I was invited to review Fuller Youth Institute's newest book for parents called, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family: Over 100 Practical and Tested Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Kids. Here's what I think...
First of all, a disclaimer. I truly love everything FYI shares with the world. Their work is some of the best in the youth ministry world, for youth workers, parents, and students. Additionally, I've been on FYI's Advisory Council forever and have been very involved in the Sticky Faith movement since the beginning (ex: Kara's kind enough to include me in the acknowledgments). Currently, I'm a Sticky Faith coach for their cohorts and a certified trainer for Sticky Faith.
Second, my involvement and review are as a result of their work, not the other way around.
Finally, my reflections of their latest release...
This book is so easy to read. If you're new to the Sticky Faith research, this book will catch up in no time. If you've read everything they've published, this will give you new handles to exercise the research (Appendices 1 + 2).
This book is for more than parents of teenagers. As a parent to little ones (ages 6, 4, and 2) this book gives me inspiration, examples, and assessments to use with my kiddos. I love how it spans the years of parenting combining theology, theory, and the real world.
This book is covered in grace. It could be easy to read 100+ ideas and feel like you're the worst parent in the world. Sticky Faith is not about the "Gospel of Sin Management" - a reduction of the gospel to a checklist of do’s and don’ts (page 44) - but about undeserved favor. The principles and ideas in this book move parents toward grace and yet-another chance instead of judgment. The practical ideas are stories from parents like me, guiding me toward a better future with my kids. I found my head being lifted and heart expanded as I read stories of other parents' success and failure who want their kids to radically follow Jesus just like I do.
"Mom, Dad, Stepmom, Stepdad, Grandma, or Grandpa, please know this: Jesus is bigger than your mistakes too." (page 43)
This is a book about action over ideas. Ideas are great but they don't mean anything unless you put them into practice. These ideas are tested and true. They are field-experienced in families similar to mine and yours. This book compellingly invites us to evaluate and determine what we will do with what we read. It beckons us to DO SOMETHING with what we know, for the sake of our children and future. The questions, quick assessments, and ideas provide us with space to make familial application.
This book is about my faith ... not just my kids. It's easier to point a finger at what's not working at my kid. But it's far more honest and authentic to view my kids through a mirror. This books reminds us as parents that our faith will deeply impact the depth and health of our kids' faith.
The most important social influence in shaping young people’s religious lives is the religious life modeled and taught to them by their parents. —Christian Smith and Melissa Lundquist Denton (Soul Searching, 56)
One of my barometers for enhancing the quality of my life (as defined by John 10:10) is: Does it make me want to love Jesus more? This resource and my friends at FYI do. Without a doubt.
Perhaps what I loved most about this Guide is that it's not a copy/paste approach to parenting. It's literally 100+ ideas that can be contextualized for the uniquenesses of our family. I can read the research and stories of great examples of building Sticky Faith in our kids, assess our strengths and weaknesses, and come up with a plan for action that will work for us (chapter 13!).
I hope this resource will make it onto your "must have" school supply list this year. I have full confidence your family will be better for it. May this year be the best yet in building Sticky Faith in our kids's lives.