Sticky Faith

With thanks to Chris (for the link) and then to Josh for the article and interview, Kara Powell on enabling a “Sticky Faith” ….
K&J: Explain where the Sticky Faith concept originated.
Kara: Actually, it originated in the mind and heart of a youth leader who was a Fuller student. As a youth pastor, she noticed how many youth group students from her church drifted from their faith after high school graduation. The Fuller Youth Institute worked with her to do an initial pilot study of just the students from her church, which raised provocative questions about the long-term trajectory of youth group graduates. From there, thanks to a grant from the Lilly Endowment, we were able to broaden our research team of Fuller students and faculty to study 500 students over a period of six years to try to figure out what leaders, parents, and churches could do to build faith that lasts.
K&J: What are some concrete examples of some first steps a church can take to get sticky?
Kara: As we’ve tracked with churches throughout the country, there seem to be three primary first steps that parallel our major research findings. First, leaders are trying to make sure that they are teaching what we call the “Sticky Gospel” of grace instead of the “gospel of sin management” (to quote Dallas Willard) of behaviors. So Sticky Faith begins with making sure that students know that their faith doesn’t revolve around behaviors, but rather an ongoing experience of God’s unconditional love for them. One of the messages our team is trying to spread to young people (including my own children) is that Jesus is bigger than any mistake.
While the first step focuses on the core of our faith, the second and third steps are more about relationships. We’ve seen that young people who are involved in inter-generational relationships and worship tend to have more mature faith in both high school and college. It’s been exciting to see churches take steps toward inter-generational relationships–ranging from periodically cancelling their youth group on Sundays so that young people are involved in one big worship service to specialized mentoring for high school seniors.
The final and third step relates to partnering with parents. So many parents are what we call “Dry Cleaner Parents” who think they can drop their kids off at church all dirty at 9 am on Sunday and pick them up 90 minutes later, with the youth or children’s ministry team doing the cleaning. That’s a far cry from the type of partnership between parents and churches that is best for Sticky Faith. So a big part of our research involves how to support and equip parents with ideas ranging from more training to involving parents more in youth ministry events and programs.
the rest of the article

Licensed Lay Ministers day

I had the great privilege on Saturday of working for the day with a group of LLMs (Licensed Lay Ministers) as we looked together at Youth Ministry. We had a great day and I thoroughly enjoyed myself on the journey we took together looking at theology, ecclesiology, mission, culture, adolescence and ministry practice. Much coffee,thinking, laughter and discussion.
I promised that I’d upload some links and will attempt to do that in case anyone tunes into blogville to harvest some of the links, ideas, thinking … and humour.
The single biggest request was, where do you get the “Show and Tell” ball? There are a number of different ones but this is the specific one we played with. (There is also a pack of cards that does the same job albeit with less throwing and catching).
I know the group were also keen to have a link to Eddie Izzards thoughtful critique of Anglican Hymnody.
Some of the authors/commentators we looked at were:
kenda Creasy Dean
Mark Yaconelli
Phil Rankin
The two key reports we looked at were Soul Searching (where we got MTD from) and Sticky Faith, oh we also looked at Going for Growth (the call to be good news for young people).
We also talked about adolescence involving change and growth in the spheres of
Social Physical Intellectual Cultural Emotional and Spiritual.
The Powerpoint slides are here: LLM training day Handout.pdf
I’ve deleted most of the slides we didn’t get a chance to look at but kept this one looking at aspects of engagement we need to take seriously if we are to ‘do’ discipleship with young people:
The elements being:
Mission (‘doing’)
Spiritual Practice
Anything else, bungeth into the ‘search’ box (top right of the page) or send me an e-mail. Thanks

Not dangerous, not fluffy; just rude

I’ve been talking to a friend who went to an (Anglican) Church on Sunday and no-one spoke to her. Even at coffee she was ignored, in fact some people subtly moved so their backs were towards here and hence she was out of their sight.
She left angry, upset and disillusioned. Her question, “How then is the Youth and Child Friendly award going to work?”
It seems to me that a good theology of being christian is that through grace, forgiveness and Spirit led journeying we become more fully human, more complete and free … as the person God made us to be. Truly scary when the expression of the body of Christ therefore becomes less ably human.

Dangerous Stuff

In the context of a conversation about the challenge and difficulty of being a follower of Jesus, and hence the shallowness (and untruth) of a fluffy nice “become a Christian and all is lovely” type invitation, I was told this story.
One of the group recounted how when his son had been 14 he had been invited to a local Crusader group by a school friend and was keen to go. Prior to him attending though, the dad (who was recounting this story) received a phone call from the school friends’ dad. The call was to check he was happy with his son going to the group, this wasn’t a warning off it was a warning of the implications ….. did he realise this was “dangerous stuff” and his son was really really welcome but it was a place that took faith seriously and his son could end up a missionary, a vicar or the like!
Loved the confidence and reality of this. It also has a wonderful footnote in that the son did go to the group AND is in fact, now a Vicar!


German continues to be the unofficial second language of our household; an impressively growing vocabulary used with more enthusiasm than grammar. My daughter has now completely eclipsed me which is so exciting …. although I still have the edge on obscure (and hence not very useful) words.
I’m still listening to Antenne Bayern, however my latest attempt to grasp the language involves classic Radio Plays. I have the BBC “Paul Temple and the Lawrence Affair” in its wonderful clipped ‘received speech’ English delivery. Importantly though I also have a German rendering of the same series. The speed of delivery is quite daunting but I’m gradually getting there. I’m tending to absorb the esoteric words better than the readily applicable dialogue (typical!).
Last week though, I was very chuffed when a German caravanner (randomly) stopped to ask me for directions. Try as I might I could not work the word for ‘escarpment’ and ‘very steep slope’ into my helpful advice. To have done so would have completely vindicated the vocab’ I was absorbing from the play *laughing*!
One day I will preach in German, oh yes!
bestimmt eine lernkurve, vielleicht die meisten steilhang


Very excited as this very day, this book should be arriving at my deskette up in the loft of Church House. I was completely drawn in by this brilliant and enticing description:
“Unapologetic is a brief, witty, personal, sharp-tongued defence of Christian belief, taking on Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens’ God is Not Great. But it isn’t an argument that Christianity is true – because how could anyone know that (or indeed its opposite)?
It’s an argument that Christianity is recognisable, drawing on the deep and deeply ordinary vocabulary of human feeling, satisfying those who believe in it by offering a ruthlessly realistic account of the bits of our lives advertising agencies prefer to ignore. It’s a book for believers who are fed up with being patronised, for non-believers curious about how faith can possibly work in the twenty-first century, and for anyone who feels there is something indefinably wrong, literalistic, anti-imaginative and intolerant about the way the atheist case is now being made.
Fresh, provoking and unhampered by niceness, this is the long-awaited riposte to the smug emissaries of New Atheism”