1. Start a devotional.
One of the easiest, but most powerful ways to strengthen your faith is to talk to God, be open about what you’re struggling with, and be active in His word each day (or week). You can do this with a devotional—and whether that’s simply a diary you write in, a pre-made journal you order, or an interactive book you download—find what works for you and start being honest about where you’re at, what you’re wrestling with, and what you desire for the year.
This can be something you write in every week, every night, or as little or often as you want. Just make sure to take active steps in writing so that you can deepen your relationship with your Father.
2. Join a ‘Sisterhood’ Facebook group.
One of the best ways to stay accountable as you dig deeper in faith is to network with a community of like-minded believers. Whether this is in person (we’ll get to that in a minute) or online (which can be amazing to connect you to faces from around the world!) you’ll be pushed to better yourself in faith through reading and interacting with others about your journeys.
You can search for specific groups based on your location, university, hometown, or interest. And no, this isn’t limited to just Facebook, either. (Here’s one that’s been highly praised: SoulScripts Sisterhood, by Jordan Lee Dooley). Wherever you end up, you’ll be sure to find your niche, your safe space, your home.
3. Read one passage from the Bible each day.
If you’re not an avid Bible-reader, this may sound daunting. But in all reality, it’s not. You can start from the beginning and read a verse, a few lines of verses, or even a whole chapter. You can skip around, flipping to a page at random. Or, you can engage in a Bible study that gives you specific things to read and discuss with a group.
4. Download a ‘daily verse’ app.
There are apps that will send you push notifications of Bible verses at a time of your choosing. If you’re struggling to get into reading the Bible this is a great first step. Or, if you simply want a reminder of God’s love throughout the day, set the notification and be flooded with His holy spirit.
5. Pray each night while brushing your teeth.
Maybe you’re great at praying. Maybe you just haven’t gotten into it. Maybe you pray, but only when you need something or when it’s convenient. Wherever you are, setting aside intentional time to pray ensures you are making your faith a priority, in both good times and bad.
Whether you pray while brushing your teeth, in the shower, on the way to work, etc. setting aside a time will make your prayer a habit instead of something so easily forgotten.
6. Start or join a Bible study.
Through your church, on campus, with a group of friends—no matter who your group is, or whether you join or start one, digging deeper into the Bible is essential to your growth as a Christian.
7. Discuss something you’re struggling with in a small group once a week.
One of the most powerful things about being a Christian is surrounding yourself with community and knowing you’re not alone. As you go through your weeks this year, be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to share something you’re struggling with, something that hurts, or to ask for prayer. And return the favor. This will not only develop lasting friendships, but bring all parties into a stronger faith.
8. Talk to someone new at church once a month.
It’s easy to get comfortable, to only associate with familiar faces, to fall into patterns and habits based on who you know and what you’ve always done. This year, challenge yourself to making outside connections. Reach out to someone who’s not in your circle, your group, your school. Make friends with someone new, invite them over or to coffee, or just talk with them after service.
Sometimes a little effort goes a long way, and you never know what blessings those interactions will bring the both of you.
9. Download and watch the sermon videos if you miss Sunday service.
Life gets busy. You’re not always going to have perfect attendance at church, and that’s okay. But what you can do this year, is be mindful of when you miss and try to stay on track with the sermons. See if your church offers a livestream so you can watch from home if you’re not feeling well, or a post-recording so that you can watch later.
Plug in and listen while you’re cooking dinner, while you’re on the stair-stepper at the gym, or even on your commute to work. There is ample time to make the Word your priority. Don’t make excuses this year.
10. Connect with Christian leaders in your community.
Do you have questions about your faith? Ideas you want to put into motion? Things you’ve just been wondering about related to your walk with Christ? Instead of being afraid, or keeping silent, reach out to your Pastor or other leaders in your community.
Asking questions will ease your worries, help them know what to discuss, and encourage both of you to dig deeper and cast aside fear.
11. Actively participate in local church events.
Okay, let’s be honest here. I’m sure there’s a few things you’ve skipped because they ‘weren’t your thing,’ or you were ‘too busy,’ or didn’t want to be thrown out of your comfort zone. I’m not saying you have to say ‘yes’ to every single thing, but this year challenge yourself to put your faith into motion. Instead of just saying you’ll do something, do it. And give back—your time, your money, your heart—in whatever means makes sense for you.
12. Be intentional about sharing your faith.
This can be terrifying, but don’t think you have to get up in front of a crowd of thousands just to share your faith. Start small. Sometimes the biggest impact can come within your network of family and friends.
But if the opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to share your story with a stranger or someone searching desperately for Christ. You don’t need to be ‘perfect’ or ‘qualified’ to be a disciple. You just have to be willing to let God work in and through you.
13. Be open about what you believe, even when you’re challenged.
Not everyone is going to agree with what you have to say. Not everyone is going to support you on your journey, or as you share the truths from your life. You may have enemies or people who downright hate you for what you choose to share, embody, and believe. But don’t let that dishearten you.
Be bold this year—for yourself, for your Father. Don’t press your faith onto someone else with force, but don’t let them shut you out either. You may be challenged, but remember that God is on your side. And whatever you face or go through this year, you are not alone.