Is it the right time for my church to join a Sticky Faith Cohort?

Kara Powell Brad M. Griffin | Nov 6, 2014

We’ve been delighted and humbled by the range of churches that have participated in our Sticky Faith Cohorts over the past five years. Along the way we’ve been able to get to know leaders from all across North America, multiple denominations, and all sizes and flavors of ministry.

This fall we’re gearing up for our next cohort starting in January 2015. One of the questions we often get asked by leaders considering the cohort is:

“How do we know if it’s the right time?”

The great news is that we’ve seen congregations in all sorts of stages and situations find the cohort experience helpful to catalyze their youth ministry and entire church toward Sticky Faith. As one church leader shared recently, the emphasis on making change in their own context freed their church to tailor Sticky Faith uniquely to their congregation, while also learning a ton from churches who were both like and unlike them.

Here are 5 things to consider as you think about joining the Cohort:

  1. Start having conversations with other team members that push you to look at both what you’re doing in ministry and why you’re doing it.
  2. What is your vision for partnership with children’s ministry leadership at your church? Churches who see the most gains during the Cohort process tend to move towards synergy between youth and children’s ministry.
  3. How do you want to utilize training opportunities next year? Consider focusing your team training efforts and budget toward the 2015 Cohort in order to create a clear collaborative mission and leverage our research-based resources. We’ll supply you with volunteer training tools and an interactive process for your team to engage for the year!
  4. How involved is your senior pastor with your ministry’s mission? The cohort helps bring everyone on the same page to move toward a clear vision together. Consider garnering support from your senior pastor and other leadership for your church’s participation in a yearlong process. (This video from Fuller President Mark Labberton might help).

  5. If it would help to talk with a leader from another church within your denomination/tradition or your community who has been through the Cohort, let us know and we will do our best to connect you with someone.

Often the factors leaders think might be obstacles to participating in the process don’t have to be. Issues like a senior pastor transition or having a small youth ministry team don’t necessarily mean the timing is bad. Sticky Faith won’t look the same in every church. We think that’s great news for leaders like you.

Sometimes God surprises leaders with the timing of the cohort. We’ve heard story after story about how God has used the cohort journey as a catalyst for their team, youth ministry, or congregation in ways they hadn’t predicted. Nothing excites us more!

As you prayerfully consider if this is the right timing for your team to join the 2014 Sticky Faith Cohort, know that we’re praying for you. We trust that God will bring together the right churches for the right time, and we can’t wait to see what this year holds!

If you have been considering the cohort, email or call Brian Nelson today at bnelson@fuller.edu (626) 584-5546. The deadline is December 15th for the 2015 cohort; don’t miss getting a spot for next year!

Cheering you on,

Kara Powell, Brad Griffin, and the FYI Team

Learn more about the Cohort

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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