Rooted’s Top Ten of October 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

My Dad Taught Me How to Love the Exvangelical by Russell Moore (Christianity Today)

Lets not mistake hurt for rebellion, trauma for infidelity, or a broken heart for an empty soul. We can only convince people not to give up on the church if we likewise refuse to give up on them.

Statistically, more than half the students whove been part of our churchesyouth ministries are leaving the faith behind. Were overdue to reconsider the way we minister to teenagers. This is a Christian problem for us to address, not merely a youth ministry problem.

Partnering with Parents

This is a hard one to teach our kids, because it’s a hard one to learn ourselves. We’re prone to fall back into trying to prove ourselves by our striving. But we’re also guilty of putting our kids under a covenant of works, subtly (or not so subtly) communicating to them that their value to us is wrapped up in their performance.

For me, this has been one of the hardest things about parenting. If you’d asked me before I had children, I would have told you that, sure, I’d probably have to repeat myself a few times with a 2-year-old, but I would never have imagined that, fifteen years in, I’d still be reminding people to comb their hair.

When former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testified Tuesday about the dangers of Facebook and Instagram for young children and teens, many parents may have started to think about their own rules for social media. Are we doing enough to keep teenagers safe online?

Youth Culture

Evangelizing GenZ by Mike McGarry (Youth Pastor Theologian)

Whereas Millennials widely rejected their childhood faith and identified their religious views as “none,” GenZ is growing up without religious faith in the first place. Gone are the days where those who seek to evangelize GenZ can assume a religious background. With this in mind, Id like to offer the following reflections about bringing the gospel to GenZ.

For Teen Girls, Instagram Is a Cesspool by Lindsay Crouse (NYT)

What exactly are we talking about here? Say youre a 13-year-old girl who is beginning to feel anxious about your appearance, who has followed some diet influencers online. Instagrams algorithm might suggest more extreme dieting accounts with names such as Eternally starved,” “I have to be thinand I want to be perfect.

Ministry Skills

Spiritually resilient people can assess reality, even if its harsh, and weigh it against the reality of Gods presence and provision, continuing to live with hope and joy. In John 16, Jesus was clear about the difficult reality ahead when he spoke to his disciples before his arrest. He was also clear about his victory. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world(v. 33). The King James Version expresses it, Be of good cheer.

Im convinced that Gen Z Christians need church history as much as any generation, perhaps even more. Church history matters, and our generation more than any other will be tempted to dismiss it entirely. Here are four reasons we need it.

When we come together as believers for a Bible study or sermon, we often listen to a short passage of Scripture. While thats meaningful, our typical worship and youth group gatherings usually allocate far more time to hearing from our teachers, pastors, and fellow believers than hearing directly from Gods Word. Maybe in some of our gatherings, we should reverse that ratio. Maybe its time to hear more from Gods Word directly and less from others who comment on Gods Word.

Rooteds Two Most-Read of October

The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School has become an invaluable resource in preparing these short, grace-filled words for our weekly meeting. Currently, we are working chapter by chapter through the book each week, taking one chapter per week to help us prepare for these short words of grace to speak over students as we gather. We do not necessarily share the story from the book that the author offers, but we use their testimony to hear the aches and awkwardness our students face and how the gospel speaks to them.

As a teenager, my sheltered faith could not have handled the doubts I have encountered this year. I did not have the right tools to reconcile Gods goodness with the brokenness of the world around me. Although the worlds fallenness is nothing new in the course of human history, it does seem to be more on display than ever. Therefore, it is crucial that youth today are given the wisdom to understand and combat this darkness, no matter how tough or complex those conversations may be.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds September Honorable Mention)

God is like my new gardener hero. When the sin we cannot shake creeps in yet again, when a student still wont open up after years of coffee dates, when we look around and perceive that the world is hopelessly declining, God shows up outside our office window. Turns out, he had been faithfully watering all along, ensuring that nothing under his care perishes. We just had yet to look up and notice him.

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