I would like to share a foreword to the book, Sticky Faith as a launching pad for today’s youth here at First Lutheran as well as in the community of Charlotte.
Tom is a high school freshman at our church who is similar to others his age. He loves sports and girls, and his life is trapped in a perpetual cycle of homework and busyness. By all accounts, he is a normal high school kid. But Tom has something that makes him different. He is being pursued by a church that is dedicated to prepping its entire congregation to encourage faith in young people. We fail a lot at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, but one of our key goals is to have many adults who know and love kids like Tom and point them to Jesus Christ. It isn’t just a ministry strategy; it’s the theological conviction that this is what the church is called to be. Recently, Tom ran into a thirty-year-old member of our church named Mike, and they laughed and talked for a few minutes. When the conversation ended, Tom turned to his mom and said, “Mom, I will always follow Jesus.” Nothing could have meant more to this mom. “Why?” she said. “Because there are so many guys like Mike at our church who I know love me,” he said. “I want to be like that.” Kids experience Jesus Christ when adults in the church give them grace, time, and genuine love with no hidden agenda.
Hearing students say that they will always follow Jesus is one of the biggest joys anyone within an earshot can receive. But let’s hear what other students are saying about how their life is shaped. Robyn, a local high school student says that, “My parents are probably the biggest influence out of anybody.” Billy commented on how, “Both my mom and my dad have spent hours and hours and hours through my life talking to me about what it means to be a Christian, what it means to follow God, and what that should entail and how to do it.”
If you are leading the charge as a parent in the faith formation of your children, well done! If you are hearing and seeing the fruit of your efforts put into practice by your child, you are blessed! If these prior two statements are a pipe-dream, then, I will add, IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO INVEST IN YOUR CHILD.
I recommend picking up a copy of this book (Sticky Faith) and reading it from cover-to-cover – taking in how its content applies to your child’s faith formation and then trying out some of the practical and intense suggestions. Sticky Faith is both internal and external in how it functions. Sticky Faith is both personal and communal – the way God interacts with us. Sticky Faith is both mature and maturing – for any age reader and learner.
My hope from you reading this article is to hear and see that you are putting into practice what Sticky Faith has to offer your children. Through God’s provision, we will hear our children say, “In college I think my faith finally got really serious to me. God is so real, and so important in my life. My faith finally got hard and inconvenient, which I think makes my faith real.” Shelby