Sticky Faith and Deep Justice Combine in Blessings Bucks

Kara Powell

I was asked recently what gives me so much passion about Sticky Faith. My answer was long and ranged from my passion as a mom to the hope I have for teenagers to change our country. Core to my answer was the stories we hear every week from parents and leaders taking creative steps forward to build Sticky Faith.

Last week I met a youth leader who has seen the power of combining intergenerational relationships (which are core to Sticky Faith) with involving students in service and deep justice.

At a recent inner city service project, an adult from the church who wanted to connect with the student participants decided to give each student $20. All he asked was that instead of spending that $20 on themselves or others from their own church who were on the short-term team, that each student spend the $20 to bless someone else.

On the last day of the trip, one student remained who had not yet figured out how to spend his $20 of “Blessing Bucks”. This student was starting to get really anxious, wondering how he could spend his money to tangibly help someone else. He walked into a market and saw a man buying bread, eggs, and milk. This student saw his opportunity.

He walked up to the man and asked if he could pay for his groceries. At first the man refused, but when the student explained that he was from a church and had to spend $20 to bless someone else, the man agreed.

And then he started to cry. Because he was unemployed and down to his last few dollars. That $20 couldn’t have come at a better time.

This story is powerful to me for a number of reasons:

  • It was a member of the congregation who made this experience possible by his willingness to invest $20/student in their mission experience.
  • It required a teenager who was willing to stretch beyond his comfort zone to offer tangible help to others. That’s not always an easy task.
  • As is usually the case with intergenerational ministry, folks of all ages were blessed—the student had an experience he will never forget, the man who needed groceries saw the church in action, and the man who donated $20/student saw the outcome of his obedience.

Published Jan 25, 2013
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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