Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

Adoptive Church

Creating an Environment Where Emerging Generations Belong

series: Youth, Family, and Culture

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


Teens and emerging adults don't feel at home in the church because they are not fully included in the church body. How can congregations nurture young adults, welcome them as siblings into God's household, and empower them to become fully embedded contributors within and to their faith community?

Integrating the latest research on adolescent faith and young adult ministry for the local church, this book presents a new way of thinking about youth ministry. Chap Clark offers today's youth leaders highly practical principles based on his extensive experience, showing how they can implement a sustainable youth ministry program in their local church. He presents the adoptive youth ministry model as a way to help congregations see youth ministry as a bridge to inclusion, participation, and contribution in the body of Christ. Clark's comprehensive plan for designing and implementing youth ministry shows churches how to intentionally welcome young people and create an environment where they belong.

About the Series
The Youth, Family, and Culture series examines the broad categories involved in studying and caring for the needs of the young and is dedicated to the preparation and vocational strengthening of those who are committed to the spiritual development of adolescents.


Foreword Steven Argue
Welcome to the Adoptive Church
1. Creating an Adoptive Youth Ministry
Part 1: The Goal of an Adoptive Church
2. Adoptive Youth Ministry: From Me to Us
3. Creating Environments Where Faith Families Flourish
4. Making Disciples among Siblings: The Adoptive Process of Christian Formation
5. The Goal of Ministry in an Adoptive Church
Part 2: The Structure of Adoptive Youth Ministry
6. Implementing Adoptive Youth Ministry
7. The Power of Partners
8. Building Your Ministry Team
Part 3: The Fundamental Practices of Adoptive Churches
9. Nurture and the Ministry of Going
10. Beyond Participation: The Power of Empowerment
11. Adoptive Youth Ministry and the Challenge of Change
Appendix: Adoptive Church 101


"I read everything that Chap Clark writes on youth ministry with eager anticipation of being challenged, inspired, and motivated to figure out how to care for students in a deeper way. Adoptive Church, another winner from the mind and heart of Chap Clark, provides that deeper way. I highly recommend it."

Doug Fields, author of Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry; cofounder of

"Chap Clark is one of the leading experts in the world on helping young people and emerging adults be energized with their faith. As a professor, he offers research and content that are second to none. As the senior pastor of one of America's finest churches, he understands how to integrate this research into the practical and life-changing principles needed today in every church. I believe this is an important message for this generation of church leaders."

Jim Burns, president, HomeWord; author of Confident Parenting and Creating an Intimate Marriage

"Reflecting Clark's deepest convictions, Adoptive Church concretely presents the theology and practices of a church that welcomes adolescents as family."

Cheryl Crawford, professor of youth ministry, Azusa Pacific University

"Don't read this book unless you are ready to think seriously about your ministry with young people. Do read this book if you want your young people to become lifelong disciples who take their place in the work and fellowship of God's kingdom. This is wisdom that can benefit us all."

Ken Knipp, vice president of training, Young Life

"Few can argue with the relative failure of the common programmatic youth ministry strategy for passing on faith to the next generation. Acknowledging his own failures, Clark jumps into the middle of the discussion to challenge your thinking about how we have been doing youth ministry for decades. If your passion is to see youth and emerging adults on a successful journey of becoming like Christ, then you need to read Adoptive Church. Clark gently rearranges your categories, helps you view this vital responsibility with fresh insight, and provides practical steps to implement the changes necessary to create an adoptive environment where adolescent faith can grow and become deeply rooted."

Jay Sedwick, professor of educational ministries and leadership department chair, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Clark puts into words and theory what every experienced youth ministry leader knows intuitively! Adoptive Church lays out both a vision and a strategy for fully integrating young people into faith communities. It describes a larger context for youth ministry and provides a new guide for pastoral ministry not only with young people but also with the entire faith community. No longer should we view the young church as a subgroup within our community but a leaven for the community. Along with Clark, we say welcome home, brothers and sisters!"

Bob McCarty, pastoral trainer and consultant in Catholic youth ministry; adjunct faculty, Catholic University of America and University of Dallas

"The phrase 'a must-read for church leaders' is often used to promote a book. Honestly, when I read such words, they come across as presumptuous and leave me questioning the authority of the author. Well, Adoptive Church is a must-read for church leaders desiring to engage today's adolescent community in ministry. It is essential reading for both youth workers and senior church leaders. Clark has been a mentor and friend of mine for many years. His authority to speak into the life of the church comes from a lifetime of study, engagement, and ministry in the trenches. Adoptive Church will challenge, guide, and empower churches serious about ministering to today's adolescent culture."

David Wayne Fraze, special assistant to the president, director of youth ministry, Lubbock Christian University

"It is fitting that Clark publishes Adoptive Church as he transitions into a ministerial role that will permit him to live out the tenets of this book. For many decades Clark has empowered the church to live out its God-given vocation to love young people. His efforts have challenged and empowered generations of youth ministry educators and practitioners. Adoptive Church does not disappoint. Insightful, confessional, and pastoral, Clark's latest work--rooted in years of practical experience, research, and thoughtful analysis--will bless churches for years to come."

Steven Bonner, assistant dean and associate professor of Christian ministry, Lipscomb University

"This beautifully challenging book results from Clark's long experience of reflecting upon, analyzing, and serving the church. In Adoptive Church, Clark offers a metaphor, theology, vision, and trajectory--a practical, intentional way that leads to being a nurturing and empowering household of God. This book invites us to take Jesus at his word, seeing each person in the church as siblings and all outside the church as 'imminent siblings.' Sometimes as Christians we speak words like brother, sister, community, body, fellowship, and family of God, without much thought. And we pigeonhole people by age, gender, language, skill set, and various other sociological categories. But Adoptive Church invites us all to be intentional, thoughtful, and gracefully Christlike, engaging all people together. This is deep ecclesiology. It is a way of being church, a church for which many are longing. Clark helps us step back and examine our theology and our intentions, allowing us to refocus on being church--for youth, for ministers, for everyone."

Fr. Reynold Furrell, Holy Trinity Catholic Church

The Author

  1. Chap Clark

    Chap Clark

    Chap Clark (PhD, University of Denver), one of today's leading voices in youth and young adult ministry, is senior pastor at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, California. He is also president of ParenTeen, works closely with Young...

    Continue reading about Chap Clark


Outreach 2019 Recommended Resource of the Year (Youth and Children)

"Clark does a good job explaining the need for the church to see our interaction with the next generation differently and [offers] steps we can take to 'adopt' our process to include them more fully."

Russell St. Bernard,