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Adoptive Youth Ministry

Integrating Emerging Generations into the Family of Faith

series: Youth, Family, and Culture

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Kids desperately need healthy, committed adults who can help them thrive in their faith and become active participants in the life of the church. This requires the efforts of the whole faith community. Chap Clark, one of the leading voices in youth ministry today, brings together twenty-four experts from a variety of denominations and traditions to offer a comprehensive introduction to adoptive youth ministry, a theologically driven, academically grounded, and practical youth ministry model. The book shows readers how to integrate emerging generations into the family of faith, helping young adults become active participants in God's redemptive community.

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Introduction: Adoption: Reenvisioning Youth Ministry and the Family of God Chap Clark
Part 1: The Context of Adoptive Youth Ministry
1. The Strategy of Adoptive Youth Ministry Chap Clark
2. Understanding the Changing Adolescent Steven Bonner
3. Welcoming Wounded and Broken Adolescents into the Family of God Marv Penner
4. Technology and Adoptive Youth Ministry Bradley Howell
5. Screen Time: A Window into Teens' Dreams Craig Detweiler
Part 2: The Call of Adoptive Youth Ministry
6. Reflective Youth Ministry: Youth Ministry as Critical, Ongoing, Communal Reflection Almeda M. Wright
7. Thinking (Practical) Theology Michael McEntyre
8. Youth Ministry, Adoption, and Culture Walt Mueller
9. Thinking Ecclesiologically: Teenagers Becoming Part of the Church Mark Cannister
10. Thinking Critically about Families and Youth Ministry Allen Jackson
11. Thinking Globally: An Asian American Case Study Approach David Jia Hwa Doong and Jinna Sil Lo Jin
12. Thinking Long Term Cheryl A. Crawford
Part 3: The Practice of Adoptive Youth Ministry
13. Adoption Extended: Creating a Welcoming Space Pamela Erwin
14. Spiritual Formation: It's a Matter of Time Tony Jones
15. Can I Ask That? Imagining a Church Big Enough for Teenagers' Hard Questions Kara Powell and Brad Griffin
16. A Call to Adoptive Ministry: Middle School Distinctives Heather Flies
17. No Church in the Wild: Urban and Multiethnic Contexts as the New Frontier of Youth Ministry Daniel White Hodge
18. Adoptive Youth Ministry: A Latin American Perspective Howard Andruejol
Part 4: The Skills for Adoptive Youth Ministry
19. Adoptive Leadership Bill MacPhee
20. The Communication of Adoption: Hearing and Making Known Duffy Robbins
21. Teaching for Adoptive Ministry Jay Sedwick
22. Rethinking Church Strategies and Structures Steven Argue
23. A Call to Adoption: Integration of Youth Ministry to the Church April L. Diaz


"Chap Clark has brought together many of youth ministry's finest thinkers to create this incredible book. Each perspective reflects a unique and important grasp on the ever-changing world of youth ministry. Chap is this generation's youth ministry professor, and his insight is deeply appreciated and respected. I will tell everyone I know in youth ministry to read this book."

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

"For those of us committed to ministry with young people, the task is more complicated than ever before. We need to move into the lives of young people in ways that are more biblically shaped, more sociologically aware, and more practically effective. Chap Clark has done us a great favor by providing insights from a wide range of thoughtful and mature leaders who have given decades to youth ministry. Ponder the insights and let them shape your life as you offer yourself to young people in Jesus's name."

Ken Knipp, vice president of training, Young Life

"It is not very often that a new framework for understanding youth ministry comes along. Chap Clark has given us a new way to understand, evaluate, and facilitate youth ministry. Adoptive Youth Ministry is a wonderfully original contribution to the academy and student ministry praxis. Those of us in youth ministry and those of us teaching youth ministry will long be grateful for this new paradigm."

Len Kageler, professor of youth and family studies, Nyack College

"Chap Clark and his colleagues change the adoption paradigm by using the term adoptive, shifting from top down to peer to peer, from organizational to organic, and from perceived efficiency to heartfelt authenticity. Adoptive Youth Ministry will change the character and culture of your student ministry."

Ron Hunter, director and cofounder, D6 Conference; author of The DNA of D6: Building Blocks of Generational Discipleship

"Chap Clark has brought together today's brightest youth ministry minds to compile the definitive guide for the theory and practice of reaching teenagers."

Jim Candy, youth ministry veteran, author, and church planter

"In Adoptive Youth Ministry some of the finest thinkers and writers in youth and family ministries explore a timely and penetrating metaphor for ministry in today's world. That metaphor is adoption, and it begs consideration of a strong commitment to faltering families, churches, and communities in our society. Adoptive Youth Ministry summarizes much of recent research, articles, and books. It can hardly be neglected by anyone wanting to be informed about the current state of, and challenges facing, youth ministry."

Dean Borgman, founder and director, Center for Youth Studies; author of Foundations for Youth Ministry

"Youth ministry is at a critical turning point. It's time for pastors, youth leaders, and youth ministry professors to engage in authentic dialogue regarding how to help teenagers embrace Jesus's message and mission at the deepest core of their beings. Chap Clark's Adoptive Youth Ministry will stimulate the kinds of discussions that will form and forge the nature of youth ministry for decades to come."

Greg Stier, author of Gospelize Your Youth Ministry; speaker; founder and CEO, Dare 2 Share

"Popular youth ministry models of even a few years ago have quickly become outdated. Chap Clark's adoption youth ministry paradigm offers a reenvisioned lens through which to see youth ministry--a radically welcoming and inclusive spiritual kinship with teens linked together through a solidarity of love, grace, and mercy. The breadth of Adoptive Youth Ministry thoughtfully and honestly engages this paradigm in dialogue with the social sciences, theology, and youth ministry, addressing trends that show what we in the academy and in the field already know--that teens are not attending church and are not believing and embracing 'traditional' faith. With the acceleration of technology, globalization, and instantaneous connections, the field of youth ministry must ever adapt to remain effective, relevant, and authentic. Adoptive Youth Ministry attempts to address these issues and move the conversation forward by answering the question, now what?"

Fernando Arzola Jr., dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Nyack College; author of Toward a Prophetic Youth Ministry

"This is not just a book. It's a youth worker's toolkit essential for building a deeper and more effective youth ministry."

Megan Hutchinson, adult ministries pastor, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, California

"Adoptive Youth Ministry is essential reading for anyone working in Christian education. In a single volume it provides a compilation of engaging research that spans the psychosocial nuances necessary to understand both human development and spiritual formation. The standard processes for integrating adolescents in many faith communities have unfortunately proven dysfunctional. Now, more than ever, is the time for a change, and Adoptive Youth Ministry provides the necessary metaphor for conceptualizing this change."

Chris King, president, Dallas Christian School

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


"Clark writes and edits in this book alongside some great voices in youth ministry to speak about adoptive youth ministry: fully welcoming students into the family of faith."

Russell St. Bernard,

Outreach (a recommended resource of the year for 2016)

"Clark enlists over twenty professional youth ministers to provide the content for . . . the chapters. In so doing, we are provided with a myriad of 'field-tested' perspectives from those who have both worked and taught in the field for decades. This multiplicity of perspectives also helps the reader to engage the conversation with a deeper sensitivity for ethnicity, theological background, age, and gender. . . . Finally, by allowing for many voices, Clark mirrors the conversation from which this book has developed and provides the reader with the greatest opportunity to enter into this larger dialogue. . . . In each chapter he gives a brief biography on the author and the reason that author has been chosen for his or her unique voice. By doing this he provides any class with one of the most important tools to education, the ability to interpret the author's words. After that he lays out the key points to look for in the chapter as well as questions that the reader might want to consider. This is incredibly helpful, as it provides the basic structure for how every chapter could be engaged. . . . [This book] should be a part of any youth ministry course [engaging] the discussion of whether purposeful inclusion or developmental segregation is the best model to help youth grow to love God and others for a lifetime."

Jason Lanker,

Christian Education Journal

"This book focuses on strategy and theology to help us plan and implement adoptive youth ministry. . . . There is lots of good stuff packed into one book. . . . Use this book as a reference book. Use any article as a launchpad to consider our youth ministries. Not all will be applicable, but it is still helpful to know what is happening elsewhere. It keeps us grounded not only in our own churches but aware of what's happening elsewhere. This is a good resource to have."

Conrade Yap,

Youth Specialties blog