The Top 10: December 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

Finn and Filson on What Teachers Can Learn from Jonathan Edwards by Nancy Guthrie (The Gospel Coalition)
“Many of the best Bible teachers I know name Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) as one of their most significant influences. So for this episode of Help Me Teach the Bible, I sat down with two Bible teachers who fit into that category to discuss why a Bible teacher in our day should read the writings of this 18th-century teacher, preacher, philosopher, writer, and theologian.”

Partnering With Parents

Tether Yourself: The Enlightening Talk Parents Aren’t Having Can Keep Teens from a Damaging Drift by Rachel Macy Stafford (Hands Free Mama)

“This is what I said to my daughter in letter form. It is my hope that others will say these words to those they love. If our teens can learn to tether themselves, there is hope. Their lives are too valuable to let drift … their lives are too valuable to let fade away.”

Why Is Parenting So Incredibly Hard? by Paul Carter (The Gospel Coalition)

“My wife and I have 5 kids and we have fostered 16 other children for varying lengths of time. If I have learned anything over the 20 + years of my marriage it is that parenting is incredibly hard.

I’m sure there are many reasons for that, but these 6 come immediately to mind.”

“Hit Play!” The Infatuation Today’s Young Kids Have with Online Video by David R. Smith (The Source for Parents)

“The presence of smartphones often brings parents a sense of security because the devices offer instant communication with their kids. But they’re just as likely to introduce worry and outright fear in parents’ minds because of the inappropriate content their young kids can stumble onto in the search for online entertainment. Knowing that, ministry leaders and parents will need to constantly engage kids and teens about their video choices. Here are two very simple tips to help with that.”

Youth Culture

Is Your Teenager Addicted to a Smartphone? By Heather Senior Monroe (Daily News)

“For adolescents, it’s not just the act of using the phone, but also what they’re using it for. For example, studies have found that receiving “likes” on social media activates the same circuits in the teenage brain that are activated by eating chocolate or winning money. But those feelings of reward don’t last: Research also shows that teenagers’ use of social media goes hand in hand with increased teen depression.”

These are the Top YouTube Videos That Went Viral by Harmeet Kaur (CNN)

This list includes top trending videos as well as the top ten most-watched music videos of the year.

The Biggest Hits of 2017: Vengeance, Drugs, Self, and Sex… Without Regard by Jonathan McKee & David R. Smith (Youth Culture Window)

“Glorification of violence, drugs and alcohol, vengeance, arrogance, degradation of females… and not one shred of regard for the consequences. Yep, just another year of music in America. Here’s a review of the twelve No. 1 songs that dominated the last twelve months.“

Overall Teen Drug Use Stable, but Marjijuana Use Edging Up, Survey Finds by Nadia Kounang (CNN)

“Nearly 40% of all 12th-graders surveyed had used some sort of illicit drug in the past year, while 55.7% of them had used alcohol. Nearly 28% of 10th-graders had used an illicit drug, and 37.7% of them had alcohol in the past year. For eighth-graders, the percentage who had used illicit drugs in the previous year was just 12.9%, while 18.2% had had a drink.”

Ministry Skills

Sex Crimes, Moral Failures and Guarding Yourself from Becoming a Statistic by Greg Stier (Dare 2 Share)

“The ‘Do not rules’ do not and cannot rule over lust. As a matter of fact ‘they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.’ If anything these rules become an aphrodisiac which makes the temptation at hand even harder to resist. So what is our hope in being victorious over lust if safeguards can’t ultimately provide it?”

5 Secrets to a Great Disciple Now by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

“We want our Disciple Now weekend to be a powerful and meaningful experience for our students. We’re hoping that all our time, energy, and investment will lead to lasting personal growth and impact in the lives of our students. The question is ‘How?’”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read Articles of December

Roy Moore and Misrepresentation of Biblical Christianity by Cameron Cole (Rooted)

“Given that I work in Birmingham, Alabama, controversial senatorial candidate Roy Moore has made my job increasingly challenging. I cannot speak for Moore’s personal spirituality; I can only comment based on the images that this politician has delivered in his career and campaigns. From this external impression, I would suggest that Moore demonstrates a version of Christianity that contrasts antithetically with the gospel of grace, which comprises the prevailing narrative of the scriptures.”

Teaching Our Kids the True Wonder of Christmas by Jeffrey Heine (Rooted)

“This mystery of all mysteries is not easily accessible; I don’t think it was ever meant to be. But this leaves us as parents in an incredibly challenging position a Christmas. How do we help our kids focus on the Advent of Christ when the Christmas of Santa seems to have way better PR?”

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

Confessions of a Struggling Youth Minister by Morgan Lusk (Rooted)

“‘How are you doing?’ I don’t know about you, but in my Bible Belt ministry context, this combination of words poses as a friendly greeting at best, and at worst represents a question that one rarely answers truthfully. When I am asked this question, the expected response is usually, ‘fine.’ If I tarry in coming up with my answer, I reveal vulnerability, brokenness, maybe even sin. Not many folks have time for that nonsense.”

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