I have had the privilege of attending a discussion of the book “Sticky Faith” with other parents at the Church on Sunday evenings once a month since January. Emily Powers, our youth director has wanted this to happen for some time now and it has become a reality and has been very meaningful. Why discuss this book?
The statistics about young adults and their involvement in church after high school are sobering. Most of the statistics say that 1 out of every 2 high school graduates will drop their faith at the door when they leave home. They may (or may not) pick it back up again later in adulthood, but they abandon what seemed to be a solid faith when faced with the new adventures of adulthood after high school. Ouch! I’m not comfortable with those numbers, are you? My desire, (and Emily’s and many other parents) instead, would be to see young adults leave home so secure in their faith, and equipped with the tools necessary to live out their faith. To be able to independently read their Bibles, seek out church homes, surround themselves in Christian community and continue to build relationships with those who are far from God.
Of course there is no silver bullet to assure this will happen. There is not a 3 step easy plan to follow for success. However, the researchers at Fuller Youth Institute, along with FUller Seminary have found several ideas and principles that when carried out has the potential to set young adults on the right track towards creating independent followers of Jesus. You have heard the African Proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That is exactly what the research is finding. There is great value and importance of intergenerational community!
That is good news for us at the Church. lifeGroups can play this role! One of the biggest findings of the Fuller Youth Institute was students who had a sticky faith had multiple adults, who walked with Jesus, actively pursuing a relationship with them during their teen years. They call it the 5:1 ratio. Can your child name 5 adults outside of Mom and Dad that they can trust and that are interested in them and following Jesus? Are YOU one of those adults for a child outside of your family? Again, good news for us at the Church. lifeGroups can play this role! It matters that you have a consistent rhythm in your life of gathering with other families, learning how to apply God’s word to your life, finding out how to pray for one another, loving each other, investing in one another’s lives.
Is everyone in your lifeGroup in the same stage of life? How about inviting a young family to join your group? How about inviting an older person to join your group? How about starting a brand new group and being intentional about who you invite so it is intergenerational. Find ways to get together outside of lifeGroup, go to the teenagers muscial, go and cheer them on at a sporting event, ask the elementary student what they are learning at school or what their interests are, send them a note and tell them you are praying for them. You can make an eternal impact. Please contact me if you are not currently in a lifeGroup and would like to give it a try. It matters.