100th Post – ReImagining the Church: Sticky Faith #3

100th Blog Post ImageThus begins the 100th Post Comment Contest! Without further ado, please join in the conversation about placing our trust and faith in Jesus and how that might lead to a more Sticky Faith for the next generation. Good Luck!

Thus ENDS the 100th Post Comment Contest! Thank you all for your participation. The winner will be drawn at random and announced Monday, November 14th.

Observations from the Sticky Faith Webcast: LINK

I am including this in my reImagining the Church series because I believe that the conversation coming out of the Sticky Faith research is born from the same Spirit that is moving through New Life Christian Fellowship, calling us to reImagine what it means to be the church in light of Jesus.

Observation #3: We must learn to filter every part of life, private, public and otherwise through faith in Jesus.

Seems self-explanatory doesn’t it. Christians should filter life through faith in Jesus. Duh. Next observation. As Chap Clark explained the importance of passing on a real faith in Jesus and what that might look like I realized just how far short so much of what I do in ministry, or in parenting, or in my own life actually passes through this filter.

In what ways would focusing on our faith in Jesus help to pass along a “stickier” faith? How do you see churches missing this mark in their focus?

Clark points out that when we talk about faith in Christ, we can replace faith with the word trust. Our trust language then calls us as Christians to step out and trust that what Jesus said and did can actually shape our lives.

As long as I’ve been talking to people about this Sticky Faith concept, and about the feeling among many that the church needs to change I’ve thought that something central was being ignored. The discussion needed to dig deeper to reach the real heart of  what was going on. Our true faith and trust in Christ and the way that it should impact everything in our lives might well be the heart of it all.

It’s a call to the church to say, “How do your decisions regarding teens show that you trust Jesus when he says that we are supposed to welcome youth and children like we were welcoming him?”

It’s a call to teens to say, “How does your decision about how to relate to your enemy show that you trust Jesus when he says you are love them and pray for them?”

It’s a call to us all to say, “How does your life reflect your trust in Jesus when you answer as he asks, ‘Who do you say that I am?’”

What decisions are you being asked to make that show your trust in Jesus? How does this reshape the way you see your life?

Teens and adults alike are desperately hoping that there is more to life: more than the consumerism, more than the pain and depression, more than an escape clause that gets you out of hell, more than a volunteer program or a self-help class. Jesus is that more! He reshapes reality based on the Kingdom of God and calls us to join him, to trust in him and his way to live. As we offer this to teens we offer them something that is actually life-changing.

It grips them. It doesn’t make light of their pain or their struggles. It doesn’t allow them stay in their sin and live however they want, but it simultaneously reminds them over and over that they are loved by God. The cliché goes that Christianity is not a religion, but it’s a relationship. That doesn’t go far enough! Christianity, what Jesus did in his death and resurrection, is a reshaping of all of reality at the heart of which is a relationship with the one, almighty God. Trusting Jesus is to live into that reality. To say I will base my life on trusting that what Jesus did was enough to alter everything, and therefore I must trust enough to live as though its true. Rather than calling teens to behave, or to read their Bible more, or to volunteer more, our primary filter must be the radical, reality-shaping work of Jesus and how every part of our lives must be found in trusting him.

How might you help a teen filter his/her life through trusting Jesus? Is there a teen in your church who you could build a relationship with and learn alongside of what it means to trust in Jesus for life?


Contest Rules

Remember that comments will be eligible if they are made between 8 a.m. EST on Wednesday, November 9th. Comments will be eligible for the contest until 8 p.m. EST on Friday, November 11th. Here’s how it will work:

  1. In order for a post to be eligible it must pertain to the content of the blog entry (“Firsts”, comments about the fact that you are commenting, and offers for mail-order brides and prescription drugs will be disqualified).
  2. Every unique comment will qualify as an entry. Replies to other people’s comments will be considered a valid entry as well.
  3. After the contest is closed I will use www.random.org to generate a random number based on the total number of valid comments made. The number picked will be the winner!
  4. The winner will be announced Monday, November 14th in that day’s post at 8 a.m.
And what will you win?

The winner of the 100th post comment will win a 5×8 illustration or cartoon of the subject matter of your choice done by me, all I ask is that you keep it PG. I will email the winner to coordinate the details of the piece, and I will post a digital version of the artwork here once its finished. Done on bristol or canvas board in either color or black and white, the piece will be finished in time for Christmas and shipped on my dime.


14 Replies to “100th Post – ReImagining the Church: Sticky Faith #3”

  1. Ok, so conversation.. It almost seems impossible to just live in faith or trust, because I think as humans, we want to control too much.. but of course, I think way down deep, we know that just trusting in God we know things work out, whether it’s our plan or his.

    1. How can we relinquish some of that control though? I’m guilty as a control freak even among a human species that likes control, and so it’s difficult for me to know have all my ducks in a row. I think you’ve touched on a real pertinent obstacle in faith.

      Oh and re: your first comment – you’re such a punk.

      1. I think this is something that takes time, and perhaps for some will take much longer. We have to come to the realization that we are not in control. Sooner or later something will happen to remind us of this and we will have no choice but to let go and live in faith that ‘things’ or what ever will work out for the better. But it’s also scary to live that way, I feel like I plan my future almost to the moment, but as I look back on my past, I don’t ever remember planning on the things I’m going through right now.. for instants I never would have though I’d live in South Carolina! But this is where life/God/myself has led me.

      2. I think what you’ve described is pretty typical of my own experience (hello, I live in Indiana). I guess the thing that I’m wrestling with is trying to identify those areas in my life where I can choose to act in faith, rather than waiting for the inevitable moments of chaos that force me to do so. Not only that, but how do we then find ways to teach our kids how to live with a faith in Jesus that shapes their own lives?

  2. This is hard for me. I was a youth group poster child as a teen, and the way faith was taught to young people in my teen years was not healthy. It was full of easy answers, legalism and encouragements to be obnoxious in sharing our faith. So when I think about encouraging teens to look at everything through the lens of Jesus, I cringe a bit. I agree that it is the ideal, but I have only seen it done poorly. Somehow we have to allow teens to experience real life, to make mistakes without fear of rejection, to encounter the world without fear of corruption, to ask questions without fear of rebuke. It needs to look more like conversation and less like indoctrination.

    1. Unfortunately, the understanding of faith that you’ve described is still present in some (if not many) youth ministries today, but that’s why I’m encouraged by resources like the Sticky Faith project. They’re offering a picture of youth ministry and the gospel that goes beyond the easy answers and what not.

      In fact, the things you mentioned are all topics that appear in the Sticky Faith research (and will come up in future posts). Teens who are able to engage with the world around them and who are given space to doubt and ask questions without fear of being ostracized from the church are the kids whose faith finds deeper roots.

  3. Life filtered through faith in CHRIST is living moment to moment for GOD rather than self. This takes more than discipline, it takes love … A real love for the ONE who gives us the greatest love. When we truly love someone, we want to be our best for them.

  4. As Christians, it seems so obvious that we should be filtering life through faith in Jesus, but I have noticed recently how often Jesus doesn’t even get talked about. I’ve observed this both in church settings and other Christian circles. Jesus mainly gets talked about in reference to the cross, maybe with a couple of verses from his teaching or parables being thrown in here and there as part of a lesson. I’ve really appreciated the sermons I’ve listened to from a church with Anabaptist roots that uses what they call a “Jesus hermeneutic.” They tie every Scripture passage and lesson they are teaching back to Jesus. It’s definitely challenging.

    As a side note, I have been struck recently by how much more often I will hear people refer to Jesus as “Christ” rather than “Jesus.” Has anyone else noticed this? I’m not sure what conclusions could be drawn from that observation or if it’s a big deal, but I have found it interesting. Thoughts?

    1. Gwynne, I notice the thing about people referring to Jesus as Christ. I thought I was the only one and I thought I only noticed because of theology professors who made it clear that Christ was more of title than a name.

  5. We are so fortunate to have such an awesome youth minister like Joe at New Life! – Faith is a huge thing and by working with the teens and youth we are able to watch the faith grow of many of the youth. Keep up the good work.

  6. I like the question:

    It’s a call to us all to say, “How does your life reflect your trust in Jesus when you answer as he asks, ‘Who do you say that I am?’”

    Our trust of Jesus or lack thereof is very much formed by our ideas of who Jesus is. Sometimes I think I cling to one aspect of Jesus as if he is caricature rather than a person. It’s easy to reduce a caricature to surface faith, legalism, or other pitfalls that have already been mentioned. For me, I think a sticky faith would have the courage to explore the person of Jesus more holistically.

  7. I’ll start with a side-note: I’m a visual person and I really like the image of “a life filtered through Christ” –I’m definitely getting a picture of relaxing water flowing.

    And speaking of relaxing… “how does your life reflect your trust in Jesus”… when I think of those older Christians that I look up to they have a relaxed/calm air about them. Proof they are truly at peace. Their trust in Jesus shows in their reactions, their mannerism, their whole being. I can easily tense up, get flustered, and plain panic about the big and (far too often the) little things… someday I hope to show my trust in Jesus with my first reaction to any and all situations and people that come my way.

    And to end with another RANDOM side-note … and to show my “true colors” … when you first started this series we were busy with packing and moving and unpacking so I didn’t have time to really read your posts (I’m sorry, but being truthful here) BUT they were coming to my inbox so I’d see them, read the title and occasionally have time to breeze through it… BUT you kept having this word show up and I HAD NOOO IDEA what it was (another reason I’d just skim through.) I figured you were using some deep theological word/idea and frankly I was clueless… ReLmagining. EVERY time I looked at that word I saw “RELM…” 😛 –Janet clued me in eventually.

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