Sticky Faith, The Power of Community, and the "C Word"

Kara Powell

I feel like I've crossed a line in the health - not mine but others.  I feel like I'm no longer talking with my friends about our parents' health issues; we're now talking about our own health issues.

Last week I drove 3 hours to take a friend of mine to get her second chemotherapy treatment.  She's only a few years older than me, and her cancer diagnosis is very serious.

What encouraged me the most in my 24 hours with her and her family was all the support that surrounds her.   She has a stack of prepared meals in her kitchen, her phone is ringing constantly with folks saying they're praying for her, and a handful of folks stopped by to wish her well.

I thought of my friend as I read this Huffington Post blog on the village it takes to raise children - the type of village my friend, her husband, and her children are experiencing in their time of obvious need.  In particular as I thought about the current and future needs of their children, I resonated with this paragraph:

Embrace a "cafeteria lifestyle." When it comes to finding role models for your son and daughter, take some of this, add some of that, throw in a little bit of this, and come up with a combination that is fulfilling. Different personalities, skills, approaches, and temperaments add up to different parenting strengths, whether a person has a biological connection to a child or not. By mining all areas of your life for role models, you'll expose your sons and daughters to a greater variety of opportunity.

One of our Sticky Faith themes is the importance of surrounding our kids with a safety net of adults who can pour into them.  That's what my ill friend's kids are experiencing.  I think that's the type of community God intends us to experience - in sickness and in health.

It seems to me that there are a handful of important questions we can ask ourselves as we think about the power of community in our own lives, as well as our kids' lives:

1.  What kids (other than my own) am I investing in?  It's not just about the type of relationships we want for our own kids; it's also about the ways we want to pour into others' kids.

2.  What adults are already investing in my kids?

3.  Who else would I like to invest in my kids?  How can I ask them to be more engaged?  You likely already know some adults who could help fill in the gaps that you perceive in your kids' safety net of support.

4.  Who would my kids want to invest in them, who is not already?  Feel free to ask your kids this very question.

Wouldn't it be great if one of the hallmarks of the church was the way we cared for each other and each other's kids?  I'd grin from ear to ear if that's what others were saying about our church.

Published Jun 13, 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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