Rooted’s Top Ten of December 2020
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.
Want to Read Your Bible Well in 2021? Don’t Do It Alone. by Matt Smethurst (TGC)
God’s design is for pastors and elders to help you better grasp and apply his Word. If you belong to a church where that’s not happening, find a new one.
Should You Talk About Heaven When You Share the Gospel? by Matthias Lohmann (9Marks)
Heaven is the most attractive place we can ever imagine. Heaven is the answer to all our ultimate longings. And, most of all, heaven is where we will see our beautiful Lord Jesus face-to-face. So when you’re evangelizing, how could you neglect to talk about the best part of the Good News?
Advent: A Savior Who Tastes Our Sadness by Emily Zell (Anchored Passion)
Advent is a reminder of the narratives of our tears. Jesus wept, we weep now, and He is coming back to wipe our tears with His hands that once were tiny infant hands clinging to His own mother. The sad things are coming untrue. All will be made new. He is coming soon.
Partnering with Parents
Someone Will Catechize Your Kids in 2021. Don’t Outsource It. by Collin Hansen (TGC)
When you realize your duty to catechize your children, you’ll soon learn the delight of this privilege. The joy doesn’t come in guaranteeing your children will walk in all the ways of the Lord. It comes in knowing you’ve helped to lay a foundation of biblical truth that will support your family’s faith no matter what may come.
Being a spiritual guide for your kids is a daunting task, especially when what we’re encouraging starts over and over again as C.S. Lewis suggests. The truth is, relying on God is an ongoing process that we have to intentionally initiate everyday. When it comes to your teen, ask them if they’re willing to be open about this process with you.
How Teens Use Downtime to Connect, Distract or Reflect by Lisa Damour (New York Times)
When it comes to self-restoration, we all have options — with connection, distraction and reflection being chief among them. Caring for our mental and emotional health matters now even more than usual, so it’s essential for people of all ages to take the breaks that best address the needs of the moment.
The Future of Masculinity by Greg Morse (DesiringGod)
If masculinity has been distorted into a depraved form of dominance in the past, it is now being distorted into a depraved form of irrelevance. Many are tempted to conclude from this that the age of men has passed; he must empower women and rouse his strength only at her beck and call. The future, many sons and daughters of Jane suppose, is feminine.
Why You May Want to Take a Silent Retreat After Christmas by David Mathis (Crossway)
We are humans, not machines. We were made for rhythms of silence and noise, community and solitude. It is unhealthy to always have people around, and unhealthy to rarely want them. God made us for cycles and seasons, for routines and cadences.
The Value of Vision in Leadership by Mike Ayers (For the Church)
The concept of vision in leadership is the subject of a plethora of books and articles. While often misunderstood and misapplied, leader vision is certainly a biblical concept and one that is vital for the godly influence of others.
Reckoning with the Pandemic and Resetting for 2021 by Justin Karl (Radical)
Jesus clearly wants us to love God with all that we are, and while terms like heart, soul, and mind overlap considerably, it may be helpful to use these terms to consider different aspects of the way we love God.
Rooted’s Two Most-Read of December
John’s Advent: The God Who Enters the Story by Ben Birdsong
In Jesus, we can experience truth and grace. Truth in that Jesus doesn’t back down from the depths of the darkness in the world or the darkness in the depths of us all. Grace in that Jesus came to be the perfect One in our place and through Him we can have freedom, forgiveness, and a future. These are gospel truths that we — and our students — need to hear this Christmas.
Mary’s Song: A Call to Magnify Jesus by Rebecca Lankford
Mary’s song, then, shows our students the humility and joy that is born when they magnify not themselves, but the Lord. This kind of humility allows their spirits to rejoice even in the midst of fear, confusion, and shame. During such a strange year, this is undoubtedly the joy we long for our students to experience firsthand.
In Case You Missed It (Rooted’s December Honorable Mention)
The (Good) News for Teenagers: Our Hope Is Not in a Vaccine by Anna Meade Harris
If we over-fondly remember pre-pandemic “normal” as some kind of Eden we’ve been kicked out of, we risk sounding like the Israelites yearning for slavery in Egypt as they faced the privations of the desert.