Sticky Faith (Ch. 5): A Sticky Web of Relationships

I couldn't leave the church each week without being stopped by several adults in the church and engaging in lengthy conversations with each of them. -David, a youth (p. 99)

We were welcomed not just in youth group; we were welcomed into other parts of the ministry of the church... -Anonymous Youth (p. 99)

Wow. Can you imagine being part of a church family like this? Or experiencing this as a young person? This interweave of generations and ages is a part of God's intention for His family, the Church. Not surprisingly, regardless of age, the Church is to be many parts, one body (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12).

Research says...

Powell & Clark's research made a number of connections on the interconnection of relationships in God's work of growing faith (trust in God) in young people (versus what could be described as a silo approach: adults in one spot, youth in another, children in a third, singles here, etc.).

  • If there is ONE THING linked to Sticky Faith in college and high school students, it is attendance at church-wide worship services.
  • Teenagers who serve young children build Sticky Faith.
  • High School'ers felt a part of a church most when someone got to know them.
  • For College Freshman, Sticky Faith was more likely if an adult from their home church (outside the youth ministry) made contact over the first semester of college. (Via text or email or phone or USPS letter.) This contact made a spiritual impact even three years later. Especially significant since college freshman reported "finding a church" among their top three difficulties.

 What You Can Do

As always, they have more ideas than we can get to, so check out their book for more.

  •  1:5 or 5:1   The classic idea is to have one adult for every 5 youth. What if we turned that on its head? Had 5 adults for every one youth? Not just in our youth ministry but also parents were actively involved in developing this? And adults were actively trying to be involved in youths' lives?
  • Build a Sticky Web
    • Be Intentional
      • Whether relatives or others, make intentional connections and invitations to other adults to be involved in your kids' lives.
      • Invite your child's teacher or a small group leader or a Sunday School teacher for dinner or dessert with your family.
    • Be Explicit: Let your kids know about the 5:1. Seek people together.
    • Encourage Mentoring: Spark ideas for mentoring for H.S. Seniors or youth ministering with adults (in this case in a car ministry but could be any kind).
    • Ask for Experiences, not Gifts
    • Send Your Kids to Work with Friends
    • Exchange Prayer Requests
  • Creating a Sticky Web at Your Church
    • Integrate 5:1 Thinking into Existing Ministries
    • Include Youth in Corporate Worship ("How can we increase adult-kid interaction during worship?")
    • If Your Kid Doesn't Want to Go to Church... Good ideas on p. 116-117 for this area.

Let’s Talk

Join us in the comments below. Feel free to ask a question or share a response to someone else's.

How have you seen the "5:1" idea implemented (in your life or with others)? Was there something that left a particular impact for you?


Check out the series or follow-up on the conversations in the posts below:

Next week: Chapter 6 “Sticky Justice."

2 Responses

  1. Pastor Brian
    I always find it interesting how our ongoing transformation by Christ (sanctification) comes in what we know but also in what we do. So teens serving children makes sense in developing a long-term relationship with God. This brought to mind a family that serves in Jr. Church. I see the mom and dad doing it but they also have their daughter actively involved. Their example continues to inspire me to: a) serve together as a family and b) find ways to allow my children to participate in teaching/serving the children in Jr. Church.
  2. Lindsey
    I have not seen the 5:1 idea implemented that I can think of, but I think it is a wonderful idea. After reading this chapter, I began to think of who I could include as part of the "5" in my children's lives. In our church, I do like that there are often adults and youth serving together, like in the church nursery and for bigger events like the Easter breakfast and certain special church services. I hope it makes the teenagers feel more connected at church.

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