Rooted’s Top Ten of July 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

John Owens Ministry to Young Christians by Crawford Gribben (Crossway)

Owen understood that conversion was crucial. He knew the danger of merely speculative doctrinal knowledge. After all, he had grown up in a Christian home in which he had been instructed in the faith, and he had even studied theology at university before he came to a saving knowledge of Christ. He understood that anyone could become a theologian and that qualifications in the subject were no guarantee that theological students had been born again.

The Long Obedience of Racial Justice by Walter Kim (Christianity Today)

Humanitys lamentable history presents opportunities for the gospel and responsibilities for the church. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit gave birth to a church that proclaimed the gospel in many languages (Acts 2:112). God created a new humanity from many peoples united in Christ. 

Partnering with Parents

Families Keep Going, In Pandemic and Health by Rachel Anderson (Christianity Today)
In reality, God designed and entrusted families with the care of their members, in sickness and in health. Families honor the sacredness of life in all of its vulnerability and precarity (Ps. 68:6). Yes, there is brokenness in family life. But God also equips many families with resilience, adaptability, and love for just such a time as this.

It Takes a Village to Help Single Parents by Anna Meade Harris (TGC)
Roughly 23 percent of American children are being raised in single-parent families. Thats a lot of vulnerable kids and parents. The single parents in your church, neighborhood, and workplace need help, and it will bless you to give it: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27). 

Youth Culture

What Happens If You Stop Being Bored? by Justin Poythress (Reformation 21)

Despite a rising mountain of evidence decrying the addictive, dopamine-generating, narcissism-fostering, depression-incubating effects of cell phones and social media, we dont appear to be slowing down anytime soon. And why should we? Who among us would ever want to go back to the dark ages of sitting in an empty room, waiting for your friend or family member to return from the bathroom, and having to just sit there for two or three minutes… waiting?

folkloreReview: Taylor Swifts Quarantine Storybook (Axis)

Even though the idea of a big surprise album can sound exciting and new, its still a way for Taylor Swift to push her prominence in the music industry and make money while things like touring are still not an option. Though its a musically new and exciting direction for Swift, there is still questionable content about lavish living, romantic dependency, emotional turmoil, and affairs. Take time to listen to the album, then use these questions to have a conversation about it with your teen.

Apologetics

The Evangelistic Power of Listening and Asking by Ginger Blomberg (TGC)

For Christians, loving well is listening wellfirst to God, then to the people around us, and then speaking Christs story, with love and courage, to a world that needs it. 

How Early Christianity Was Mocked for Welcoming Women by Michael Kruger (Canon Fodder)

Christianity was a cultural pariah during this time period. It was an outsider movement in all sorts of wayslegal, social, religious, and political. Christians were widely despised, viewed with suspicion and scorn, and regarded as a threat to a stable society. And yet, women, in great numbers, decided to join the early Christian movement anyway.

Ministry Skills

Take a Rest, Pastor! You Need It More Than You Think by Ed Stetzer and Laurie Nichols (CT The Exchange)
We’d be hard pressed to find someone today who isn’t in need of rest. Not necessarily the “binge-watch-Netflix-and-tune-out-the-world” rest, but instead the kind that is life-giving and offers us what we need to be the best version of ourselves in these difficult days. (This is not to say there isn’t a place for Netflix, just that I don’t think that’s what Augustine would have been referring to!)

Churches Who Survive the Pandemic Will Do Three Things by Chris Morton (Fresh Expressions)

Research has shown that many Americans now categorize themselves as nones,or those with no religious affiliation. Of those nones, many could actually be considered dones,those individuals who have walked away from both the church institutions and their own sense of identity as a Christian. The pandemic throws fuel on the fire.

Rooteds Two Most-Read of July

The Hard Truth Every Youth Pastor Must Accept About COVID-19 by Cameron Cole

God did not take his eyes off the wheel when he allowed this pandemic to come into your sphere. He remains in control and he remains good. God has plans for your ministry. The format of the plans likely differs from what you experienced back in February and expected back in April. Still, we can take heart that God is making all things new, regardless of the circumstances we encounter (Rev. 21:5).

For the Youth Minister Considering Studying Greek by Ryan Martin
Original language study calls us deeper into the text. It calls us to pay better attention to the text and wrestle more closely with it. It calls us to consider the text in its historical, literary, and theological contexts. Original language study draws us into the scripture that God has given for the guidance and formation of his people, the place where those people, through the Holy Spirit, are confronted with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. This leads us to an interesting question: as a youth pastor at a local church, should you learn Greek and/or Hebrew?

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds July Honorable Mention)

Youth Minister, You Are Not Sufficient (And Thats a Good Thing!) by Matt Ballard

I often let myself believe that the key to fruitful ministry is planning and strategizing, or reading books on leadership, preaching, disciple-making, etc. While all of those are certainly important, communing with the Father and receiving power from on high is of utmost importance and the true key to fruitful ministry. Why in the world would I believe it is possible for me to have a cold and distant heart towards the Chief Shepherd and still be a faithful under-shepherd to the students he has called me to lead?

 

 

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