Rooted’s Top Ten of August 2020

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Each month we compile a Top Ten list for youth workers. This list represents ten articles from various sources that we believe will encourage you in your ministry to students and their families. Some give explicit instruction on gospel-centered ministry, while others are included because there is a message of common grace that is helpful to youth workers. (The opinions presented in these articles do not necessarily reflect the position of Rooted.) If you find an article that could speak to the Rooted community, please share it in the comment section below.

Gospel-Centered Ministry

What Exactly Is Legalism? Its More Complicated Than You Think by Michael Kruger (Cannon Fodder)

Lets begin with the most obvious meaning of legalism. At its core, legalism is when we base our justification on our own law-keeping rather than on the finished work of Christ.  If we depend on our own merits, our own efforts, even our own rituals, to make us acceptable before a holy God, then we have become legalists. In short, legalism is salvation by works.  We will call this salvation-legalism.

COVID-19 And the Power of a Pastors Phone by Trevin Wax (TGC)

We need more than good content in order to be discipled; we need godly Christians. A live-stream service may aid in our discipleship process, but we need real-life, flesh-and-blood, Spirit-filled Christians who have personal and pastoral conversations with us if were going to be more like Jesus.

Partnering with Parents

How to Explain to Your Kids Why Social Justice Warriors Hate Christians So Much by Natasha Crain (Christian Mom Thoughts)

Black Lives Matter is just one of many social justice movements, and these movements often share a hostility to Christianity. If you dont understand the underlying iceberg, these hostile tips that peak out can seem out of place. But when you understand the worldview that SJWs often have in common, its not surprising at all. 

The Back-to-School Supplies Parents Need by Jen Pollock Michel (TGC)

Families face acute anxieties, especially working parents who might again be managing their childrens education from home. At the mercy of the virus and school-district officials, were reminded of how little control we have. As Christians, though, we also hold to real hope: even in trial, God is always up to something good. Here are four invitations for families to embrace in uncertainty.

11 Back to School Prayers by W. David O. Taylor (Christianity Today)
I tried to imagine the sorts of things that parents and kids, teachers, school administrators, and community leaders might be feeling in light of the unpredictable realities that face them this fall. My hope is that, in praying these prayers, they will sense in palpable and deeply personal ways the care-filled love of the Good Shepherd who knows them by name. In the end, the goal is simply to pray as one can and when one can, trusting always that the Spirit prays in and for us when we can no longer find the right words or even the will to pray.

Youth Culture

Cardi B, WAP, and Our Kids…Some Thoughts by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent-Youth Understanding)

Have you listened to the lyrics in “WAP”? Have you watched the video? Have you laid out Cardi Bs map that is serving to direct an entire generation of kids into how to think about and live out matters of identity, personhood, value, and sexuality? If we want to effectively lead our kids into a lifetime of embracing that which is good, true, right, and honorable according to Gods Word, then we must be able to answer the pervasive, attractive, compelling, and powerfully convincing messages coming at them 24/7 through pop culture. . . including this message from Cardi B thats coming through loud-and-clear.

Why Do Teens Love Anime and Manga? (Axis)

Anime characters are often outcasts, struggling to find friends, struggling with being shy, just wanting to fit in. Anime scratched an itch that American TV shows and kids’ cartoons just weren’t addressing. 

Ministry Skills

Confessing Complicity in Systemic Sin by Bonnie Kristian (Christianity Today)

Confession of corporate sin, by contrast, is usually whats meant by current efforts to confess racism. Our sin is communal, attached to a body of people whose individual culpability may vary widely. This isnt Murder on the Orient Express, where we all individually wielded the knife. It more envisions a Zeitgeist or atmosphere of wrongdoing, like how 2 Corinthians 4:4 describes the god of this ageblinding minds to Gods truth. It asks us to think of ourselves as part of a sinning communitya nation (the United States), culture (the West), or institution (the church)and confess accordingly.

COVID-19 Conversations: Kara Powell on Innovative Youth Ministry (Barna Research)

Over the past few months, pastors and parents alike have expressed the struggle they face when it comes to ministering to children and youth in a time of social distancing. For pastors, figuring out how to keep children and teens engaged while doing church from a distance has been a challenge. For parents, trying to find the balance between work, childcare, school and screen time in the midst of a pandemic is often a daily battle. 

How to Lead a Hybrid Youth Ministry by Tim Smith (LeaderTreks)

We don’t know from where students are coming or where they will end up. When they are present with us, we must roll out the red carpet. Not as a bribe or to manipulate them into loving Jesus, but as a true expression of love. Take care in how you receive your online students. Your hospitality tells them more about your heart (and Gods heart) toward them than your words ever could.

Rooteds Two Most-Read of August

Single by Spring: Two Things God Has Taught Me Through Seasons of Singleness by Will Leitner

We can take comfort in Gods sovereignty because He loves us, and He is able to accomplish His purposes (Is. 46:10). We cant screw it up! He works all things for our sanctification, to make us look more like Christ. So even when we might not choose the path of singleness for ourselves, we can be confident that we are in a divinely ordained season of being made to look more and more like Christ.

Stories of Grace: A God Whos Always Good by Marlee Tomlinson
The cry of Habakkuk captures how many of us feel in this season. COVID-19. Social and political unrest. Economic distress. Its almost becoming too much. Not only does life seem to be on pause, but it seems to be unraveling. How long? How long must we pray for healing? How long must we wait for revival? How long must we watch for redemption? 

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds August Honorable Mention)

Letter to a Youth Worker Experiencing Burnout by Kerry Trunfio

In the midst of a pandemic, I am sure much has been asked of you. On top of many other responsibilities, you may also now find yourself the A/V expert at church and the teacher at home. Maybe your feelings of burnout come from conversations and issues completely unrelated to the pandemic. The call to walk alongside teenagers and their families is a beautiful, but difficult task. No matter the reason you feel burnt out in this season, may this letter act as a reminder to the faithfulness and steadfast love of the Lord.

 

 

 

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