Do You Dare Shut Down Your Programs?

Brad M. Griffin

The Sticky Faith website has only been in existence for four months now, but--thanks to you--we have gained a fantastic readership over these few months. We are incredibly grateful for the ways this site and especially this blog have become the kind of portal we'd dreamed of for sharing Sticky Faith ideas and stories to leaders and parents.  

Looking back over these months, our most popular blog post was this guest post below from Alan Mercer, a youth pastor at Christ Community Church in Leawood, KS. Perhaps because this church is daring to do what many leaders (and perhaps parents and students too) would love to do: shut things down.  Engage a different rhythm that isn't just focused on doing the same thing over and over. Experiment with bringing the church together in new ways (that might totally flop) and also pronouncing that ministry is truly more than our great programming (something many of us profess in rhetoric). 

What if more ministries did that?  What if more families did that? 

From now until January, the Sticky Faith and Fuller Youth Institute blogs will go silent as well. Why? Because we dare to believe that we can shut down, take a break, pause, rest, and live into the rhythm of the season, and on the other side of that you'll still read what we post if it's worth reading.  Do you dare to join us? That may not entirely be possible, but perhaps there are things you can drop, skip, or shut down to engage the season at a more restful pace.  We wish that for you!

Merry Christmas from the FYI team!

Here's Alan's original post for thought: 

As we have wrestled with the concept of Sticky Faith in our context, the importance of intergenerational worship has risen to the top of our list of adjustments to make.  Like so many churches, we have enjoyed years of great age appropriate and age segmented ministry.  These individual ministries have been amazing and have been effective in many ways.  However, in the past few years, we have noticed an increase in the number of students who refer to the student ministry programming as their church.  In fact, some have stated their parents go to “Christ Community” but they themselves go to “encounter” or another youth program.

We see the corporate worship service as playing a significant part in our efforts to begin to more holistically incorporate our students into the life of the body.  For this reason, we have cancelled our Sunday morning student programs for about 12 weeks of our year.  These cancellations force our families to attend corporate worship together where our students have the chance to meet more adults and feel more a part of our congregation.  In addition, it gives our adults a great chance to meet students and be positively impacted by their energy, spirit, and youthful zeal.  It is definitely a two way street and a win-win situation. 

We have chosen to focus our time around Advent and Lent, cancelling four or five weeks in a row for each of these two seasons.  We’ve also taken the opportunity around Spring Break and July 4 to cancel.  These windows offer us a balance of age appropriate ministry while holding up the significant value of being together as a corporate body.

Has this been easy?  No!  Has there been resistance?  Yes!  Is it worth it?  You bet!  We look forward to where we are going and what awaits us.


Published Dec 21, 2011
Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Associate Director of the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is also the coauthor of Sticky Faith ​and Deep Justice Journeys. A native Kentucky youth pastor, Brad now lives in Southern California with his wife Missy and their three children.

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