don't you wish chap clark was your friend?

chap clark

I do.   In fact, it would be pretty cool to call up Chap, grab a coffee and talk about life and ministry.  I would love to pick his brain about all things related to student ministry.  Since this is not my world, I have at least found the next best thing. Orange has put out a new DVD curriculum for youth workers and parents called, Parenting a New Generation: A Tool for Parents and Student Pastors to Understand and Lead Today's Students.  This 3 DVD set is worth its weight in gold.  (And Gold is doing really well right now)

Chap Clark spends 13 sessions unpacking the best of all his research, teaching, books, and trainings and presents it all High Definition.  The teaching is very natural and engaging, and for the most part, the viewer feels like a participant in the cohort style of lecture.  Throughout the 13, half hour sessions, Chap condenses his best teaching on adolescent development, parental responsibility, changing culture, and the role of the community in the faith development of teenagers into a format that is very accessible.

This DVD set is really the highlight reel of all that Chap and his colleagues has worked on during his time at Fuller and the Fuller Youth Institute.   There are 5 main sections that are explored in this curriculum.

Section 1: Widen the Circle

"Chap talks about the importance of inviting other adults into the life of your family - adults committed to your child for no other reason than because they care.

Section 2: Imagine the End

"Chap challenge us to rethink what the goal for our children is as parents and how we can encourage them as they discover their place in God's kingdom."

Section 3: Fight for the Heart

"Chap gives us insight into the developmental changes an adolescent goes through and urges us to parter with our kid as they spend these formative years figuring out their core identity."

Section 4: Create a Rhythm

"Chap gets really practical, unpacking, the importance of natural, organic practices we can engage in with our children that help them relate to God of the universe."

Section 5: Make it Personal

"Chap begins to draw some conclusions from earlier material and prompt us to ask the tough questions for what this new way of parenting will mean for our own families."

Why You Should Drop $129 For This Curriculum:

Over the years, I have taken a seminary class from Chap, heard him speak a dozen times, and read most of his books.  I figure I have spent in the thousands of dollars for the opportunity to have learned what I have learned from Chap.  So for 5-10% of that cost, there is a tool for youth workers and parents to have access to the very best of this information in a format that is really easy to consume.

For youth workers and parents, this information is amazing.  Chap's knowledge and passion are evident and keep the viewer engaged.  The discussion questions make this a tool that can and should be shared with the parents of students in your youth ministry.  And the practical suggestions offer a real way forward to carry out the ideas presented in these DVD's.

One of the reasons I am such a believer in the Orange strategy and curriculum is that everything is designed to be done in partnership between the church and the family.  If we really want our students to have a shot at developing a healthy faith and connection to the church, they must also have a healthy and strong relationship with their parents as they work this all out.

There is plenty of information presented in each session.  Chap reviews the topic and take aways from the session previously, before jumping into the next topic.  While Chap is teaching, there is a power point presentation that highlights the important points and significant quotes.  For being a highly produced curriculum, the total lack of graphics or attempt at making the power point presentation engaging was a little sad.  For the most part, it doesn't matter and the simplicity is actually kind of nice.  But when Chap explains how the task of adolescence and the illustration of a tightrope, the simplicity becomes a liability.

One of the new pieces of information that stood out to me as a parent is about the true desire adolescents have for relationship with their parents.  Chap, rightly, points out, that it is a myth that teenagers want less involvement in their life from their parents.  The truth is they want more interaction, more conversation, more empathy and compassion.  What they want less of is to be treated like babies and given edicts from on high.

As you consider this curriculum, check out some of the preview videos that are available here.

This curriculum gives any adult who loves students a broader understanding of the sociological, theological, and developmental issues that are surrounding adolescents and a map to help us, parents, and specifically students navigate through it.  I highly recommend it and have already passed on my copy to the parents group at our church.

Some day Chap might be my friend.  But until that day, I will take his HD face on my television and soak up all that one of the best practical theologians out there has to say.