Tuesday, November 15, 2011

music for my academic, youth-loving soul

"First, realize (and celebrate) that this curriculum is a mixture of Scripture and social science data, of theology and research.  Theology based in Scripture beats at the heart of this curriculum, but good research conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute and other research centers also pulses throughout." Have I mentioned yet that I love, love, love well-done research? And that I love, love, love when it is applied to the daily practice of youth ministry? And here are some people that are doing it and doing it well! So exciting!

The Fuller Youth Institute has been conducting research for the past few years on the longevity and quality of youth-group attending students after their graduation from high school. This is the research behind the Sticky Faith curriculum and books. The quote above is an introduction to that curriculum designed as a tool to help foster lasting, meaningful, Christ-centered, transformative, community-oriented faith for high school seniors.

I am excited about this particular curriculum for many good reasons.

1. It includes qualitative and quantitative data over a long enough period of time, from a large enough group to be reliable. What does that mean for someone who might use it? It means that it is dependable. The underlying assumptions are based on well-documented, real-life experiences of a large number of young people who have made the transition out of high school youth group to whatever lies beyond. It means that when they say things like "Approximately 40% of youth group seniors significantly struggle with their faith and with finding a church after graduation. Only about 16% of college freshmen felt well prepared by their youth ministries for what they encountered after graduation." You can trust that they know what they are talking about, and you can take their suggestions seriously.

2. The research translates into a practical, user-friendly form. What? That simply can't be. Oh, but my friends, it is. It is. The curriculum samples (which, by the way are FREE) include preparation points, a main idea, step by step instructions, a hand out, and great verbage for starting meaty discussion. As if that weren't enough there are lists of organizations to help students stay plugged in during college, tips on finding a church, and list of questions for students to ask during a search for a local church.

3. The writers of this curriculum love Jesus, love adolescents, and have the utmost respect for those practicing youth ministry. This makes all the difference in the world. Kara Powell, Brad Griffin, and Chap Clark are people who consistently demonstrate a commitment to the gospel, and will not be moved. They care that those who are in church are meeting Christ and being transformed by the Holy Spirit for the rest of their lives. That means that this curriculum is something of substance. They combine that passion with an understanding of the labors of those in youth ministry who want nothing more than to lead students to Christ and often find it very challenging to do so.

Isn't this so great? Do you know what this means? This means that there is someone out there who has put in the work for you to have reliable, usable tools to help foster gospel-centered faith in young people! Ah! If you have, for some reason, made it this far in the post and not followed a link, follow this one: sign up for the free resources from the Fuller Youth Institute.

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