Sharing Good News:  A Tale of Two Sticky Faith E-mails

Kara Powell

A few days ago within the course of an hour, I received two e-mails about Sticky Faith that made my day.  The first was a notification that the parent version of the Sticky Faith book had been selected by Outreach magazine as one of their 2012 Youth Outreach books of the year.  We were thrilled and honored that the respected and ministry leaders who made the book selections recommended Sticky Faith so strongly.  (As an exciting side note, Chap Clark, the co-author of the parent version of Sticky Faith had a second book, Hurt 2.0, that also received the same award.)

About 30 minutes later, I received an e-mail from a parent of college students who had read Sticky Faith and wanted to let me know about its impact on her family’s journey.

I've been reading Sticky Faith through squinty eyes, afraid to open both, as statistics stated what I saw to be true in one of my on grown sons. A recent college graduate, it looked to me that he had made a clean trade, willing to exchange the faith that he had grown up in for community he craved and was promised in a fraternity. 

After college graduation, the California economy forced my son to return home for the first year. We lived in the same house, with an increasing, unrestful silence growing between him and the other members of our family.  Recently after reading Sticky Faith, it all came out. Our extremely uncomfortable conversation began because of a conflict I couldn't ignore. We sat on the porch in the dark, discussing our difference, and reaching an uneasy truce. 

Then the real conversation began. Years of pent-up pain poured out of my son, an adult grieving huge unresolved loss that had occurred during his high school years. I listened. He continued…finally breaking down and admitting that he just wanted things to be the way they were when he was little. Impossible, but valid. I listened, and finally talked when he asked for clarification. We had nothing to lose, and nothing to hide. We shared from our hearts.

Suddenly he blurted out, "You know, I'm going to church now!" As he kept talking, it was obvious to both of us that God had been working through the difficult years, keeping the embers of his faith alive. Recently and surprisingly, a girl had been introduced into my son's life whose faith was vibrant and necessary to her! As their friendship grew, so did his faith. Hers was infectious, and simply a part of who she was. God used someone I'd never even met to reach out and reconnect him with other Christians. 

He asked me to pray for him. I did. We praised God for who He is, for His power, His steadfast love, His mercy, and the gift of this girl.

My son's faith is his own, not mine. I'm grateful that it is sticky enough to cling tightly during those long hard years.

Truly, this second e-mail made my day as much as the first.  If Sticky Faith is just about books, then we’ve missed the point.  For us at FYI, Sticky Faith is more than a website, a twitter handle, or a brand.  It’s a movement of parents, leaders, and churches who want to change the trajectory of young people, which changes the trajectory of churches, which changes the trajectory of our nation.

That’s a cause I can give my life to.

Published Feb 27, 2012
Kara Powell

Kara Powell, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. As a youth ministry veteran of over 20 years, she serves as an Advisor to Youth Specialties. Named by Christianity Today as one of "50 Women You Should Know", Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books including Sticky Faith, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.

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