We have talked before about learning styles and you often come across them in children’s ministry resources. They are important as they help you to work in a way that is most appropriate to the children in your group and ensure that you are not just majoring on one particular style but meeting the needs of all the children. However, they are ultimately an educational resource and therefore have their limitations as we seek to help children to encounter God and not just learn about Him. In the light of this I was interested to read a book recently that suggested that there may be such a thing as spiritual styles.
The book is by David Csinos and is called ‘Children’s Ministry That Fits‘. He interviewed a group of children and in particular asked them to say when they felt closest to God and he felt able to categorise the children’s responses into four distinct styles. They are…
These children felt closest to God when learning about Him, either in Sunday school or even listening to sermons.
God was felt when their emotions were active, especially when listening to music.
These children were the deep thinkers and felt closest to God when exploring the mystery of Him. To them God was most closely felt when exploring what we didn’t know about him rather trying to establish facts.
The do-ers. These children feel closest to God when living out their faith through good deeds.
It’s an intriguing list and I put it here to get you thinking, I wonder if you can start to place some of the children in your group in any of the categories?
It has to be said that, as with traditional learning style models, it is unlikely that a child would have only one style but is likely to have one that is strongest.
The list really fascinates me as it seems on the face of it to run counter to much of the established literature about children’s spirituality which emphasises the need for stillness and reflection. I’m sure I’ll come back to these ideas but at this stage I just wanted to share them so that others could join in the conversation.
Children’s Ministry That Fits is published by Wipf & Stock and is available now.