The Fabric of Lasting Faith: Steven Garber Interview
It’s no secret: Many students who are serious about their commitment to Christ in high school go off to college and something happens to weaken that commitment. Some students simply walk away from the faith, never to return. Others continue to confess Christ, but aren’t as confident as before. Still others have a great experience in college, which spurs them on to deeper faithfulness. Often, for students who do make the most of college, coming out the other side with a clearer knowledge of where they are in God’s world, there was something about their time in youth ministry that prepared them for the challenges presented in college.
For youth ministry to be successful, students will need to be prepared emotionally, intellectually and spiritually for life after high school. If that is the goal, we need to be thinking critically and creatively about our current ministry practices. Are they effective? Are they preparing students for the future? What are the areas of youth ministry that are being done well? What changes need to be made?
I wrestle with these questions as the Director CPYU’s College Transition Initiative and I have the privilege of speaking to youth groups, parents and college students about these issues on a regular basis. One thing I have learned: I can’t answer these questions on my own. I need to pull others into the conversation as well.
Over the years, Steven Garber has become one of my most important conversation partners. He has worked with young people in different ministry settings for over 30 years. His award winning book, The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving Together Belief and Behavior, has been re-released in an expanded edition. The book helps readers answer this critical question: How do parents, professors, campus ministers and youth pastors help students—during one of the most eventful and intense periods of life—learn to connect what they believe about the world with how they live in it? Currently, he is the director of The Washington Institute, which has as its core conviction that the church and society are renewed as a richer, truer vision of calling is taught and practiced.
I had the opportunity to ask Dr. Garber a few questions concerning the transition from high school to college. His answers are helpful and challenges for those thinking about preparing students for life after high school…
Download the full interview (.pdf) here.