Rooted Ministry’s Top 10: February 2016

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Last month, Rooted introduced our new initiative: “The Top 10.” We’ve scoured youth ministry blogs and news sites to find the most helpful articles from February that will strengthen and encourage your ministry to students. Most, but not all, of these articles come from a Christian perspective and we believe there are nuggets of wisdom to glean from each of them. If you know of an article you think we’ve missed this month, please link it in the comment section below! 

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 for February 2016, arranged only by subject! 

Gospel Centered Ministry

3 Reasons You Should Give the Gospel in Every Sermon, by Greg Stier (Dare2Share) 

“Giving the Gospel in every sermon may seem like a no-brainer to some preachers and a ‘Whaaaaat?’ to others but I am convinced it’s beyond crucial.”

Helping Your Students See the Difference in Being “Good” and Being Christlike, by Andy Blanks (YM360)

“Being ‘good,’ or moral, is a basic tenet of Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Sikhism. Being ‘good’ is espoused as virtuous by secularists and atheists. Acting ‘good’ is an aspect of Christianity. But being Christ-like is the singular, unique call of Christianity.”

Partnering With Parents

Raising Courageous Kids, by David E. Prince (ERLC)

“To live as if nothing is more important than personal safety is to live an empty, selfish, and ultimately dissatisfying life. That kind of entitlement mentality only leads to self-referential pride and discontentment. …We often complain about the selfish culture, while at the same time teaching our children that nothing is more important than them and their safety.”

How Parents and Teachers Can Nurture the “Quiet Power” of Introverts, by Elissa Nadworthy (NPR)

“Introverts often are really amazing, talented, gifted, loving children, and they feel like there’s something wrong with them….  And our mission is to make it so that the next generation of kids does not grow up feeling that way.”

Youth Culture

American Girls: How Social Media is Disrupting the Lives of Teenagers, by Nancy Jo Sales (Time)

“But while we’re consumed by the tangible dangers of messaging services like Kik, Yik Yak, After School and other anonymous apps, we may be missing a different influence: our own behavior. Kids today are often accused of being narcissistic, but they may be learning their exhibitionist ways from their parents. Accompanying the boom in selfie culture is a rise in competitive spirit, as well as a disturbing trend of sexualization. Likes, hearts, swipes—­validation is only a tap away. And one of the easiest ways to get that validation is by looking hot. Sex sells, whether you’re 13 or 35.”

The Unspeakable Pain, Hope, Failures, and Victories of Youth Ministry, by Theresa Mazza (YouthMinistry.com) 

“Youth worker, you are part of the most amazing and powerful bond humans can share: the bond that comes from being woven into the family of God. This is youth ministry. We love those whom God places in our lives through unfathomable hurt and pain, victories, and failures…now and 10 years from now!”

4 Horrible Lessons We’ve Taught Generation Z, by Jon D. Forrest (Steal My Youth Ministry Stuff)

“There are at least 4 things that we have taught this generation that will curse them until the year 2100 if we don’t fix it now. (Think about that. With the pace of medical advancements, a kid born in 2010 has a really good shot at being alive in 2100 cruising around in his floaty car.)”

Ministry Skills

Double Vision: Making Sure Your Youth Ministry Direction Lines Up with the Church (two-part series), by Justin Knowles (DYM) 

“It’s natural, even essential, for you as the leader to have a vision for the students entrusted to your care. But the silo mentality has been the downfall of many youth ministries. It works like this: the youth ministry is disconnected, away from the ‘normal’ congregation and pretty much the youth pastor is left to do his or her own thing. It is an island, a church within a church, and as long as the church van is clean everyone is happy. …But is it really a happy arrangement?” 

Why We Quit Doing Big Events and You Should Too, by Kurt Johnston (YouthMinistry.com) 

“I’m not talking about activities that build community and provide a sense of fun and belonging. I’m not talking about a group trip to the local fun center or the occasional lazar tag outing. I’m talking about the “big” events…the ones that you hope will draw dozens, hundreds or thousands of students. You know the ones I’m talking about; because you have done them yourself or you feel guilty that you haven’t because you’re convinced you should.  I’ve done them, and I’ve done them very, very well.  Or so I thought.”

Overcoming Immaturity in Youth Ministry, by Adam McLane (The Youth Cartel)

“Lots of times you don’t even realize you are immature. You think you are doing the right thing when, in fact, you are doing the wrong things and no one is telling you. I’ve fallen victim to my own immaturity a number of times, losing the war to win a battle.”

The Two Most-Read Articles of February on the Rooted Blog:

Why Teens Don’t Talk to Their Parents, by Kristen Hatton (Rooted)

“If we want our kids to talk to us when they are teenagers, we have to start the conversations when they are young. Apart from God’s grace, waiting until they are sixteen to try to get into their head and heart is too late. By that time, their peer influence has already become greater than yours.”

Handle with Care: the ‘Extra Grace Required’ Student, by Debbie Verdell (Rooted)

“Our students are in a complex season of life. They try on various identities; they want to define themselves. Let’s remember that. Let’s remember those often grueling years of adolescence and uncertainty. I know I personally prefer age 45 over 14 any day.”

In Case You Missed it (Rooted’s February Honorable Mention):

Civility and the Heart of Apologetics, by Kris Fernhout (Rooted)

“Brock would sometimes push a bit harder and say, ‘Yeah, I know, but what does the Bible say about the fact that I’m gay?’ He had a hard time adjusting to the fact that when he asked these questions, I first and foremost responded with the gospel: with love. I answered with patience and grace. Or I tried to. Honestly, I didn’t always have patience for the game he was trying to play.”

To learn more about gospel centered youth ministry, check out more articles and podcasts from Rooted’s youth ministry blog.

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