When the team was assembled to examine young adults in the LCMS and their experiences related to the faith nurturing that they received growing as a part of the many ministries of the LCMS, we began, as any good research team would, by digging into related studies that other organizations had already undertaken. One such study that we examined as a team, was the research published by the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) in the book Growing Young.

In their research, FYI was building upon their prior research (Sticky Faith) which had sought to understand why some young people remained a part of the ministry of a local congregation while other young people did not. In the Growing Young phase of their research, FYI sought to discover the key characteristics of congregations who were demographically Growing Young rather than growing old. Through their work with churches across denominations, including congregations that are a part of the LCMS, FYI was able to distill their findings into what they termed 6 Core Commitments. These 6 Core Commitments were recognized by FYI as common commitments held by ministries that were Growing Young.

The 7 Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry which was formulated by LCMS Youth Ministry during the process of conducting the 2017 LCMS Young Adult Research correlates to a certain degree with FYI’s Growing Young 6 Core Commitments. The articles in this series will attempt to explore these correlations and how your congregation might learn from both the 7 Practices and 6 Core Commitments how better engage and retain young people in the life of your church, and more importantly disciples in the Body of Christ throughout their adulthood.



Links to each of these articles is below.

Growing Young’s Keychain Leadership connected to 7 Practices Supportive Adults and Discover a Resilient Identify in Christ

Growing Young’s Empathy Today connected to 7 Practices Warmth, Challenge and Grace and Engaged Parents

Growing Young’s Jesus’ Message connected to 7 Practice’s Engaged Parents, Deeply Understanding Their Baptismal Faith, and Warmth, Challenge and Grace

Growing Young’s Warm Relationships connected to 7 Practices Warmth, Challenge and Grace; Supportive Adults

Growing Young’s Prioritize Everywhere connected to 7 Practices Supportive Adults, Opportunities to Serve & Lead, and Live Out Their Unique Vocation

Growing Young’s Best Neighbors connected to 7 Practices Opportunities to Serve & Lead, Supportive Adults, Discover a Resilient Identity in Christ, and Live Out Their Unique Vocation

Through this series of articles exploring the connection between the 7 Practices of Healthy Youth Ministry and Fuller Youth Institute’s 6 Core Commitments for Growing Young, I hope that you have begun to consider how your ministry to young people might be transformed to help position your church to Grow Young as you retain and gain young people as a part of your ministry. As a trained speaker for both the LCMS Youth Ministry Office and Fuller Youth Institute, I would love nothing more than to support your efforts to better reach and disciple young people for a lifetime of following Christ.

To that end, I am available to come to your district or circuit to present. Presentations can be a part of a regular district conference or can be done at greater depth as a two-day intensive for church workers or church ministry teams. Additionally, for districts or circuits ready to really dig in and make Growing Young together a focus for their ministry, a regional or district cohort of 5-10 churches can provide a yearlong, in-depth guided process in which congregations work alongside one another developing their own contextually relevant plans to Grow Young. For more information contact me at or check out my website (