Kara Powell: ‘Our Kids Don’t Understand the Grace of Jesus Christ’

In a brief video, Kara Powell, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute and co-author of Sticky Faith and Growing Young, offers some best practices for parents who want to help their children build a robust, resilient Christian faith.

“The best research shows that about half of kids from great families and great churches nationwide—about half of those young people drift from God and the church after they graduate,” Powell says. “So our teams try to figure out what can leaders and churches do, and what can families and parents and grandparents do, to instill a faith that lasts.”

One of the problems, she says, is that “all to often, parents aren’t sharing themselves about their own spiritual journey.” They’ll ask about their children’s faith, but they won’t share with their kids what God has been doing in their own lives.

Another spiritual hurdle for kids and teens is that “all too often, kids don’t understand the grace of Jesus Christ,” she says. “They’ve sadly fallen into what Dallas Willard calls the gospel of sin management—a gospel that’s all about behaviors.”

“If you have that kind of behavioral gospel,” she adds, “no wonder young people are running away from that.”

So, what’s the solution? How can the church empower parents to be spiritually transparent and instill in their kids an accurate view of grace and the gospel? Watch the video to learn some helpful, well-researched practices.

This video is presented by FULLER studio, a site offering resources—videos, podcasts, reflections, stories—for all who seek deeply formed spiritual lives. More resources for a deeply formed spiritual life can be found on Fuller.edu/Studio.