Dr. Jimmy Gentry, senior pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Carrollton, said he likes to think of “sticky faith” as Velcro, the fabric fastener using small hooks and loops.
“We try to do everything in the church to encourage faith that is sticky as possible, to help parents pass the faith down to their children and on down the line,” Gentry said. “When they have sticky faith, it helps move them from selfishness to selflessness.”
To further this goal, Tabernacle is holding a “Sticky Faith” family enrichment conference Feb. 4 in the church family life center. The featured speaker is Dr. Diana Garland, dean of the School of Social Work at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, where she has served on the faculty since 1997.
The conference registration fee is $15 per adult, which includes the cost of lunch. Children can attend free and there is no charge for childcare.
Reservations are required and the deadline to sign up is Feb. 1. Registration can be made by calling the church office at 770-832-7063 or online on the church’s website, www.tabernacle.org.
The conference schedule will include: 8:30-8:50 a.m., coffee and doughnuts; 9-10:50 a.m., Session 1; 10:15-10:30 a.m., break; 10:30-11:45 a.m., Session 2; noon to 1 p.m., family lunch in gym and adjourn.
Garland’s books will be available for purchase at the conference.
Rev. Charles Cox, Tabernacle associate pastor, said Garland will talk about ways parents can help their children develop a faith that will grow with them into adulthood and then pass it on to their children.
“She will share her research about how families, in whatever stage of life, can develop ‘sticky faith,’ faith that keeps families ‘stuck’ to church and to one another throughout life, even when doubts and life crises challenge them to their foundations,” Cox said.
Garland is the inaugural dean of Social Work at Baylor. She previously served as a social work professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, where she was on the faculty for 17 years. She was also dean of the Carver School of Church Social Work and director of the Center for Family Ministries. Prior to teaching, she was administrative director of a pastoral counseling center.
Garland received her B.A., M.S.S.W. and Ph.D. degrees in social work from University of Louisville.
She is author, co-author or editor of 18 books, some co-written with her husband of 41 years, Dr. David Garland, dean of the George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor.
Her newest book, “Inside Out Families: Living the Faith Together,” is the result of a research project identifying community service as the most significant contributor to a growing faith among children, adults and families.
Her book, “Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide,” was the winner of the Book of the Year award of the Academy of Parish Clergy at Princeton Seminary.
She and her husband co-wrote, “Flawed Families of the Bible: How God’s Grace Works Through Imperfect Relationships.”
Her family life courses, “Parenting by Grace” and “Covenant Marriage,” have sold more than a million copies.
Garland has published more than 100 professional journal articles and book chapters. She has raised more than $7 million in research and program grants since joining Baylor from organizations such as Lilly Endowment, Pew Charitable Trusts, Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
She is best known for her leadership with congregations and religious organizations in family and community ministry and for her research on the faith life of families.
The Garlands have two grown and married children. Their daughter, Sarah, a journalist, and her husband, Matthew, is an author. Their son, John, is a Mennonite pastor and a middle school teacher. His wife, Abby, is a high school history teacher.
The Garlands have a granddaughter, Aurora Grace.
“There is no perfect family, but we, in the church, try to do everything we can to have faith as ‘sticky’ as possible,” Gentry said Thursday. “We hope to pass this faith on to our children. We hope this conference will help our folks know how to transfer a ‘sticky’ faith to their kids and grandkids so they can have a vibrant faith.”
Tabernacle Baptist Church began with 24 members as Central Baptist Church on Tanner Street in 1899. It moved to the corner of Bradley and West Center streets in 1914 and changed its name to Tabernacle. Several additions to the building were added through the years as the church membership grew. It moved to its present location, Tabernacle Drive at Georgia Highway 166 Bypass, in 1989. Tabernacle now has more than 2,600 members.