January 29, 2015 — by Nate Stratman


Sticky Faith: A Story, A Stat, & A Dream

In my community we happen to have many Olympians, because the Olympic training center (which houses hundreds of athletes) is located just up the road.

Once in a conversation with a swimmer, I asked how he became so good at swimming. His reply was profound and simple.

He said, "I just keep swimming. A lot."

Duh. But wait a second…I wonder if we’ve made Sticky Faith or youth ministry more complicated than it needs to be? There are some key steps to becoming a “stickier” church that must happen over, and over, and over again. 

One of those repeated actions is the simple, profound and holy art of storytelling. The amount of sticky stories you tell will directly correlate to how deep and fast your church leans in to Sticky Faith.

A Story, A Stat, & A Dream

In the newly-released Sticky Faith Launch Kit I had the opportunity to share about the need to go on tour as a storyteller in your church. The idea is to cast vision by arranging times to speak in various classes, small groups, and committees across the church. On these tours, I’ve found it helpful to think about communicating a story, a stat, and a dream. Below is a true example of a story in our church to give you an idea of one way to tell these stories on tour.

The Story:

Danny was a third grader at our church and he heard about our summer camp for elementary aged kids. One Sunday morning, he excitedly went home to ask his mother if he could go. In a voice filled with a bit of remorse, she told her son that the family could not afford for Danny to attend camp. Obviously disappointed, Danny continued to go to church on Sunday mornings. One of those mornings, he found out that an anonymous college student gave money so he could go to camp. Ultimately, Danny had the week of his life where he claimed Jesus Christ as his Lord. This event changed the trajectory of Danny’s life - That was 20 years ago.

Danny is now our Children’s Director who oversees this same camp. His personal life-giving experience has propelled him to a ministry of offering this same thing to all who are interested. Danny is just one of many stories of young kids who have created life-long relationships with caring adults while encountering the love and grace of Jesus Christ at camp.

The Stat:

For the past five years our children’s camps have grown by 20%. Over half of these kids are not connected to our church, or any church. Many of them can only attend if we help them financially. Furthermore, our incredible counselors are 75% high school and college aged students who were once campers themselves. This is both great and difficult. These teenagers and college students need to partner with Christ-centered adults who can pour into them as well. We have a great problem on our hands.

The Dream:


What would it look like for you (an adult in our church) to make this type of impact in a young person’s life? To be honest, if only 12 adults took the risk to financially support a student AND actually go to camp for a week to encourage our younger leaders, the amount of spiritual impact would double.

We would love for you to consider praying about helping a kid have the greatest week of their life while you do the same.
Come join us! When you tell a story like this, people can clearly see both the need and the impact, which often propels them to act. Now it’s your turn to go on a storytelling tour in your church. What will you say?


Nate Stratman

Nate Stratman is the assistant pastor of family ministries at First Pres of Colorado Springs. He just co-authored "Building Your Volunteer Team" with Mark DeVries through IVP and serves as a staff consultant with  Youth Ministry Architects and a coach for Sticky Faith through the Fuller Youth Institute. His wife Kim keeps him straight and his 2 daughters, 2 rabbits and 6 chickens keep him on his toes.

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