Rooted’s Top Ten of January 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 We Learn When We Teach Kids the Bible by Will Anderson (TGC)

Its enlightening that when Jesuss disciples jockeyed for status, he rebuked them by pointing to the humility of a child (Matt. 18:1–5; Mark 9:33–37). In a unique way, teaching kids topples our self-centered kingdoms, reminding us to yield to Gods. Its a wakeup call that teaching is about his glory, not our own.

Why Middle School Ministry is the Most Important Ministry at Your Church by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

About 50 years ago, the church woke up to the need for student ministry and correctly started building high school youth ministries. Along the way, the church realized there really wasnt anything for middle school studentsthey didnt fit in kids programming, but churches questioned if they were ready for the overnights of high school type programs… Fast forward to todaythe world has changed, and adolescence is starting at a much earlier age.

We Need to Talk About Anxiety by Rachel Dodd (Fuller Youth Institute)
As much as I would have loved to make all my studentsproblems and fears go awayand at times, its tempting for those of us in ministry to think that we canI couldnt. Instead, I learned to focus on sharing the language, the strength, and the restorative relationship that the church can uniquely offer with young people feeling hopeless and lonely[Here are] four hope-filled messages the church needs to tell todays anxious young people.

 Partnering with Parents

4 (Good) Ways Your Hard Kid is Changing You by Christine Gordon (TGC)

Parents can feel as if navigating the challenges of medication, family therapy, meltdowns, school troubles, and relationship woes are taboos that “good Christian families” dont encounter. Such parents can feel helpless, and sometimes hopeless. These issues are weighty and can affect the entire family. They can certainly exhaust and discourage you. What you might not expect the struggles to do, however, is change you. 

My Phoneless 11-Year-Old Was Lost in Manhattan and Survived by Micaéla Birmingham (New York Times)

For me, the incident provided reassurance that my kid was actually quite safe without a smartphone. Not only was her face not glued to a screen as she sat alone in a coffee shop, unaware of her surroundings; she was also alert and observing the people around her. She spoke to an adult, advocated for herself and calmly handled the situation, making good choices.

Youth Culture

Michelle Williams, The Golden Globes, Abortion, and Talking to Your Kids by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent-Youth Understanding)

And so, we must pray. . . for our kids. . . for the celebrities who lead them. . . and for our culture. Talk to your kids about the speech. Get a sense of what your kids believe by asking them for their response to Williamswords. Talk to them about the value of all human life. Talk to them about how the path to human flourishing and freedom travels a narrow way where crosses are carried as we are yoked to the Savior.

Megxit and the Church: How Harry and Meghan Reflect Our Lost Youth by Krish Kandiah (CT Speaking Out)

The church and the royal family have more in common than we might at first imagine. Both are ancient institutions struggling with recent scandals of high-profile members failing to deal adequately with accusations of sexual abuse; accused of being biased against women and non-inclusive of people of color; and now apparently losing the allegiance of a new generation. 

Ministry Skills

6 Questions for Assessing Bible-Study Material by Taylor Turkington (TGC)

Bible studies should lead us to something beyond an emphasis on ourselves or the author of the study. They must lead us through confusion to what God has said in the passage and how it affects us today. 

The Lost Art of Catechesis by Lee Nelson (Crossway)

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, catechesis comes from the Greek word katēcheō, meaning to sound downor to resound.Paul writes: in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct (katēchesō) others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.(1 Cor. 14:19) The church father Cyril of Jerusalem, writing in the late fourth century refers to how the word resounded in those hearing the instruction (called the catechumens) as in an empty space, like a cave, not having a word of its own, but made to resound with the praises and truth of God. This basic instruction we call simply catechesis. Since the Reformation, Christians have produced documents to guide and shape this instruction called catechisms.

Your Phone is Teaching You How to Pray by Lauren Weir (TGC)

The sun sets and rises, and all the people of the earth check their phones. The mesmerizing glow wakes us up, escorts us into the day ahead, supplying us with all we missed while we slept. Our little companion goes with us, every notification calling out to us. We wait for quiet moments to steal a glance at the screen, to slip away from work, the kids, or the boredom, and into the place that promises delight, comfort, or even rest. This relationship affects us more than weve realized. 

Rooteds Two Most-Read of January

Planning a Gospel-Centered Retreat by Skyler Flowers

Retreating from the rhythm of normal life into a concentrated time of fellowship with others around the Word of God is not simply a novelty anymore; it is counter-cultural. It should be our goal when making a schedule to create intentional times together around the Word, as well as intentional times to simply be together. 

Recalibrating Your Ministry Ambition by Greg Meyer

In youth ministry, we are often aiming at the wrong thing for the wrong reason. I often seek my own glory because I desperately desire to be noticed and loved. This impulse does not have solely unholy origins, but it has been corrupted by sin. I crave the love of my Father and yet look for it in the fickle responses of teenagers to my sermons and supposed programming genius. We aim low at idols. For me, this was exposed as I picked up the chicken wing that dark night.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds January Honorable Mention)

The (Good) News for Teenagers: January Edition by Kendal Conner

It is easy to forget the reality that todays teenagers, from middle to high school, have never known a world without war. They were born into a war time and have yet to experience its end. This reality has had a profound effect on the way teenagers respond to news like this. They hear about events like the ones in Iran and can be prone to think its just another day. It is becoming increasingly easy for all of us to pass by events like these without a second thought. However, the gospel actually offers us a better way to engage these ever-increasing moments.

 

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