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Sticky Faith Book Club, Chapter 5

This is part 5 in an 8 part series on Sticky FaithJoin our book club by signing up here. (part 123, 4)

Let’s be careful about Chapter 5. It’s easy to read this and think about our ministry by default. To not apply what we are learning to our home would be a shame.

A couple quotes from this chapter jumped out at me:

  • “The closest our research has come to that definitive silver bullet is this sticky finding: for high school and college students, there is a relationship between attendance at churchwide worship services and Sticky Faith.”
  • “the high school students we surveyed who served in children’s or middle school ministry seemed to have stickier faith in both high school and college.”
  • “Contact from at least one adult from the congregation outside the youth ministry during the first semester of college is linked with Sticky Faith.”
  • “One family we know has a special ritual that involves sending their two sons to work with men they respect.”

Kristen: I think that I give up too easily by assuming that my children don’t want to sit at the grown-ups table. I grew up sitting in church with my family. At the time there wasn’t a simultaneous children’s church or youth service option. I’m sure there were times where I was disengaged although I can’t recall specific occasions. What I do remember even several years later is being together as a family, observing my parents in worship, and talking about the sermon on the drive home. Nowadays I almost feel apologetic if one of our children sits with us in the main service. While I’m thankful for fun, “age-appropriate” learning opportunities for my children, this chapter has me re-considering ideas to integrate them better at church.

Adam: When I think of my first interactions with the Tuckers (Kristen’s parents) I can’t help but laugh. I’d never been around a family like them. They hung out together all the time. They intentionally did stuff as a family… cheesy stuff like go to the library or park or zoo together. They all listened to Christian praise music on Sunday mornings to get their hearts ready for worship. And after church, I kid you not, they talked about the sermon. I sarcastically referred to them as The Swiss Family Robinson.

Of course, there was nothing wrong with the Tuckers. I just had no idea that there were actually families like that in real life who talked to one another and genuinely liked being together. In truth, they were just ahead of their time… developing Sticky Faith in their girls way before Kara & Chap wrote the book.

Kristen: I love the concept of purposely surrounding each of my children with five adults who care about them. I feel like this is especially important since we don’t live near extended family who would otherwise help fill that role. Reading through this portion of the chapter also prompts me to want to be “that” adult for my friend’s children. This chapter has so many great ideas. I particularly love the idea of forming an intergenerational group of families to invest in one others families.

Adam: I need to confess that this is an area we need to improve in. This chapter came with some good/convicting ideas we need to try. As I reflect on God’s Word in regards to parenting it is so clear that God intended plurality in parenting. As Kristen said, while that naturally involved extended family, we don’t live close to grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. So that means we need to be more intentional about building that web of relationships for our kids.

Discussion questions

  1. To what degree are your kids at the “kids’ table” in your life? What is good about that? What might be problematic?
  2. What are the advantages of trying to surround each of your kids with five adults who care about them? What are the challenges as someone in ministry?
  3. In your role in your church, how (if at all) can you help change your church’s culture? While you may have a limited sphere of influence at your church, what changes can you suggest in your own sphere?
  4. What ideas do you have to help your kids connect with other adults and move toward the 5:1 ratio?

5. How would you explain your 5:1 goal to your kids?

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10 Responses to Sticky Faith Book Club, Chapter 5

  1. Todd Perkins November 7, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    I love the idea of surrounding students with five adults who care about them.  Our ministries have continuously strived to do this and have used Sustainable Youth Ministry (Mark DeVries) over the last three years sharing the comparison of a “rescue line” (one leader) vs. “the net approach” (multiple leaders).  Resistance is often found from ministries that are trying to have five actual leaders for each student.  We continue to see many ways in which leaders paths cross those of students and try to encourage leaders to have simple and deep conversations with students based on the time, environment and investment level they have in the student.  Example, Jason has an eight grade guys volunteer leader, two band volunteer leaders, Friday Night Community volunteer leaders (20+), Serve volunteer leaders, our ministry assistant, HSM pastor and myself.  Those are all people who encourage and invest in Jason.  Often we are looking to “create” new areas to cover a ratio when in fact we have people around our students, we just need to train and put them in situations that allow them to be used.

  2. Joe Watkins November 7, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    As a youth pastor, this is one of the most exciting ideas in the Sticky Faith conversation. I love the idea of people in the church investing in the lives of the students in our youth group. Admittedly, however, as a father it is the most difficult thing for me to do. I grew up in a family that was happy and most comfortable when we were left to ourselves, and I’ve noticed that it’s easy as we cultivate our own family culture to tend toward the same dynamic. 

    I want to connect Micah with families and adults in our church, but I want to do it in ways that keep me from having to connect as deeply with other people. That’s not really going to work though. So we’re trying to build relationships with families, rather than individuals so we’re all involved in the discipleship process. I don’t know that we’ve been doing this as an intentional effort to build Sticky Faith from the start, but I can see this becoming something we are more intentional about in the future.

    I also wonder if I’ll need to guard against building relationships between Micah and other adults in the church so that can “focus on the ministry” of the youth group. I could see that being a problem with a number of people in ministry for whom it can be easy to get sucked into the work of the church. 

    I think ultimately this chapter calls us to a deeper conversation about what the church really is and how we see one another, young and old, in light of gospel. 

  3. Dbowers75 November 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    In your role in your church, how (if at all) can you help change your church’s culture? While you may have a limited sphere of influence at your church, what changes can you suggest in your own sphere?This question is tough because too often leading upward is tough & sometimes the audience you are trying to get to listen to you as their own ideas of “where time should be spent”.  I think the easiest way I have found to create influence is to meet as often with parents as I can, to share life with them, to work together with them, to then allow the minority that is ready to rock n roll to start rolling.Having people who “buy into the bigger picture” allows you to not being the only one carrying the sword of change.  The other dynamic is stay away from the numbers game.  Just cause you may only have a small minority who “get it” doesn’t mean you efforts are not worth it.  As people share the healthy changes they are seeing the sphere of influence & effectiveness begin to change.The idea of the 5:1 I love, but it’s hard to find the “right 5″ I’d want around my kids.  Right now it is more like 3:1 but I love the 3.  I’ve often talked with my two boys that Dad isn’t perfect but there are people like Dad who love Jesus and you can learn from them as much as you can from me.  So we do “stuff” with these other 3 and I always encourage my kids to enjoy every minute with our GREAT FRIENDS.  Because I break down the barrier & give them permission to go, I’ve seen them enjoy conversations & experiences a bit more than the times I don’t verbally give them permission.  I am hoping as they continue to grow up that my sons will have more people who can help guide them along with me.

  4. Caddis1fly November 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    1. I feel like there is a good balance. The longer we are at this church and developing relationships with other families, the more blessed our kids are with relationships with caring adults.
    2. Advantages-our kids feel like they are important and valued by others at our church
    Challenges-being pk’s they get a lot of attention and may be too much at times.
    3. The youth ministry does a pretty good job of including other age groups in events, though it seems not to be a high priority for other ministries to purposefully include youth. It is important to continually talk with other staff about including kids and youth I what they are doing.
    4.

  5. Jeff Greathouse November 8, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    I read the book a few weeks ago and have been going through the book to chew on it about church but also as a family. While going through this, we are simutaneously going through Chap Clark’s “Parenting A New Generation” DVD. There are tons of great information to chew on.

    1. In our family live, we try to have our kids at our table constantly. We do this through our family meals and family activities and us trying to do life together as a family. From, a church stand-point, we try to include more church-families events and more church-family worship; but we have a long way to go in that area.

    2. The biggest advantage is to have other adults investing in their lives and to have the same voice in their life. There are nothing but pluses in my opinion. I do not think that being in the ministry adds any additional obstacles.

    3. I think that it can be organic and that you can do some leading from the ground up. I fought to move our youth time away from the main church service and did so, so our students/families could worship together if they chose so. We also freed up our students, so they can serve in the children ministry. We have 20 youth who are serving in the children ministry which is a great start for them to building relationships with the children. One of the things that I am doing (which is a step) to help introduce more adults into students lives is to have parents (3-6 families at a time) over at our house for dinners, so parents can know other parents and we can hopefully connect other adults into each other lives.

    4. Every opportunity, we try to put an adult by a youth. Instead of youth only serving at the shelter, we put an adult by them. Instead of having adult only lead the children ministry, we put a youth with them. That is only a few situations.

    My favorite “success” from last month that we had 3 freshman girls come out for trunk-or-treat. They dressed up, had a trunk and passed out candy to all children there. However, they had special extra large candy bars for the 3rd grade girls in their community group – connections – love it.

  6. Beth Hill November 8, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    I went to a funeral of a man from my childhood church at that church three years ago.   It was amazing how many adults came up to me and we reconnected like old friends.  The love that was there surprised me.  That experience taught me a lot about the power of adults in the life of a child.  They matter to me 

    Last year I attended a funeral for a high school student at the church my kids grew up at.  My kids were welcomed by so many adults.  The other thing that struck me was how many adults loved Mike (the kid who died).  They weren’t there for the parents, they were there cause they loved Mike. 

    At the church I’m at now many adults have great relationships with the kids cause many of the families have gone on vacations together, or spend tons of time together and have since the kids were little.  It’s like the kids have an abundance of adults in their lives.  

    I’ve always tried to surround my kids with adults.  They are always welcome at the “adult” table.  We’ve never actually had one, except at my in-laws come to think of it.  My two oldest had a great relationship with a volunteer from their middle school youth group.  There were times when they needed to talk to an adult who wasn’t me for various reasons and she was always the one they called.  I thought that was great.  There was a time one of my daughters needed someone to call for accountability and I suggested this volunteer.  It was great for both of them.  

    I’m having difficulty at this church finding adults willing to serve in the ministry, but they are doing ministry in others ways on their own, because of the families being so close.  I know some of the kids want to talk to me, but others have their own person from that group that they call when they need an adult who is not a parent.  However kids who are not in that group of families are then left out.  

    This post is rambling enough… so I’ll end it without really answering the questions.  : )

  7. Anonymous November 8, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    I love this chapter, and had to fight hard to keep my pastor hat off, and read it as a dad first.  We’ve lived in suburbs alone in Chicago, and intentionally left to be close to family here in central Indiana for our girls.  It was tough, but it’s worth it.  We’re blessed to have Christian family on all sides, so they love and care for our girls so well.  It’s not a daily deal, but it’s always there, and I can see the benefit of our decisions for sure.

    As far as church, I want our girls to serve.  My wife serves with my oldest daughter in the nursery.  Our youngest is working toward playing keyboard for the children’s ministry.  I think as we place our kids into service roles, they will come in contact with other adults who can love them.  Also, their small group leaders are crucial in their lives.  I don’t know that we’ve been thinking “sticky faith, sticky faith” with each decision, as much as knowing that my wife and I are simply not enough.  Our girls need as many good influences as possible.

    As far as our church, I have a lot of thinking to do.  We do a good job of bringing adults into our youth ministry, and our youth ministry serves the children’s min well.  But nothing beyond that.  I need to work with our leaders to figure that one out.

    Loving this book, and loving reading everyone’s thoughts every week.  Thank you for taking time to post, for each of you who do.  It’s pushing me along.  I appreciate it.

  8. Lars Rood November 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Adam-  I loved reading this chapter and realizing that it was being written about my family. Kara talks about the small group from her church that modeled what it was like to covenant to raising their kids together. My wife’s parents were in that group for 35 years. It was amazing the way all those couples cared for and celebrated all the major events in my wife’s life. And it was crazy that when we started dating all 5 of those dads pretty much let me know if I hurt her that they would all come after me. They modeled something that we desperately want to give our kids. My prayer is that we all figure out how to make that kind of community a reality in our lives. 

  9. Rachel Foss November 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    I loved this chapter. I love the idea of intentionally involving people in my kids’ lives (and mine). We have built our youth ministry around getting teens connected with several caring, mature Christian adults, but somehow it didn’t occur to me to do the same with little kids. I totally want to be in that small group of parents who plan ahead to support each other’s kids at school or sports or what-have-you. I also love the thought of creating a group that’s more multi-generational.

    All that being said, I’m a terrible inviter, I’m not the person who’s happy to host a party or weekly gathering, I’m overwhelmed by my friends’ children. I am afraid, in short, that though I love the concept, I’ll never really implement it. For my kids’ sake, I need to find a way, but history and my temperament indicate that it will always be an uphill battle. 

    My son already has a lot of people in his life, but they are all family, and most live far away. He mostly sees them on Skype. The best options we have for getting more adults in his life are through church, MOPS, or (in the future) sports. Our kids need to be around extroverts occasionally! The eldest would understand why we’re adding people to his life if we talked about how “Mama & Dada are good at a lot of things, but we’re not good at everything, and these other people can teach you about those things better than we can. Plus, there are lots of ways to relate to people or think about the world, lots of ways to be creative or play, lots of different kinds of “normal” or ways to love God.” 

    My role at my church doesn’t even rate the label “volunteer” these days. My husband’s influence is somewhat limited by other staff members’ assumptions about “what works.” But he has “rubbed off” on our team of volunteers, many of whom have been leading small groups for 5+ years, and on many of the students who are just exiting adolescence and are starting to invest in younger students too.
    Of all the chapters I’ve read so far, this is the one where I feel like I can actually DO something with my child NOW rather than having to wait around until he’s a little older. That’s a good feeling.

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