Today's guest blogger is Tim Galleher, Pastor of Youth and Family Ministry at Saratoga Federated Church in Saratoga, CA, and part of our 2011 Sticky Faith Cohort. Tim wears his parent-of-teenagers hat in this post.
In 2009, I listened to Kara Powell talk about “Sticky Faith” at a parent seminar in Menlo Park. After I left the seminar, I knew I needed to do something to help our current senior class launch well into life after high school. What really made me nervous was that my son was going to be one of those seniors.
As I drove away, I asked myself, “Have I done enough to help him have a sticky faith?” The next week twenty five parents of future seniors got together to pray about what we could do for our kids. We came up with Project 2010, a monthly speaker series for high school seniors to talk about issues that affect seniors and about what life would be like when they left home. We brought in our speakers and we prayed like crazy. We even brought in speakers for parents to talk about the transitions they would go through when their children left the “nest.” It was a great year because we parents did it together and did not rely on the youth pastor (me!) to do programs for our kids. We ended the year with an incredible communion service and celebration. It was a success!
After monitoring the students for the past two years, many are in a dynamic relationship with Christ. Some are struggling, but they are being honest and open about their journey. We began our third year of this program (now Project 2012) last Sunday, and I was amazed that God showed me the results of our prayers.
As we began the new year, I invited some of our past graduates to share with the “new” seniors. The seniors shared about themselves, what they are looking forward to about their first year at college and about some of their anxieties regarding their future. For the next half hour, our college students ministered to our seniors, many times repeating exactly what we had taught them a year or two earlier. They made comments such as:
“In this last year of high school spend time with your parents. I did my senior year, and God blessed our relationship.”
“My senior year was difficult, but through the pain, I stayed close to friendships and my church. God helped me get through the tough times.”
“I spent a lot of time with my friends, and they really helped me get through the year. “
“Have fun your senior year. Don’t get so wrapped up with essays, SATs and college applications.”
“Take time to do some new things.”
“Get connected to your church and try challenging yourself in your relationship with God.”
Incredible! I am so thankful for this ministry, and thankful that I get to see the benefits of being intentional and prayerful.
If you want to know more about what we do at Saratoga Federated Church, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be happy to share more stories!