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Our Most Popular Interview: Kara Powell and the #1 Reason Youth Leave the Church

Kara Powell

Note from the Editors:

At 33,000+ downloads (and counting), Kara Powell’s revelatory interview struck a chord with concerned church leaders. We are re-airing the interview, originally published in 2015, because the research and subsequent advice Kara shares for church leaders seeking to reverse the trend of youth leaving the church is just as relevant now as it was then.

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Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. As a youth ministry veteran of over 20 years, she serves as an Advisor to Youth Specialties. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books including
Sticky Faith and Growing Young. Dr. Kara Powell uses findings from research on youth to help leaders address and reverse the trend of youth leaving the church.

Key Questions:

What has changed the most in youth ministry over the last decade?

What’s the #1 Reason this generation walks away from their faith?

What is needed to bridge that gap between the youth and the church?

How should the church approach doubt in ministering to students?

Key Quotes:

“Of all the youth group participation variables we’ve seen, being involved in intergenerational worship and relationship was one of the variables most highly coordinated to young people’s faith.”

“Almost half of all young people drift away from God and the church after they graduate.”

“Our vision is that churches and youth ministries would be the first place where young people feel like they can go with their tough questions.”

“What I wouldn’t want to see is kids saying ‘It’s on the news, they talk about it at school, I’m hearing about it on Twitter and Snapchat, but we’re not talking about it at church.’ That dichotomy is really dangerous and communicates a not-so-subtle message that the church and my faith is out of touch with the world.”

“On purpose, raise tough questions about what’s happening in our world.”

“I would rather have kids wonder their questions aloud in the context of a faith community than stifle them or wonder them with other friends who don’t share our faith.”

“It’s not doubt that is toxic, but unexpressed or unexplored doubt that is toxic.”

Mentioned in the Show:

Fuller Youth Institute

Fuller Theological Seminary

Sticky Faith

Can I Ask That?

The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman