Spiritual styles: an outline

The idea of spiritual styles is based on research by David Csinos and explained in his book: "Children's Ministry That Fits: Beyond One-Size-Fits-All Approaches to Nurturing Children's Spirituality". (Csinos D M 2015)

He describes four spiritual styles four different approaches in which people can come close to God. Most of us, including children, will have a mix of styles but we may have a preferred one or one that appeals to us very little.


People who have a word based spirituality will appreciate anything that increases their knowledge of God - Bible studies, listening to preaching, reading and discussion.

Children with this style may like: church services with a set service sheet; reading a children's Bible and finding out about the background to the Bible; written prayers and hymns and the chance to write their own.


Those who come close to God through emotion are likely to focus on their feelings. For them participating in singing, dancing and drama helps them to do this, as may their relationships with people.

Children will enjoy doing activities with others, singing in a group and being involved in drama, music and dance.


Symbol based people experience God as mystery; words cannot explain their experiences of him. They like silence, reflection and may experience God in nature.

Children will like time to reflect, opportunities to work symbolically (e.g. with candles and pebbles) and the chance to experience the natural world.


Action people see the gospel as a call to change this may be standing up against injustice, volunteering for a food bank or street pastoring , setting up a drop in group for the elderly or raising money for a disaster struck part of the world.

Children like an opportunity to serve either in a church context (e.g. welcoming), volunteering or fundraising for charities.

Links to further information

David Csinos

has written about Spiritual Styles here: Four ways of knowing God

An introduction to Spiritual Styles

can be found at Roots on the web

Going for Growth

offers more information on characteristics of Spiritual Styles and other aspects: Spiritual Styles

Mission in a spiritual age

by Joyce Bellous, focuses on the characteristics of spiritual styles and how our different spiritual styles may affect our communication with each other: Mission in a spiritual age

Spiritual styles and me

by Ronni Lamont looks at the different characeristics of each spiritual style: Spiritual Styles and me