“Sticky Faith gives parents and leaders both a theological/philosophical framework and a host of practical relationship and programming ideas that develop long-term faith in teenagers.”
What is Faith that Sticks?
The Fuller Youth Institute has recently begun a new initiative focusing on how we can help youth retain their faith once they leave home – to college, independent living, being “out in the world” in all the ways young adults take on new roles post high school. And there is a recognition that faith is not “sticking” with many young people after they’ve been given that graduation bible to take with them on the next stage of their journey.
In response to this problem, the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) has 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.
FYI’s research confirms that it’s never too early or too late to start developing faith that continues to grow and lasts. Sticky Faith gives parents and leaders both a theological/philosophical framework and a host of practical relationship and programming ideas that develop long-term faith in teenagers.
By “Sticky Faith” FYI mean a combination of characteristics, all of which exist in a dynamic tension…
- Faith that is both internalized and externalized: a faith that is part of a student’s inner thoughts and emotions, and is also externalized in choices and actions that reflect that faith commitment. These behaviors include regular attendance in a church/campus group, prayer and Bible reading, service to others, and lower participation in risk behaviors, in particular sex and alcohol (two behaviors we are studying specifically). In other words, Sticky Faith involves whole-person life integration, at least to some degree.
- Faith that is both personal and communal: a faith that celebrates God’s specific care for each person while always locating faith in the global and local community of the Church.
- Faith that is both mature and maturing: a faith that shows marks of spiritual maturity but is also in process of growth. We don’t assume a high school senior or college freshman (or a youth worker for that matter) will have a completely “mature” faith. We are all in process.
The Research Shows That:
- While churches across the U.S. have tended to allocate financial and personnel resources toward building strong and dynamic youth groups, teenagers also need to rub shoulders and build relationships with adults of all ages.
- Churches and families think youth group graduates are ready for the struggles ahead, despite the students themselves feeling unprepared and challenged by everything from loneliness to difficulty finding a new church.
- While teaching young people the “dos” and “don’ts” of Christian living is important, an overemphasis on behaviors can sabotage their faith long-term.
(see FYI’s press release for more info)
Learn more at Sticky Faith