The Top Ten: September 2018

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Here are the top ten articles from the past month that can be of benefit to youth workers and parents in their ministry to teenagers. Some of these give explicit instruction on gospel-centered ministry, while others are included because there is a message of common grace that can help us in our ministries. If you find an article that could speak to the Rooted community, please share it in the comment section below.

Gospel Centered Ministry

8 Things to Keep in Mind When Teaching Kids Theology Melanie Lacy (Core Christianity)

“There is a danger that teaching kids theology can lead to an abundance of head knowledge related to Christian things but result in little heart change. Of course, it is always right to instruct children in the things of God, because by not doing so we allow them to be informed by something other than Scripture. However, we must strive to allow theology to warm and thrill children’s hearts as well as inform their minds.”

Social Justice or evangelism? There shouldn’t even be a debate Greg Stier (Dare 2 Share)

“We need to stop living in an either/or world when it comes to the Gospel and social justice. Let’s love everyone we can, serve everyone we can and share Jesus with everyone we can. Let’s not settle for a lesser brand of Christianity.”

Partnering with Parents

The FAQs: What Parents Should Know About Peer Contagion Joe Carter (The Gospel Coalition)

“The term peer contagion describes a process of mutual influence between a child or adolescent and their peers that includes behaviors and emotions that potentially undermine one’s own development or cause harm to others. Examples of peer contagion include aggression, bullying, depression, disordered eating, drug use, bisexuality, suicide, tobacco use, and transgenderism.”

10 Regrets Every Parent Can Avoid Tripp Atkinson (LeaderTreks)

“Parenting is really, really tough. It seems that as soon as you start figuring out a few things, your kids are grown. Because of this, some of the best lessons are found in what others have learned before us along the parenting journey. These lessons are usually conveyed as statements of regret. Having worked with parents of graduates for over 20 years, here are some of the biggest parenting regrets I have heard the most.”

Youth Culture

2018 Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal their Experiences Common Sense Media

Rooted Note: This is the latest report by Common Sense Media about teens’ self-reported use of technology. Share this infographic and discuss it with parents.

What Do Older Generations Misunderstand About Teenagers Today? Katherine Schulten (New York Times)

“What do you wish you could explain to adults in general to dispel some of these beliefs? Have a look at two recent articles, both of which examine ‘Gen Z’ and draw conclusions about who you are and why — or, at least, who these writers think you are. Do any of these descriptions seem accurate to you? Why or why not?”

Eighth Grade: AKA Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Andy Clack (Mockingbird)

“If you are wondering what on earth is happening in the heads of middle school kids during their first weeks of school, watch Eighth Grade. The film is a story about Kayla (played brilliantly by Elsie Fisher), an anxious and awkward eighth grader navigating her way through the final days of middle school, and it somehow manages to capture the timeless elements of tween/teen-hood in the ‘Burbs while establishing itself as the time capsule of adolescence in 2018.”

Instagram is Supposed to be Friendly. So Why is it Making People so Miserable? Alex Hern (The Guardian)

“But, for a growing number of users – and mental health experts – the very positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem. The site encourages its users to present an upbeat, attractive image that others may find at best misleading and at worse harmful. If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect – except you.”

Ministry Skills

Can Christians Use Legal Weed? Clint Archer (Cripplegate)

“The Bible outlaws the use of any mind-altering concoction, including mushrooms, drugs, or weed. I’m no expert on weed, but I think the science (and Elon Musk) shows that smoking even one joint begins to impair judgment.”

Five Roles of Adult Leaders in Large Groups Jen Bradbury (Download Youth Ministry)

“Adult leaders are the backbone of a healthy youth ministry. In order to effectively minister to teens, your ministry needs caring adult leaders. But what, precisely, should those caring adult leaders do?”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read Articles of September

Get Them in the Ark Emily Heide (Rooted)

“In our overstimulated, fast-paced, technology-driven world, it is way too easy to obsess over ‘perfecting’ every minute detail of our children’s lives, from enrolling them into the best school to finding the best coach for their extracurricular activities (regardless of whether or not they show promise of being Olympic athletes). It is nearly impossible to keep track of everything, much less stay on top of it all. Needless to say, I have a lot of ‘mom failure’ moments.”

Gospel Centered Care for Students: How to Engage in Your Students’ Sin Russell Boone (Rooted)

“This man reminded me that Jesus knew all my sin before He saved me, that He saved me because of who he is – not because of what I can do for him – and his love for me will never change. This man shared that as the Lord expressed the same love for him, he in turn wanted to extend that love to me.”

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

The Joy and Crown of Youth Ministry Clark Fobes (Rooted)

“Despite my suffering, hardship, and endless toil these last nine years in Youth Ministry, I’ve come to see the joy and glory the Apostle Paul writes of in 1 Thessalonians. This past month, I graduated my final class of High Schoolers as I closed the door on Youth Ministry and transitioned into Worship and College (yes, I know, I am a glory chaser). During this time of goodbyes and transition, Paul’s words have resonated with me more than ever.”

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