3 ways the Sticky Faith Cohort changed our team

Fuller Youth Institute | Nov 10, 2014

This Sticky Faith story is from Katie Sanders, the Associate Pastor of Formation at Upper Room in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a Sticky Faith Cohort Veteran, and one of our coaches and Sticky Faith trainers.

It all started with an email from my friend Cory. His church had been part of a Sticky Faith cohort in 2011 and knew it would be right up my alley.

He was right. Sticky Faith research and principles put language to things I had been thinking about for years. After reading up about this opportunity, I was confident it was the right next step for our staff. I spent a few weeks preparing for a conversation with our lead pastor. I won’t hide the fact that one of my selling points was a trip to Pasadena in February (we live in Minnesota).

Bottom line… We loved our cohort experience. We were encouraged and challenged and inspired. We met some amazing people. We thawed out in the midst of brutal MN winter. But when I really think back to why this was such a significant experience for our church, three core things come to mind:

1. The cohort created space

I am sure most of us in vocational ministry can relate to the feeling of being on the hamster wheel. We live in the reality of week-in, week-out ministry… nurturing relationships, planning program, writing curriculum, crafting messages. Sometimes the best gift can be to step away from it all. The cohort provided us this incredible space; space to be together as a staff, space to listen and learn and wrestle and dream about our future.

2. We learned A LOT

I remember filling an entire notebook with notes from my cohort year. A definite highlight was learning from Brad, Kara, Scott, and Chap. We covered everything from adolescent development to adaptive change. We got to core, foundational, fundamental topics—topics that too often go unaddressed in ministry settings.

3. We were challenged to do something with what we learned

I have vivid memories of attending past ministry conferences where I walked away with 25 great ideas but had no clue how those ideas could become a reality in our church community. And sometimes those ideas flat out would not work in our context. The hope of the Cohort and the challenge issued to all participants is to take the research and learnings and actually apply them. In fact, a significant part of the cohort experience is putting together a Breakthrough Plan, which involves picking 2-3 areas of ministry and creating a plan to implement change. We were provided individualized coaching and accountability, which I believe made all the difference. One of the results of our Breakthrough Plan was that we started to equip parents in our community in a new way. All of our ministry settings are unique, and the Sticky Faith Cohort not only recognizes this, but celebrates it too.

All in all, we are so thankful for our Cohort year. While ministry development is always a process, our year in the Sticky Faith Cohort helped us to lay a solid foundation, giving us a clearer vision for the work we do with our kids, students, and families.

The deadline to register is December 15th, don’t miss your opportunity to join! To confirm your spot, email Brian Nelson at bnelson@fuller.edu or call 818-620-6996.

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Fuller Youth Institute

The Fuller Youth Institute equips diverse leaders and parents so faithful young people can change our world. We turn academic research into practical resources to help make the church the best place for young people to grow. We believe in young people, and we believe in the church.

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