Space, Not Programs

Cody Ray Charland | Jan 25, 2012

One of the most common questions people ask regarding Sticky Faith is What helps make adolescents faith last into adulthood? When answering this, I usually respond that I want to know this answer too!

Yet, one of my defining qualities (and possibly spiritual gifts) is looking for the inverse question

What makes faith disappear?

In similar fashion to developing Sticky Faith, there is no silver bullet for defeating faith. But within The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry, Kenda Creasy Dean offers something close to it with this answer:

The need to connect what adolescents must do developmentally (achieve an enduring sense of identity) with what Jesus does theologically (accomplishes YHWHs salvation) was chronically overlooked by the church, although not necessarily by adolescents themselves, who acted out the human need for salvation, often implicitly or inappropriately. ((The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry Kenda Creasy Dean & Andrew Root, 65.))

I dont blame the culture of youth ministry for missing this. Yet it seems that students are acting out the need for salvation everywhere but the place where they might find it.

Churches are doing a great job of the first piece Dean points out, of developing identity. Yet this is all for naught without the theological piece of salvation. Identity simply will not stick without purpose.

Perhaps whats needed is space, not programs. Typically at youth group, silence seems like a four-letter word to be avoided, or enacted. This is where programming must confer with theology. Salvation needs to be acted out, or discovered, in the context of the church, with the right people and in the right time.

Otherwise, salvation could implicitly or improperly be found elsewhere.

Cody Ray Charland

Cody Ray Charland is a second year MATM student at Fuller’s Pasadena campus. He holds a BA in Physical Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As Project Assistant with the Fuller Youth Institute, he handles social media, and helps with writing, technology, and research. He was formerly a Young Life leader as well as Youth Pastor at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, NC. Cody enjoys the outdoors, all things Tar Heel, and barbecue.


More from this author

More From Us

Hello, WELCOME TO FYI
Join the community

Sign up for our email today and choose from one of our popular free downloads sent straight to your inbox. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about our sales, offers, and new releases.

Join the community

Sign up for our email today and choose from one of our popular free downloads. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about our sales, offers, and new releases.