Rooted’s Top Ten of August 2021

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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

Youth Ministry’s Transgender Moment by Walt Mueller (CPYU)
To youth workers, parents, and all others I would humbly say this. . . this is an issue that we must study, reckon with, and address. So much hangs in the balance. Our kids need voices that will point them to – not away from – the life-giving freedom that comes with denying self, taking up one’s cross, and following Jesus. We want our kids to live in the redemptive narrative of the Gospel. . . Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. . . a narrative that clearly sets God’s agenda for matters of gender.

College Students: Here Are Some Thoughts On Picking a Good Church by Michael Kruger (Canon Fodder)
Now, there’s lots to be said about how to pick a good church. And top of the list are two core theological concerns: (1) Does this church believe the Gospel—that Jesus is the divine Son of God who died for sinners and rose from the dead?; and (2) Does this church believe the Bible—that it is the inspired word of God and the ultimate standard for all that we believe and do?

Partnering with Parents

Helping Students Pray for Afghanistan (and the persecuted church) by Jason Engle (Youth Pastor Theologian)
I have been reminded of passages like 1 Peter 5:9 that calls us to be sober-minded in order to resist our enemy and to be reminded that we have brothers and sisters throughout the world who share in suffering. Our students need to be mindful of this. Christians in Afghanistan are not just believers “over there.” They are our family. They are our brothers and sisters. And the Scriptures call us to be mindful of their suffering. Even more, we are called to share in their suffering!

Prepare Teens for Challenges to Free Speech by Chloe Folmar (TGC)

It’s possible, even probable, that new laws will stifle religious freedom and speech further in the future. As American culture and campuses grow less tolerant of our beliefs, it’s important for parents to help young Christians prepare to be faithful in the face of censorship and hostility.

Youth Culture

Gen Z Wants to Talk about Faith by Daniel Silliman (Christianity Today)

According to Reviving Evangelism in the Next Generation, produced in partnership with Alpha USA, 82 percent of Christians between the ages of 13 and 18 say that it’s important to them to share their faith. And nearly 80 percent say they have had a conversation about faith with someone at least once in the past year.

Netflix’s ‘Pray Away’ Seethes with Contempt for Christianity by Becket Cook (TGC)

It’s not surprising that Netflix would seize on a false gospel to surreptitiously proffer a hit piece on Christianity in a lopsided tale of woe. Much of the media can hardly resist glomming on to extremes to further an agenda that denigrates Christians. What is surprising is how poorly made this doc is. Not only does it lack a cohesive and compelling narrative, but it attempts to throw any sort of anti-Christian spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

Album Review: Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish (Axis)

Eilish has no problem being blunt in detailing the way she sees the world and feels about her life as a part of it. On the one hand, we should champion her willingness to be open and authentic in the same way Gen Z does, especially when it comes to these big issues that many teens deal with on a daily basis. But, coming from a celebrity as popular as Eilish, being open about them isn’t as helpful without constructive criticism about them.

Ministry Skills 

Why It Matters What We Do With Our Bodies by Sam Allberry (Crossway)

If we make the soul the focus of our spiritual life and downgrade the body, we can argue that the body is spiritually irrelevant. God (we might assume) is only interested in the spiritual side of me; the body is of no concern to him. The mentality might be common in the church today, but it is profoundly unbiblical. We might think it doesn’t matter what we do with our bodies, but the Bible repeatedly and powerfully shows us this is not the case.

How Can Your Church Listen Across Generations by Andy Jung (Fuller Youth Institute)

In our churches, listening well to young people may mean we need to do some rethinking first. Many churchgoing adults have fallen into the trap of believing what the media and our culture have espoused about Millennials and Gen Z.

Book Review: 5 Views on the Future of Youth Ministry by Mike McGarry (Youth Pastor Theologian)

In a time when youth culture has changed considerably over the last decade, it only makes sense to reflect on the future trends we’ll see take root in youth ministry. That’s the subject of 5 Views on the Future of Youth Ministry: Perspectives on What Could or Should be, edited by Mark Oestreicher. Oestreicher, the founder and president of The Youth Cartel, brought together a compelling group of youth ministry leaders to reflect on the future of youth ministry, each bringing their unique voice and perspective to the conversation.

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of August

The Book Every Youth Worker Needs by Connor Coskery

McGarry has given youth workers a gift in his latest book Lead Them To Jesus:A Handbook For Youth Workers. Don’t be misled by the title; this book is not a list of do’s and don’ts for student ministry. McGarry is not interested in giving you quick tips for jumpstarting your youth group’s dead battery. Instead, with each passing chapter he takes you by the hand and welcomes you into the glorious, burdensome privilege it is to disciple students toward lasting faith in Jesus.

Professional Skills Every Youth Minister Needs by Skyler Flowers

If you hope that students will be able to discern false teaching on social media, how do you plan to teach or foster such discernment? If you hope that students will be able to clearly communicate the gospel to their classmates, how do you plan on teaching them and giving them space to practice?  It is one thing to say we just want to teach them the gospel, it is another to plan for how the gospel will be communicated and demonstrated in your ministry. Long-term planning gives legs to the great hopes we may have for our students.

In Case You Missed It (Rooted’s August Honorable Mention)

The Jesus Who Accepts Us by Nnanna Okafor

Acceptance by God through Jesus is the only stable foundation for love that we can receive.

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