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Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Guide Your Kids to a Lifelong Faith, October 26, 2011
This review is from: Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids (Paperback)
Sticky Faith
By Kara E. Powell and Dr. Chap Clark
ISBN 978-0-310-32932-9
Zondervan Publishing
Reviewed by Clint Walker

Drop into many churches in the United States and you will hear parents and grandparents making the same complaint. The church will be full of older folks, with a few middle-aged people sprinkled in. In most of these churches you will hear how the church was once full of children, but now there are hardly any young adults or children present. They will go on to say that some of their children live nearby, and yet they cannot get them to join them in their church involvement. "What are we to do?" they ask, "How could have things been different?"

Into this world of concern about young people retaining their faith come the Fuller Youth Institute, and its leaders Kara Powell and Chap Clark. Combining keen insight with painstaking research, Powell and Clark believed they have uncovered some thoughtful ways parents can raise their kids so that their faith "sticks" even after they leave home. Their learning is compiled in the book Sticky Faith. Much of what they have to share is very helpful, and parents would be wise to heed it.

Over and over again, children and teenagers cite their parents as their primary role models and their heroes. Thus, Sticky Faith directly challenges parents to be very intentional in their child's spiritual development, and addresses them as the primary influencers that they are.

The book challenges parents to be involved in their children's lives on a number of fronts. First, it encourages parents to live their faith transparently before their children, and to invite their children into a family that functions as a community of faith. Sticky Faith gives parents helpful hints about how to have spiritual conversations with their teenage children. The book exhorts parents to develop larger, intentional networks of caring adults to support themselves and their children as they work to lead their children to Jesus. Through the whole book, Sticky Faith argues in a number of different ways that meaningful intergenerational relationships are essential to a child's longevity in the church and overall spiritual vitality.

I enjoy the way the book is set up. Sticky Faith helps parents know more about what their child is going through, and that it is normal. It helps parents with specific practices they can have as parents to be stronger in leading their children into an authentic life of faith that lasts through college and beyond. It is a book that is less driven by guilt than by faith. The authors even occasionally point out times where they have struggled to implement the principles that they describe. Their humility encourages me, and makes me want to hear more from them.

Occasionally I was amused with the discussion of larger churches, and their inability to integrate young adults into "big church". I serve in a small church, and there are several facets of "sticky faith" that we practice just by virtue of being small. At times, some of the things that Chap and Kara shared seemed to be obvious. But if they felt the need to say what they said, maybe the ability to relate to teens and children in a meaningful way is rarer than I expected.

Based on both Kara and Chap's research studies, Sticky Faith is a gem of a book that should be in the hands of both pastors and youth workers across the country. This book is full of the cutting edge information about the spiritual lives of teens can endure into adulthood. And, although some of the discoveries may not be all that earthshattering, Sticky Faith is, at the very least, full of helpful reminders on how to love our children well, and hints on how to guide them best to Jesus.
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