The Top 10: June 2016

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We’ve scoured youth ministry blogs and news sites to find the most helpful articles from June that will strengthen and encourage your ministry to students. We believe there are nuggets of wisdom to glean from each of these articles. If you know of an article you think we’ve missed this month, please link it in the comment section below!

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 for June 2016, arranged by category!

Gospel Centered Ministry

Synthetic Fruit by Dave Blanchard (Youth Specialties)

“Present a teenager with a Honeycrisp and they have certain expectations. If that apple turns out to be plastic, we can (rightly) expect some painful disappointment.”

The 4 Traps of Youth Ministry by Greg Stier (Dare2Share)

“What makes these traps especially deceiving is that they aren’t necessarily sinful, they’re just not optimal when it comes to making and multiplying young disciples. Satan would much rather trap our teens in a youth ministry that is typical and traditional than risk them getting involved in one that is actually advancing the gospel deeply into their own souls and widely in the communities in which they live.”

Partnering With Parents

What Youth Leaders Wish Parents Knew by Jordan Standridge (The Cripplegate)

“The youth leaders also have a difficult responsibility; they want to influence students while also respecting parents and their leadership. Sometimes he or she must tell the children to do things or think things that are different than what their parents believe, and this causes great stress and difficulty for the leaders. Here are some things that most youth leaders wished parents knew and believed before ever dropping their children off for youth group.”

Youth Culture

The End of Absolutes: America’s New Moral Code by Barna Research Group

“Three-quarters of Millennials (74%) agree strongly or somewhat with the statement, “Whatever is right for your life or works best for you is the only truth you can know,” compared to only 38 percent of Elders. And Millennials (31%) are three times more likely than Elders (10%) and twice as likely as Boomers (16%) and Gen-Xers (16%) to strongly agree with the statement.”

Social Media and Middle School by Jim Stitzinger (The Southern Blog)

“At this point, our 12 year old twins have no access to social media. They want it in the same way they want to drive the car. It looks like fun but are clueless about what is involved. If you’re in our category, here are our current talking points.”

What the Hook-up Culture Has Done to Women by Anne Maloney (Crisis Magazine)

“All too often, these women come to me in a state of bewilderment. Women have never been more “sexually liberated” than these women are, or so they are told. No more are they shackled by ridiculous bonds like commandments, moral rules, words like “chastity.” They shout: “We’re free!” Yet they whisper: “Why are we so miserable?” It is no coincidence that the top two prescribed drugs at our state university’s health center are anti-depressants and the birth-control pill.”

Ministry Skills

A Mentor’s Biggest Mistake by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

“It’s tempting to guide students down the same faith journey we walked. But it’s better to equip them for their own journey. When we don’t have answers to difficult questions, we tend to default to what we know. We encourage students to do it how we did it, taking them to stops along our own road, walking in our old footprints.”

Side Hugs & Open Doors: Healthy Boundaries with Students by Joel Stepanek (Youth Specialties)

“Boundaries are important, and that awkward side hug has an important place in youth ministry. Youth workers without healthy boundaries put themselves at risk for a whole host of problems that include burnout, misjudged relational boundaries, and even legal trouble. Even worse, if we don’t demonstrate to young people what healthy boundaries with caring adults look like, we increase their risk of falling prey to unsafe adults with evil intentions.”

Rediscovering Grace: Opportunities and Challenges in Asian Youth Ministry by Mike Park (Fuller Youth Institute)

“As the number of Asian American churches continues to grow across the country, it’s important that we’re beginning a discussion about the critical issues for youth ministry in the Asian American context. If we want to better serve a significant number of students, families, and leaders, then it’s a conversation that needs to keep happening in youth ministry and church leadership circles.”

Conflict Management from the Senior Leader Perspective by Powell Grisham (Orange Leaders)

“As a former church staff member and now a lead pastor, I’ve been on both sides of the tough decision equation. I want to share a few things I’ve learned, in hopes of helping you when you find yourself in a situation where you don’t agree with the decision of your senior/lead pastor.”

The Two Most-Read Articles of June on the Rooted Blog

Justification and the Teen Identity Crisis by Kristen Hatton (Rooted)

“Obviously, as her mother, I’m partial. But my daughter is objectively gorgeous, out-going, talented, funny, compassionate, and well-liked. If only reminding her of those qualities changed how she felt about herself. But they didn’t, nor did they offer the reassurance of the secure identity she really needed to know she had.”

A Call to Incarnational Ministry in the Face of Teen Self-Harm by Devan Grayson (Rooted)

“Many students have been self-harming for years, oftentimes choosing to cut in a place where no one can see. There are some who say cutting is merely a cry for attention; however, we would be wise to listen to the students themselves, acknowledging their story and recognizing their struggle as an integral part of that story. So practically, how do we respond?”

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

The Gospel is Power by Seth Stewart (Rooted)

“I think pastors would do well to meditate on the free exchange of sin for Jesus’ righteousness – the gospel – as God’s power.”

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