Home Podcast Kara Powell: Teens Want Faith, Not Church

Kara Powell: Teens Want Faith, Not Church

Fuller Youth Institute

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. 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 With.

Key Questions for Kara Powell

– What are some practical ways the church can help parents “grow with” their children in faith?

– What advice do you have for parents who are concerned about how their children are exploring faith outside the bounds the parent is comfortable with?

Key Quotes from Kara Powell

“If we only think of faith as a noun, we tend to think of it as something that is static, as something that doesn’t change, as something that doesn’t grow and evolve.”

“Some of my favorite questions to ask teenagers are: What do you no longer believe about faith and life that you think I still believe? And what do you now believe about faith and life that you think I don’t believe?”

“If we don’t ‘open a can of worms’ with our kids, that can of worms becomes a much bigger barrel of snakes.”

“When young people have the opportunity to explore and express those questions about God, that’s actually correlated with greater faith maturity…It’s not doubt that’s toxic to faith development; it’s silence that’s toxic to faith development.”

“I have an MDiv; I have a Ph.D. in practical theology; I’ve gone to 26 grades of school. No lie: My 12-year-old can stump me with her questions about God. Part of me takes comfort in that because if I could understand and explain everything about God then God wouldn’t be God. God would just be some kind of cool guy.”

“We need a new parenting posture that helps us grow together [with our kids]. The definition of ‘growing with’ is a mutual journey of intentional growth, for ourselves and our kids, that trusts God to transform all of us.”

“Much of the leadership of children’s and youth and young adult ministry is led by people who have never parented the age group that they’re overseeing.”

“What we’re seeing creative, innovative churches do is take advantage of when families are transitioning as a time when families are particularly interested in training.”

“The two things that often draw young people back are relationships and suffering.”

“One thing I ask myself often as a parent is ‘How can I be a wall of unconditional support?’”

“A lot of what parents think is a young person turning from faith is actually a young person turning from forms of church that make sense to the parent, and the young person figuring out a version of following Jesus that makes sense to them.”

“Young people are much more likely to distance themselves from the institutional church than they’re actually walking away from faith. So take heart, parents. Just because they’re not involved in church like you are, that doesn’t mean that they have turned their back on a relationship with Jesus.”

Mentioned in the Show:

Growing With
Fuller Youth Institute
Quiz on GrowingWithBook.com
Kara Powell on Twitter, Insta, Facebook.

Kara Powell on ChurchLeaders:

The #1 Reason Youth Leave the Church—And How to Reverse the Trend

Other Ways to Listen to this Podcast:

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► Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3NOo1CepdPQog17rmL7DuT

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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye