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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Sticky Faith Service Guide" (Kara Powell and Brad M. Griffin)

TITLE: Sticky Faith Service Guide: Moving Students from Mission Trips to Missional Living
AUTHOR: Kara Powell and Brad M. Griffin
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, (240 pages).

You've been to a developing country. You've participated in some building project; outreach programs; and lived with people from another culture. You've also learned a lot about cross-cultural missions and how to share the gospel in a different context. You've ministered to the mrginalized or the poor. You've contributed both money and time to a worthy cause. After the mountain high experience, you return to your home country. What next? Will your mission end after the mission trip? According to a missiology research journal published in 2013, over one-third of US congregations had sponsored 1.6 million churchgoers overseas. With such huge outlay of expenses, yet there is a troubling lack of 'career missionaries.' Materialism concerns continue to remain high. Most worrying, many mission-trippers never really go beyond what they had done at their mission trips. In other words, the mission enthusiasm doesn't seem to stick.

Authors Kara Powell and Brad Griffin have been promoting the need for 'sticky faith.' They are not interested in people going just for a mission trip. They desire to find out how best to help such people go beyond the trip to become missional people everywhere they go. Following Powell's powerful book entitled, "Sticky Faith," which aims to help young people maintain a passion for God, and to build lasting faith, this book uses the same concepts and apply them to short-term mission trippers. Beginning with an assumption that people always wanted to do more, Powell and Griffin shares their model of framing the needs; experiencing and reflecting on what has been done; debriefing; and steps toward ongoing transformation. Part One of the book describes the initial steps of preparing for life after the mission highlight. With point by point description of what needs to be done, how to do it, and ideas to sustain the efforts, we realize that the task of sticky faith is not restricted to just the youths. It includes partnering with parents, designing family support, working with the Church, and having a wide intergenerational involvement. Some of the features include:
  • Understanding one's gifts
  • Writing a personal journal
  • Prayer and Prayer Partners
  • Maximizing support channels
  • Support and Safety Considerations
  • How to share and Reflect on the Experience
  • Handouts for various groups
  • Questions to Ask At Various Points
  • Activity Sheets
  • And many more....
Part Two brings us back to the BEFORE scenario, to learn about the need to pray for one another, the reasons for going on the mission trip, learning to work and live together as a team, culture awareness, and getting a sense of the need on the ground. There is a strong emphasis on our relationship with God and how this is played out in our relationships with one another as well as the people we minister with. What is most helpful is the way the authors help us cultivate sensitivity and respect for the foreign culture. The questions listed will challenge us to consider our inner attitudes toward the mission trip. Part Three is written specifically for participants to work on during the actual trip. For once or twice a day, doing the exercises will help us to pay attention to the insights learned during the mission. The daily debrief questions enable us to capture the prevailing emotions of the day. This is important. It is like doing documentation of the heart and soul. There is no better time than the end of the day itself, like journaling our soul. Part Four and Five are exercises that we can work on after the trip. In Part Four, there is a chance to summarize the overall impressions, the highlights, and how to answer the popular question: "How was your trip?" This is a simple but often overlooked task. Far too often, people would answer with a "Great!" or "I had a great time" kind of a generalist phrase. If one does the homework of preparing the most significant things learned, we would have a better response to those who ask, especially those who had sponsored or contributed to our trip. The main value is Part Five which is about ongoing transformation. We've had fun. We've made friends. We've even increased our faith in some way. What about the future? What about the things that make our faith stick? What about empowering others to do the same, or even better? These things are considered in this final part.

So What?
This book is written with action in mind. It is not simply a book to read on a couch but to be used as planning material for what needs to be done, when it has to be done, and how it can be done. It reminds me of the SMART paradigm that is often taught at leadership seminars. It contains Specific instructions about activities that need to be done. They are clear and the authors even provided a separate journal handbook to do just that.

It is also Measurable in the way the questions are worded. By listing out the various parts of the mission equation from supporters to crafting the actual trip, and the need to consider the cultural uniqueness and local customs, the guide puts into black and white what needs to be done and how to make our trip more meaningful.

It is Achievable as the challenges are incremental rather than some quantum leap into uncertainty. Taking gradual steps, there is a bigger chance of success.

The part about Relevant is the strongest point in the book. Based on the book "Sticky Faith," this book is essential the workbook for mission trippers to consider how to move from the actual trip to living out their mission beyond the trip.

It is Time-Bound as the book covers all phases of the mission trip. There is the before, during, after, and beyond. The last phase is a bit more open as transformation time cannot be predetermined by us. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.

All in all, I believe this book is a valuable resource for all mission past, present, and future.

Resources: E-Journal

Rating: 4.75 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Zondervan Academic and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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