Have you ever wondered what makes the faith of some Emerging Adults stick, while others leave it behind them? Dr. Kara Powell and Dr. Chap Clark from Fuller Youth Institute, have spent many years in research trying to determine what makes the difference between those young adults who hold to faith and those who walk away.
They conducted “the College Transition Project, a national longitudinal study following over 500 high school seniors during their first three years in college. The goals of this research are to understand the dynamics of youth group graduates’ transition to college and to identify the relationships and best practices in youth ministries, churches, and families that can help set students on a trajectory of lifelong faith and service.” Access their website to learn more.
Here are some of my favorite aspects of the book:
Talk about Faith with your Children
Out of the 11,000 church-attending teenagers, only 12% percent of youth have a regular dialogue with their mom on faith or life issues (which is only 1/8). Dads are even less likely since 5% (which is 1/20) have regular faith or life conversations with their dad (Sticky Faith).
I am so shocked and saddened by these numbers while my mind is spinning with ideas and ways that this trend can be changed. I am thankful for Sticky Faith, and what they are doing. Through EA Resources, I want to help spread the word, and add another voice for the cry to reform our families, and our churches.
There is a huge need for parents to move beyond the basic questions like: What did you talk about in church today? How was youth group? What did you think about the sermon?, and into what is really brewing in their life and heart. Many adolescents and EA’s are afraid to talk with their parents about spiritual issues because they don’t see eye to eye with them. Ask yourself if your home is a place where spiritual issues can be discussed without fear of rejection or judgment.
Live your Faith Together
“We don’t have to choose between talking about my faith or living my faith in front of my kids. You can do both.” (Sticky Faith) Adolescents want to see authentic faith. They do not care if their parents are perfect, but they want them to be REAL. Living a life of faith in the home will affect them much more than making them sit through Sunday School. Make your home a place where you live a life of faith together.
The book gives ideas for how to make faith central to your home. “Your goal is to find what works best for your family, which means at times you will need to be creative, organic, and spontaneious, while other times you will need to be organized and systematic.” (Sticky Faith)
Powell and Clark both said that the discovered that, “The current chasm between kids and adults in church is greater than we had expected.” (Sticky Faith) This chasm must be bridged for the health of the church.