring the spiritual growth of the children in our ministry.
But the bigger question is this – which indicators of spiritual growth should we be watching? How can we know if our children are growing spiritually? How can we know where they are at in their walk with Jesus?
Let’s look at 11 key indicators of spiritual growth in children.
A desire to talk with God in prayer.
They will begin asking questions about prayer. They will often initiate a prayer session. They want to spend time with God. They jump in and engage in the nightly prayer time when going to bed.
They have a desire for the Word of God.
newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will
grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.” I Peter 2:2
When a baby is hungry, they usually begin to cry. They need the milk to grow physically. So God compares the milk to the Word of God. Children need it to grow spiritually. They will begin reading their Bible and devotion books during the week.
They attend church and know what they got out of it. On the way home, if you ask, they will tell you what they learned that day. You don’t have to drag them to church, rather they will be dragging you to church.
They become more like Jesus with their attitude and actions.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
They develop a sincere passion to know Jesus and follow Him. Their outward actions will reflect this from their heart.
They ask to start serving.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
They begin to obey God’s Word.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only.”
They will begin manifesting the fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
They will grow in wisdom and will begin to know how to make wise choices.
“And Jesus GREW in WISDOM and stature, and in favor with God and man.”
They will begin to be better at forgiving others. When someone wrongs them, they will be able to sincerely forgive that person.
They will begin to share their faith with others. They will want other people to experience Jesus and His love and forgiveness as they have. They will begin sharing their testimony with others.
They will be guided and led by the Holy Spirit. There is no “Jr. Holy Spirit.” The same Holy Spirit that indwells grown-ups indwells children. He is the One who will give them the spiritual power they need to live for Jesus.
While many of these are outward manifestations of spiritual growth, we must also realize that children’s spiritual growth will come from the inside out.
We must also keep in mind that they are still children. They will make mistakes. They will make bad choices at times. Just like we do as adults.
We must also remember that God uses people to help kids grow spiritually. People like you that serve faithfully in children’s ministry. You are God’s disciple-maker. An investment into the spiritual life of children is one of the best ways to see spiritual fruit in your own life…now and for years to come.
p.s. Have you read my book – “Fertile Soil…See Kids’ Faith Grow and Flourish for a Lifetime?” It contains many insights and ideas about seeing kids grow in their faith and follow Jesus.” It’s available at my website at this link or at Amazon.