110. Identity, Belonging, Purpose, with Kara Powell, author of 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager


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Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute at Fuller Seminary, as well as the Chief of Leadership Formation, also at Fuller Seminary. Kara is also the co-author (together with Brad Griffin) of 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager.

While Kara Powell’s book addresses the foundational questions that adolescents wrestle with, it turns out these questions linger throughout our lives.

The three big questions focus on identity, belonging, and purpose, and an understanding of these questions can give us insight both into our own anxieties, hopes, and motivations, as well as the anxieties, hopes, and motivations of those we work with and lead.

  • One of the reasons Kara Powell wrote this book is because a teen said, “I wish the church would stop giving me answers to questions I’m not asking.”
  • This book is an attempt, through research, to understand, what are the questions that young people are asking and how do we help them experience Jesus’ best answers for those questions?
  • In speaking with teenagers, the three big questions had to do with Identity, Belonging, and Purpose:
    • Who am I?
    • Where do I fit?
    • What difference can I make?
  • The process of discipleship is the process of discovering Christ-centered answers to these questions.
  • Kara Powell shares that almost every teenager feels like they are not enough. Jesus, however, says to teenagers, “You are enough.”
  • The teens with whom Kara Powell spoke in her research said they feel like they belong when they feel safe and when they share experiences with others.
  • Teens feel that they can make a difference when they are helping people. But they need to learn that they don’t need to earn God’s approval.
  • According to Kara Powell, these three questions can be really helpful in working with people in our ministries and organizations. When we look a difficult issue as being a matter of identity, belonging, or purpose for someone, that issue can suddenly make sense.
  • Kara Powell shares how understanding these questions have helped her even as a mom.
  • To find out more about Kara Powell and 3 Big Questions that Change Every Teenager, visit www.3bigquestionsbook.com.


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