The Top 10: October 2016

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Each month we compile a Top 10 List for the Rooted community (comprised of both student leaders and parents). This list represents articles from all across the internet that 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.

The following are presented by category, not in order of which we deem most valuable.

Youth Culture

10 Big, Biblical Reasons Christian Teenagers Should Just Say “NO” to Smoking Marijuana by Greg Stier (Dare2Share)

“The more I travel, the more I talk to youth leaders who have Christian teenagers who think marijuana use is “no big deal.” These Christian teenagers view it as less dangerous than drinking and less addictive than heroin. In their view it just makes you feel good and, well, what’s wrong with that? So, as an evangelist to young people, a Colorado resident and the father of a 15-year-old Christian teenager I wanted to give you 10 reasons that Christian teenagers should not smoke weed…”

Today’s Kids and Tech in 3 Minutes by Jonathan McKee (Jonathan Writes)

“We just finished posting a brand new YouTube video that gives an excellent summary of today’s over-connected kids… and today’s over-connected adults.” [Rooted Note: This is a good resource to send to your parents!]

Kids Lost in the World… A Powerful New Music Video by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

“Moby. Remember him? Well, he’s got a new album out and it offers some social commentary that I’m guessing might leave you speechless as well. The album, These Systems Are Failing, was released on October 14th. The song “Are You Lost in the World Like Me” is not only lyrically powerful, but visually sobering and worth watching. . . over and over again. That’s what I’ve done.”

Battling Teen Porn Addiction by David R. Smith (Youth Culture Window)

“On a daily basis, millions of teenagers are bombarded by graphic and explicit images through online images and videos. The degree to which they are impacted is as varied as the kids themselves, but none of it is positive. Fortunately, there are tools to help…if adults are willing to use them to level the playing field.”

Adolescent Development

Middle School Changes by Dan Scott (The Parent Cue)

I can’t say I feel old enough, but it’s true: we have a child in middle school…. And as much as we sometimes feel like a deer in the headlights, thankfully, we’re not on our own during this transition to middle school. We have experts—parents, teachers, friends—around us who are already giving us insight into the middle school mind. They are people who’ve been there, know what we’re going through, and can help us along the way. Here’s some of what we’ve been learning. There are four major areas where middle school kids are changing.”

The Developing Teen Brain… A Helpful Infographic by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

“If the brain is not fully wired-up until about the age of 25, then that offers me at least some sort of explanation for much of my confusing and now-embarrassing adolescent and young adult behavior. As a parent, I often asked my kids, “What in the world were you thinking?” There were times in my early years where I quietly asked myself the same question while wiping egg off my face or trying to clean up some kind of mess.”

Ministry Skills

The Key to Asking Vulnerable Questions by Jen Bradbury (Download Youth Ministry)

“The way you ask a question matters. So, when I write discussion questions, I try to think through not just WHAT I’m asking but HOW I’m asking it. Since I know students in my youth ministry doubt God’s existence, my goal in asking this particular question was to invite them to share those doubts, without shame.”

4 Ways to Go for Grit Over Grades This Year by Brad Griffin (Fuller Youth Institute)

“A mounting body of research shows that while we bias for natural talent and intelligence, effort counts more. We may not like the fact that hard work and perseverance matter twice as much as natural ability—in part because it lets us, and kids, off the hook if we aren’t “good at” something—but research proves us wrong.”

Student Leadership: More Than a Monthly Meeting by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

“Meeting with our student leaders is fun and sometimes the best part of our ministry week. They get us and we get them. They love our jokes and they want to grow; we could hangout with them forever. The problem is sometimes we do. Sometimes we just hangout with them and our student leadership meeting is more about time with the “good kids” then about learning new leadership principles and skills. The content of our student leadership meetings matters.”

An Invitation to Explore by Aqueelah Ligonde (Princeton Institute for Youth Ministry)

“The truth is we will not always have the answer to the questions of our students. But we can always create space for them to ask questions and express their doubts and fears. It is also crucial for our growth as leaders to hear those questions and wrestle with them ourselves.”

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

The “Authenticity” Paradox by Mike McGarry (Rooted)

“When it comes to true, organic authenticity, I’m a big fan. I hate big productions, especially in ministry, because they always seem forced, staged, and inauthentic. But there’s still something about the word “authenticity” that makes me cringe. It sounds too intentional; and intentional authenticity seems painfully inauthentic, doesn’t it? Thus, the paradox.”

Longing for More: What Lies Beneath the Desire to be “Hot” by Kristen Hatton (Rooted)

“It seems that every young girl falls for the lie (at one point or another) that acceptance, value, and worth is tied to appearance. So when a few girls showcase their bodies and net hundreds of social media “likes,” along with the real-time attention of guys, dressing immodestly appears like the easiest way for girls everywhere to grab the attention and affirmation they so deeply crave. To be noticed, complimented, commented about, and to have other girls look enviously at them feels euphoric in the moment. But that feeling is fleeting. In these longings, there is something more our girls are really seeking.”

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

A Letter to My Students: Jesus is for Losers by Andy Cornett (Rooted)

“At the core, I am weak where it counts the most. I am lost where I most need a win. I’m talking about what it takes to be put right with God. In a “winner takes all” culture, the gospel shouts that you are accepted not by your skills, accomplishments, or hyped-up awesomeness. You are accepted into God’s Kingdom simply because of what Jesus accomplished for you.”

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