The Top 10: April 2018

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Each month Rooted compiles a list of the top ten articles for youth workers from the previous month. Our goal is to provide you with a variety of articles: from longer and more academic type reads, to short and practical ‘how to’ types. While we may not agree with every detail, we are confident that these articles will strengthen you, your team, and the parents in your ministry as you serve teenagers for the sake of the gospel. If there’s an article you think we missed, please share it in the comment section below!

Gospel Centered Ministry

The Gospel Shaped Pastor by Jared C. Wilson (For The Church)

“While every pastor would affirm the gospel’s centrality to their ministry, we still need to remind each other this isn’t just some religious formality. Knowing how Christ’s finished work works in our own lives and ministries is vitally important.”

When You’re Tired of Doing Youth Ministry by Andy Blanks (YouthMinistry360)

“Youth ministry is amazingly rewarding. 15 years in, I keep coming back and have no plans to leave any time soon. But it’s also uniquely exhausting. It’s OK to admit it. What’s not OK is allowing ourselves to grow weary of doing good.”

5 Reasons Teeangers Struggle to Develop Good Spiritual Habits by Andy Blanks (YouthMinistry360)

“We all want to see our students mature in their faith habits. We want them to have a more vibrant prayer life. We want them to be more consistent in spending time with God through Scripture reading. We want to see them embrace a lifestyle of worship. And these are good things to want. But recently, I was thinking about why this can be a struggle. Why is it so difficult for some of our students to grow in their pursuit of spiritual disciples?”

Student Ministry and the Jimmy Fallon Fallacy by Brock Caldwell (Wretched to Redeemed)

“While I think there are some great things we can learn from Jimmy Fallon, I know I have also bought into some false qualifications when I think of him as an ideal youth pastor. My relationships with other youth pastors lead me to believe that I’m not alone in this improper self-evaluation and having these expectations placed on me by parents and church members. If you aren’t the most entertaining, the most comedic, or the most liked, be encouraged and know those things alone don’t disqualify you from being an effective pastor to students and the church.”

Partnering With Parents

More Risks for Young Drivers David R. Smith (Youth Culture Window)

“Drowsy driving is a big problem, and has been for a long time. …With the continual increase in homework assignments, the constant distraction of smartphones past bedtime, and the non-stop activities filling a kid’s free time, drowsy driving is probably only going to get worse unless something changes.”

Can You and Your Kids Answer These Skeptics of Christianity? (Part 1 of 5) by Natasha Crain (Christian Mom Thoughts)

“First, there are a lot of possible ways to effectively respond to any of these skeptics’ quotes! Don’t consider these answers to be the ‘right’ answers. Second, all of these responses are based on the chapter content itself [from her book]. There’s much more that could be said, but I’m only including concepts based on what your kids would learn from reading the chapters.”

Ministry Skills

Youth Ministry and the Bible… Paper? Or Digital? by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

“A review of the research conducted on paper vs. screen since 1992 found that students are able to better comprehend information in print for texts that are more than a page in length. Scrolling disrupts comprehension.”

Five Ways to Rethink Senior Sunday at Your Church by Brad Griffin (Fuller Youth Institute)

“Tragically, our Senior Sunday rituals can mark what one student called ‘the most alone I’ve ever felt in my church.’ Just when we want it to feel like celebration, it feels like rejection. Just when we want to help them say hello to adulthood, it feels like the church is telling students goodbye. We foster more shame than confidence.”

Five Reasons Why the Children’s Minister is the Staff Position in Greatest Demand by Thom Rainer (Lifeway Leadership)

“A healthy children’s ministry usually results in a healthy student ministry. It makes sense. If there is quality teaching and ministry for the children, these children are more likely to move to student ministry better prepared for life and better discipled for God’s work.”

A New Future for Youth Specialties (Youth Specialties blog)

This is big news to be aware of in the world of youth ministry… “The leaders of Orange and Download Youth Ministry (DYM) are excited to announce their partnership in acquiring Youth Specialties from Real Resources.”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read Articles of April

What Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry Means (and what it doesn’t) by Mike McGarry (Rooted)

“The gospel has always been present in everything I do, and it’s never been absent or marginalized, but I realize now it was a stretch to call it central. What I personally learned the hard way is this: not all “gospel-centered” ministries are created equal. Today’s resurgence of gospel-centered ministry is much needed, but it’s also created confusion about what it actually means to be gospel-centered.”

Five Lessons About Justice, Race, and the Gospel from MLK50 in Memphis by Cameron Cole (Rooted)

“I, a white male youth pastor from Birmingham, AL, went to The Gospel Coalition’s conference, MLK50, not really knowing what to expect. I came out of the conference with some life-changing lessons that I will pass on to friends, students, and my own children for years to come.”

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

New to Youth Ministry: Patience with Teenagers by Josh Hussung (Rooted)

“When I read that, it screamed youth ministry to me. Students are young in their faith (the spark), yet we often see a lot of deficiencies (the smoke). Sometimes we see so much of this that it’s easy to believe all we are seeing is their deficiencies. It makes us want to be severe with them. It makes us impatient and harsh. But friends, we are all smoldering wicks.”

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