By Dr. Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark.
Reviewed by Faye Reynolds, CBWC’s Director of Women’s and Intergenerational Ministries
This book, fully titled Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids, is a summary of the results from two studies conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute on the dropout rate of college students from their church and practicing faith. Recognizing that almost 50% of students moving from High School to college do not take their faith with them while showing little resistance to the pull of the drug, alcohol and sex scene, it begged the question: what are the factors that help determine whether a faith will “stick” beyond the home and family environment? Two studies, “The College Transition Project” and “The Hurt Project” frame the ideas presented in this book.
Dr. Powell and Dr. Clark have given some very practical tools for helping churches and families provide an environment that encourages a sticky faith. One of the primary keys is an intergenerational approach to faith and practice. Churches that offered more opportunities for multi-generations to interact with each other in worship, conversation and play seemed to have a better success rate in helping youth retain a vibrant relationship with Christ in their college experience. They offer several ideas that can be easily adapted to help kids feel connected and a part of their church family.
The idea that I appreciated most was the reversal of the “One Adult to every Five Children (1:5)” ratio to a 5:1 ratio. The intention is that every child in the church would have at least 5 adults that are aware of him or her, will speak to them, pay attention and take some time to care for them. As I looked back on my own faith journey, I could easily identify 5 adults that were not my parents that spoke into my life within the church. I find this idea very doable and believe it can make a direct difference in a child’s life. The other interesting point is that it invites parents to take an active approach and find the five adults – not expecting the church to orchestrate it as a “program”.
Most of the ideas are geared toward parents, but there are many ideas for a church as well. The book definitely affirms the current trend toward more intergenerational ministries within our churches, moving out of the silo approach to ministry.
This is an American study and written by American authors so their approach may not always appeal to the Canadian mindset, but I believe this quick read offers some practical helps for building strong families of faith.