One of the great privileges of speaking about Sticky Faith around the country is hearing inspiring stories of the ways folks have already lived out some of these principles in their own contexts, whether for a few weeks or a few decades.
Recently we met Ashley Henderson from Pennsylvania while we were at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Ashley shared about developing a relationship with an older couple from her church during her senior year in high school. This couple had an evening routine of "popcorn and tea," a ritual they shared together around 9:00 each night. One night this couple invited Ashley to join them.
It was kind of awkward at first.
Then it became a shared ritual. In Ashley's words, "it became my hangout when I got off work, my safe haven when I fought with my mom, and most importantly a place where I could go deeper in my spiritual life." She noted that sometimes their talks became debates around aspects of church and life where they disagreed, but looking back she sees that she learned more about life, marriage, and faith during those popcorn and tea sessions than just about anywhere else.
The best part, according to Ashley, was that this couple made their home an open place for her. All she had to do was call when she was on the way over; she was always welcome for popcorn & tea.
I love how this relationship developed out of a couple's openness to sharing a very simple part of their lives with a young person. Sometimes all we need is to stir up the imaginations of those in our communities to the ways our lives can become open places where kids feel at home.