The Top 10: April 2017

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Each month we compile a Top 10 list for the Rooted community. This list represents ten articles we believe will encourage and equip you to continue in your ministry to students and their families. If you have an article you’d like to share, please include it as a link in the comment section below.

Gospel Centered Ministry

The Bullhorn, the Mirror, and the Single Biggest Reason Your Youth Ministry is not Growing (Greg Stier, Dare2Share)

We need to look intently into the mirror of God’s Word and see what we are doing wrong in our lives and in our youth ministries and make corrections accordingly. We need to make youth ministry less about playing games and more about helping our teenagers live out a mission. We need to make sure we are fueling our efforts through prayer, equipping our teenagers to make and multiply disciples and recruiting leaders who model this kind of lifestyle.

The Four Needs of New Christ Followers (Andy Blanks, YM360)

If things are going as they should, we should have new Christ-followers in our midst. Some ministries will have more than others but by the very nature of our role, we should be seeing teenagers come to faith in Christ, or getting serious about their faith for the first time. I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years thinking about these new Christ-followers (I wrote a book specifically for new believers you can sample at the end of this post) and the spiritual needs they have.

Partnering with Parents & Intergenerational Ministry

A High School Counselor’s Tips on Parenting Teenagers (Leia Joseph, Biblical Counseling Coalition)

I have had the privilege of spending the last 13 years working as a music teacher and crisis counselor for teens. The following six tips represent a handful of lessons I have learned along the way. If you are the parent of a teenager or pre-teen, I pray that you find this helpful.

This Question Changed Youth Ministry For Me (Walt Mueller, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

I walked away from that conversation and back into youth ministry with a resolve to be obedient to God’s order and design. Rather than replacing parents, I was now going to do all that I could to form a youth ministry that would assist parents.

The Pray for Me Campaign is the Secret Sauce of Intergenerational Ministry (Andy Blanks, YM360)

Here is how the basic premise of the Pray for Me Campaign works: students are equipped to invite three adults from three different generations to be their Prayer Champions for a school year. The Prayer Champions, in turn, use the Pray for Me Campaign Prayer Guide, which helps them pray Scripture over students through 7 Essential categories.

Youth Culture

13 Reasons Why, and its Unintended Consequences, by Brook Fox, LCSW (Brooke Fox, Fox, Levine and Associates)

These are my two cents as a psychotherapist, not a mother.  My purpose of sharing my point of view was not to judge. The decision on whether or not a parent should let their child watch is a personal one. If you do let your children watch, please heed this advice: watch it with them.  Talk to them.  Assure them that you are here for them, that they are loved and empowered, and that suicide is never an option.

Three Surprising Issues About Today’s Youth Culture (Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders)

I recently attended a symposium on how our youth are faring in our world today. While there was great anticipation on how students will re-invent the marketplace as they enter their careers, there were three huge issues that sobered every attendee. I felt these issues would be helpful and relevant to you as you develop students. I encourage you to read them and perhaps discuss them with colleagues

Ministry Skills

From Silly to Sacred: Creating a Culture of Discipleship (Doug Franklin, LeaderTreks)

I was good at creating culture. But I’m ashamed to admit that it never dawned on me to create a culture of discipleship. I was too focused on creating a culture of fun, rather than a culture of transformation. If I had to do it over, I would create a new kind of discipleship culture.

Alone: Making Sure No Kid Lives That Way (David R. Smith, Youth Culture Window)

Staff meetings, special events, and weekly programming sometimes blind us to the trees in the forest. Just remember, we teach about a God who said it was “not good” for us to be alone (Gen. 2:18). And that same God, when He came to Earth, had friends and even “appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with Him” (Mark 3:14). Jesus was all about connecting. It was at the forefront of his ministry. Connecting with students should be at the forefront of ours.

10 Sure Fire Things to do to Run Your Team Ragged (Justin Knowles, Download Youth Ministry)

Having vision is not enough to keep a team. I have heard, “People don’t leave a team, they leave the leader.” As people in charge of a ministry we are over people to make sure everything gets done, but as the leader, you are responsible for the people under you. Here are 10 things to do to make sure you run your team down.

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of April

Ask Rooted: What is the Balance Between Outreach and Discipleship? (Rooted)

We asked several experienced student ministers how they balance discipleship and outreach in the context of ministry (In other words, what is the balance between reaching out to new students vs. discipling the students who are already in front of you?). We hope this wisdom sparks insight and ideas in your own ministry.

Making Sure Kids Know the Gospel: A Gospel Catechism for Teenagers (Cameron Cole, Rooted)

For three years we had met. I had talked about the Gospel in our lessons. I had used the word “Gospel” a thousand times. But I had overlooked one critical detail – did they know the Gospel? I had done far too much assuming. Since then, I open every Bible study with a Gospel catechism. It’s something I would recommend to every small group leader. If nothing else – if we fail in every way – let know child leave our ministries without knowing clearly what the Gospel is.

In Case You Missed it: Rooted’s April Honorable Mention

Wisdom from S-Town: Clock Restoration and the Human Heart (Ben Beswick, Rooted)

The imagery of witness marks and antique clock restoration weaved throughout S-Town offers listeners a greater understanding of the universal human condition. Like the people explored in the podcast, no single individual can be painted with broad strokes. As fallen creatures, all of us bear the marks of sin, and our hearts are naturally bent away from our Creator’s initial intent. Beyond the universal marks of sin are the dents and scratches left by the many and complicated events that have shaped us into the people we are today.

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