A few years ago, I (Adam) attended a youth conference in Atlanta where youth ministry leaders and visionaries from all over the world congregated to lead breakout sessions, keynote talks, and question and answer sessions. At that conference, I was introduced to a newer youth ministry research organization called Sticky Faith that was based out of the Fuller Youth Institute. They set out in their research to find what are the things that make faith stick in teenagers beyond their high school years. This was a timely subject then and probably even more so now as the research shows that teenagers are losing their faith at a higher rate now after they graduate than ever before. It’s difficult to identify why this is happening exactly, but there are some things that were really interesting about what helps faith stick in teenagers.
In one of the big group session there was a speaker from Sticky Faith named Kara Powell. She gave a great talk, but there was one statistic that she gave that has stuck with me. She said that teenagers need to know that they are loved and cared for no matter what by at least five adults or that teenager is considered an at risk teen. At risk teen to not only losing their faith but to drug usage, teenage pregnancy, high school drop out, etc. I couldn’t believe that. All it takes is five adults that the teenager knows cares about them and loves them no matter what they do. That group of five adults can include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, ministers, coaches, teachers, etc., but teenagers need people in their lives that they know love and care for them no matter what.
This week, find some time to ask your teenagers and children who the people are they know love and care for them no matter what. This could be a great opportunity to talk about who some of those people are in their lives that they may not see this way. Do the same thing with your soon to be teenagers. This is a great conversation to have at any age so that our children and youth know how much they are loved and cared for. My hope and prayer is that your children and youth know that West Hills Baptist Church is a place where they can be heard and where they are loved and cared for, and that there is always an open door to talk about any and all of life’s joys, triumphs, hurts, and sorrows.