Are we creating a faith that is Sticking?

Last week I had the opportunity to go to a denominational youth gathering for Youth Workers/Pastors. At that meeting we talked about a book/study called “Sticky Faith” by Kara Powell. This isn’t the first time I have encounter Kara’s book. I have read the book and even seen her speak in person. Her study is great, puts words to something many youth workers, like myself, have noticed, what we are doing isn’t working as well as we had hoped. The idea of the book and study is simple: They studied 500 High School students who were part of health youth ministry programs. Between 40 and 50% of those students, when they went off to college, walked away from their faith. The also say that 80% of those never intended to leave the faith. Those stats make my heart ache. Thankful the book provides us with some ways to help remedy some of these problems. Three commonalities showed up with the students who continued on in their faith:

—-Their gifts were recognized and allowed to be used in the church they grew up in.
-—There was intergenerational connection within their church.
—-There was a 5:1 , adult to student ratio of significant, meaningful relationships which continued into the first semester     of college.
So do we as congregation at SRC do a good job of these things? I would say we get a C+ grade when it come to these three factors. We certainly have room for improvement.
Why would I put this on a blog to parents? So that you will be intentional about making sure your students gifts and talents will be affirmed. So that you are intentional about making sure son or daughter has plenty of adults of all ages who are intentional about living into your son or daughters life well beyond their high school years.
I also write so that you as parent will be intentional about living into other kids, not just your own. Make sure you are letting kids know that you appreciate what they bring to our church community and remind them of the gift and talents they have. Be intentional about talking to them and try hard to build a relationship with them just like you would any of your adult friends. If and when a student does leave SRC it is vital that we stay in contact with them and let them know we still love and care for them no matter how far away they are. College is a defining time and college kids need adults who are there to support them.
The last couple of weeks we have been blessed to have baptisms occur on Sunday morning and as I listened to the baptismal vows we make as a congregation. I thought if we simply lived out our baptismal vows books like “Sticky Faith” would never have to be written. We would be getting an A+ if we keep up our end of the baptismal vow.

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