When it comes to our spiritual growth journey, it’s easy to get caught in the cycle of routine practices — prayer, meditation, scripture reading — while forgetting that growth often occurs outside the boundaries of what’s familiar. The quest for deeper spiritual connection and understanding doesn’t always follow a straight path. It’s filled with unexpected detours, unconventional methods and surprising revelations.
Maybe you’re looking for a new way to grow spiritually, or maybe you need something to kickstart one. Whatever brought you here, here’s five unexpected ways to grow spiritually that will push you to look beyond the conventional.
1.) Get outside!
Whether you’re in an unseasonable warm or cold place, getting outside is a great way to connect with our Creator. Breathe in the sights of God’s beauty in creation and let it shape our prayers and our worship. Take a prayer walk around your neighborhood, asking God to give you His heart for your city and the people there—and let the sights and sounds of where you live inspire your prayers. Or go on a hike and take your Bible with you and read Psalm 19 or Psalm 8 out loud, thanking God for how He’s created the earth and given you life. If you’re lucky enough to be in a warm location, take a dip in a pool (or a hot tub!) and read John 7:37-39, considering the living water that Christ gives to us that sustains our very spirit.
With a little creativity, our time outdoors can be a wonderful way to attend to God’s presence in the world and to thank Him for His goodness and love!
2.) Make the effort to get to church.
I know, I know. Life gets busy and it’s so tempting to stay curled up in the warmth of your bed on an early Sunday morning. Or maybe you’re traveling and visiting friends, and it’s easy to blow off church on the weekends. But attending church isn’t just something you can check off a list. It’s a wonderful way to continue to growing in relationship with God, to get to know other believers and to experience church in a new way. God’s people are worshipping all over the world—go ahead and join them, wherever you are!
3.) Mix up your Bible-reading routine.
Instead of getting stuck in a rut by doing the same old thing in your personal devotional life, consider trying something new. Join a Bible study at your church or in your city, or join an online community participating in a Bible study together (for example, shereadstruth.com and hereadstruth.com are great places to start).
If you’re already in a group study, consider a new way of engaging the Bible personally through the practice of Lectio Divina or a similar spiritual discipline.
4.) Serve in a new way.
It’s easy to stick our heads down and get into a routine. While schedules are helpful, sometimes they can keep us stuck in the same place over and over again. Instead, what if we lifted our heads up to see who needs help around us? Maybe it’s the Sunday morning nursery or Wednesday night youth programs. Maybe you make regular stops by a nursing home and visit with some elderly neighbors. Take a weekend and serve at a food pantry, or volunteer to help a family in your church by offering free childcare on a weeknight. There’s lots of ways people need help; there’s lots of ways to offer help.
5.) Stay in Christian community.
While our schedules ebb and flow throughout the year and life gets busy, one of the best ways to continue to grow in our relationship with the Lord is to get consistent time with others who know and love Him, too. Maybe you’re in a small group that only meets twice a month. Plan a fun activity outside of your regularly schedueld meeting time to get to know everyone on a more personal level. Even better, get together and pray for one another. As the Scripture reminds us: “… let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another …” (Hebrews 10:24-25).