The Top 10: May 2016

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We’ve scoured youth ministry blogs and news sites to find the most helpful articles from May 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 May 2016, arranged only by subject!

Gospel-Centered Ministry

How to do Relational Discipleship by Frank Newburn (Youth Specialties)

“In the Gospels, we see Jesus modeling this type of ministry with his disciples. He didn’t just choose these men and then let them figure it out themselves—he poured into them for more than three years through his teaching, fellowship, and his sharing of life and ministry. We have the same opportunity with the students in our ministries.”

The #1 Reason Why College Students Leave the Church Could Surprise You by Kara Powell (College and Seminary)

“Of all the youth group participation variables we’ve seen, being involved in intergenerational worship and relationship was one of the variables most highly correlated to young people’s faith.”

Youth Culture

Three Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Call Your Teenager a Tech Addict by Brad Griffin (Fuller Youth Institute)

“…keep in mind that teenagers still typically prefer face-to-face interaction with their friends. They use social media and devices because they can, and often because they feel like they have to, but they’d rather be hanging out in person most of the time.   In other words, most teenagers aren’t addicted to media; they’re obsessed with each other. Just like always.”

Body Image Issues… A Helpful Infographic, by Walt Mueller (CPYU)

“No, it’s not just the girls. Yes, it seems like it used to be. But in recent years, a growing number of boys and men have fallen victim to body image issues and disordered eating. That shouldn’t be at all surprising. We live in a social-media and marketing-saturated world that pounds us all. . . every single minute of every single day. . . with the message that “YOU ARE WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE. . . NOTHING MORE. . . NOTHING LESS.” Add to that the visual barrage that sets the bar above and beyond normalcy and a few things start to happen.”

Partnering with Parents

How To: Ministry to Parents in the Summer by Jeff Pratt (Lifeway Students)

“Summer is an interesting time for moms and dads. School is finally out, students are finding themselves with lots of free time on their hands, and parents are wondering what their kids are going to get into. Summer is also a time when our student ministries are ramping up for some of the largest ministry events that we will do all year. This creates a great opportunity to minister to parents in a unique way that doesn’t present itself the rest of the year. Here are three ways that you can minister to your parents during the summer…”

Fathers (and Mothers), Do Not Provoke Your Children! by Tim Challies (Challies.com)

“There are times when we so provoke our children, we so exasperate them, that anger is the fitting response. It may even be the right response if that anger is expressed in righteous ways. There may be times when your children’s anger toward you is more righteous than your actions or attitude toward them.”

Building a Home Your Kids Want to Come Home to by Hayley Novak (Kindred Grace)

“Happy, healthy, close (but not clingy) grown families are so rare anymore. When I see one, I want to stop and pull up a chair and watch, like a happy movie, pressing pause at my favorite scenes and hyper-analyzing each minute detail.”

Ministry Skills

Dealing With Our Students’ Doubts and Questions by Andy Blanks (YM360)

“Questions about the essentials of their faith, and to a lesser extent, doubts, are a healthy part of faith development. As leaders, we should encourage students to wrestle with the questions they have. Even as this might make us uneasy, it’s important to help students walk down this road.”

Your Summer Intern Wants More by Taryn Seemann (LeaderTreks)

“This summer your interactions with your interns should be motivated by a commitment to raise up the next generation of church leaders. Every youth worker has the opportunity to develop skills, character traits, and habits in their interns and to equip them to become more effective servants in God’s kingdom. With that purpose in mind, here are three Don’ts and three Dos for your summer internship program.”

Disability, Possibility, and the Church by Nick Palmero (Princeton Institute For Youth Ministry)

“’Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.’ This phrase opened the way through my fears, allowing me to forge deep-spirited friendships with kids with disabilities. A fundamental shift occurred in me. They were no longer disabilities who happened to be kids, but new friends who happened to have disabilities. This led me deeply into their lives to know them and be known by them.”

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

Catechisms in Youth Ministry? by Will O’Brien (Rooted)

“In American Evangelical Christianity today, however, the practice of catechism is all but lost. We have replaced a solid knowledge of the faith with ‘experience.’ To be sure, experience is important, but experience must always come through truth. Michael Horton puts it this way in his book The Gospel Commission: “It’s possible to have ‘head knowledge’ without ‘heart knowledge,’ but it’s impossible to have the latter without the former. We have to know at least some things in order to be moved to praise, maturity, and obedience.”

Sports and the Busyness Epidemic by John Perritt (Rooted)

“I recently heard two fathers discussing the busyness related to their child’s activities. One father explained that he landed at the airport from an out-of-town business trip, jumped in the car, picked up children #1 and #2, drove them to their separate activities, and then didn’t see child #3 or his wife until they all fell into bed later that night. Others have informed me of t-ball practices and games ending at 10 p.m. Many students are up before school lifting weights or swimming laps, and not home again until after supper. Busy, busy, busy. I am utterly astonished at the busyness of our parents and teens in this current culture. But, what astonishes me more is the fact that this has become the norm for so many families.”

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

Nothing Can Separate You (No, Not Even That!) by Kerry Trunfio (Rooted)
“I pray Romans 8: 35-39 every August for our teens. I know that out on their own for the first time, my students will face trouble, hardship, and persecution. They may fail an exam. They may give into the temptation of alcohol, drugs, or sex. They may really truly wrestle with their faith as they branch outside of familiar circles. Although parents, youth workers, and members of the church pray their kids will make the best choices, it is critical that students know this: even if you make a mistake, there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God.”

Join us for Rooted 2016, an intimate youth ministry conference, where we will explore the good news that God’s grace is sufficient for our relationships: with ourselves, with others, with the world, and with God. Jesus is our reconciliation yesterday, today, and forever.

To learn more about gospel centered youth ministry, check out more articles and podcasts from Rooted’s youth ministry blog.

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