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Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit Review by Tim Tinkel

A City on a Hill
1-(877) 578-8346
1914 Stanley Gault Pkwy.
Louisville, KY 40223

As full time missionaries working with low income children and families, God has given my wife and I many different jobs to do. Our ministry has taken several twists and turns over the years. This past year God has guided me to do something that I thought I would never do . . . start a Bible study with several teen boys that come mostly from disadvantaged, broken homes. My background has always been working with children – not teens, however, I have grown to love this small group of boys and, through God's guidance they are beginning to grow in His Word.

Most of these boys don't have a stable father figure in the home so teaching them about being a Godly man has been a challenge. When I was approached about reviewing the Manhood Journey Father's Starter Kit produced by City on a Hill, I was super excited. Not only did I see it as something to possibly use with the boy's in the Bible Study, but also with my own three sons.

The Father's Starter Kit priced at $29.99 came neatly packaged in a small box that contained everything needed for the study.

  • Embarking Group Discussion Guide
  • Embarking 1 on 1 Discussion Guide
  • Introductory Video DVD
  • 10 Map Brochures
  • Plus A Free Copy of Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You

This kit comes with everything you need to do a study with a group of boys (recommended ages 8-17) and their fathers or alone with your own son(s) using the first of six Manhood Journey modules, “Embarking”. The other five modules, which are sold separately are:

  • Manhood Myths
  • Working Well
  • Standing Strong
  • Leading Lessons
  • Clean Hearts

The other five modules can be done in any order, but it is recommended that you do Embarking first.

The 77 page Embarking Group Guide is written in a very easy to understand conversational way. The first week lays the groundwork for the rest of the weeks and includes a Meet and Greet Time, a Discussion of the Vision and Purpose of this study, an object lesson and a discussion of the “Five Big Rocks” which are the core of the study, a Closing Prayer, and a Father/Son Homework assignment. Each of the other hour long lessons in this six week study begin with a Welcome, Opening Activities, and two or three Discussion Times along with the Closing Prayer and Father/Son Homework.

The discussion questions are well written and very engaging. Some are directed toward the fathers, some are for the sons and some are for both. All scripture (unless otherwise noted) is from the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible. Along with weekly study instructions there is ample room in the margins for the leader to make notes and there are several pages between each lesson for notes to be written.

The Embarking 1 on 1 Guide is equally well written in an easy to understand manner. It is designed for a father and son to use on there own or to complement the weekly group study. Each of the six weeks begins with a “Word for Dad” section to introduce the week to Dad and then is divided into four sections – Building Our Relationships, Knowing God's Word, Serving Others and Talking With God.

Everything is included in this small 106 page guide for a father to use with his son. Tips for the dad, insightful background explanations of the scriptures used, and even the exact wording for the fathers to use with their sons are there if needed. For the fathers and sons that are also doing the weekly group study there is a Group Session Review that can be done but is not required.

The DVD that is included in the kit has introduction videos for each of the six modules. Each video is less than five minutes long and is not required for the study but does give an excellent overview of that module.

The “Maprochure” is an excellent tool to promote your group study. It contains brief descriptions of the six modules and folds out into a map that a father and son can hang on the wall to keep track of which modules they have done.

Wise Guys: Unlocking Hidden Wisdom from the Men Around You is written more toward adult men and how they need to find Godly counselors and mentors in life to grow. In this 219 page book, Kent Evans, the co-founder of Manhood Journey tackles a serious subject using humor and stories from his past. The book also includes the first week of the Embarking 1 on 1 Discussion Guide.

I was very impressed with this kit. One of the first things that excited me was when I read the introduction in the 1 on 1 Discussion Guide. It explained that this study didn't have to necessarily be for a father and his biological son, but could be used with a boy and a man that takes on the role of “Dad” in that boy's life. That seemed to be me and what God was doing with my teen boy's ministry. I also liked the very easy, almost no preparation aspect of the study and the flexibility of the study. This study is perfect for anyone that is not used to leading a discussion group and is also great for experienced leaders.

The Manhood Journey staff is also excellent to work with. At the beginning of the study I had a couple of questions and they were easy to contact and very helpful. They even gave me some suggestions on how to use this study with the type of boys that I would be doing the study with.

My only concern would be the vast age range that is recommended. I would worry that a teen boy would not want to totally open up with his father or in a group if there is an eight year old present. Some of the questions that are asked are deep. Although there are often alternative questions to ask for younger boys I feel that some of the ideas may still be difficult for some of the younger boys to understand. Having said that, with some adjustment from the leader or father, this study can still be a very valuable tool to use with a younger child.

If I had not been given this to review I would definitely buy this. In this day and age a boy needs guidance more than ever by Godly men. Manhood Journey is perfect for that. Throughout the study you can tell that the author has a heart and passion for raising boys to be all that God wants them to be. I can see this passion being passed on to the boys and to me each week as we progress through the book. I will definitely be looking into the other modules.

-Product review by Tim Tinkel, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016