Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids by Kara Powell and Chap Clark Note: Vikki Huisman wrote this review for her church blog but agreed to let repost it here. 

You shouldn’t wait to get this book.


Youth experts, Chapman and Powell completed a 6-year research project, “The College Transition Project”. Based on their research, they concluded that between 40-50% of youth group kids stick with their faith in college. If you have two children, the odds are only one of them will stick with their faith after college.

Sticky Faith contains a lot of research and data at the beginning of the book and I must be honest, the statistics are unnerving. I was ready to toss the book aside and never finish it because it seemed so depressing. But I’m glad I didn’t.

Powell and Clark tell us that there is no magic formula or quick fix to guarantee that your kids will have a faith that lasts. This book is not a 10 step program to turn your child into Billy Graham by Monday. Just as there are many different types of people, there are many avenues you can choose to pursue in your home to point your child in the right direction.

The bottom line for any family, and their research backs this up, is that parents influence their kids faith more than anyone else. More than the church. More than youth group. More than friends or youth leaders.

So what’s the primary goal in helping your child have “sticky faith”?

According to the authors, the foundational step is to help your kids develop a clear and honest understanding of faith and the Bible. When interviewing young adults who stepped away from their faith in college, Chapman and Powell found that most people said they either didn’t feel they could ask questions or express their doubts to the adults in their lives.

Another step to take with your kids is to have conversations with your kids about faith. Not lectures. Let them have the freedom to ask questions, express their doubts, and express your own as well. Navigate this journey with them and search for the answers together.

Chapters are devoted to various subjects relating to sticky faith such as:

  • Don’t ignore the questions that your kids may have.
  • Encourage your kids to attend church-wide services (adult service) as well as youth group.
  • Short-term mission trips (this chapter will surprise you)
  • Kids who serve and build relationships with younger kids are more likely to hang on to their faith.
  • The more students are prepared for college, the more likely their faith will grow. One suggestion that I liked in this chapter was to spend several months before your child heads off to college by visiting other churches in your area. The authors are not encouraging “church hopping”. The purpose of church visits is to help your child choose a church in his college town. Visiting other churches with you can help them realize what they want in a church.

Sticky Faith is not a quick read but more like a toolbox you’ll go back to again and again.

Sticky Faith Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audiobook 
Note there is a separate version intended for church youth workers – Kindle Edition, Paperback

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