The Top 10: September 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

Is There an Absolute Moral Truth Based in the Word of God? Video by YM360

Video excerpt: When asked, “Is there an absolute moral truth based on the word of God?” 91% of respondents said, yes. Furthermore, 93% of students said they believed the Bible was accurate in all it teaches. However, when asked, “Do you read your bible daily?” only 18% answered yes. 58% said they read their bible at least once a month Only 26% indicated they memorized scripture once a month. When asked to choices.

A New Kind of Youth Ministry (to save the local church) by Scott McKnight (Jesus Creed)

Why are so many young people leaving churches and why hasn’t the massive amount of resources poured into youth ministry counter-acted the phenomenon? Better yet, how has it directly contributed? While external forces of culture have certainly helped, I believe the primary causes of the “Rise of the Nones” is internal to the church.

Youth Culture

How the Wealthy Are Disadvantaged by Dr. Shimi Kang (Huffington Post)

In studies of upper class and upper middle class high school students across America, serious levels of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, and somatic (physical) symptoms have been shown to occur at more than twice the rate in comparison to national averages.

A Letter to Senior Pastors by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

Many teenagers feel disconnected from the person up front – and as a result, the message as well. This troubling fact points to the need for pastors to intentionally listen to, understand, and reach out to students in a way that facilitates students’ connections and engagement with you – the messenger – and the life-changing message you’ve been called to preach.

Partnering with Parents

Seeing Tares by Jay Wamstead (Mockingbird)

In the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about wheat, tares, and an enemy… The parable warned against giving up on the wheat when I felt overwhelmed by the tares. Go home and rest up, it said—then get back out there into the field and tend to the crop. There is work to be done, and we can’t let the enemy win. The weeds will be set to rights eventually.

Wayward Children Need to See Your Weakness by Barbara Miller Juliani (Desiring God)
When we honestly work through our faith before our children’s watching eyes, we can create a point of connection with them in our struggle and also reveal a hope that they do not yet have…. Living by faith in front of our children doesn’t mean concealing our sins, weaknesses, failures, and suffering. Instead, it means letting our children see how God grows our faith in the midst of those things.

Ministry Skills

How Secret Sin Almost Destroyed My Life by Sean Chandler (Youth Specialties)

As someone who was stuck in sin while in full-time ministry, I fully understand just how much easier it is to tell someone else to humble themselves than it is to humble yourself. This last year has been incredibly difficult. But there is hope on the other side. You don’t have to be stuck living in sin and with hypocrisy. The freedom of God’s grace is far better, and life begins when we step into the light.

Teaching for Transformation by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

A large percentage of our programming time in youth ministry is dedicated to teaching. From large group preaching to small group Bible studies, we want to see students learn. The problem is they are not learning. If our teaching was working, our students would not be leaving the church in college.

Leaders and Loneliness by Scott Sauls

Sometimes I wonder if, in the end, it will be my weakness and not my preaching or writing or vision, that God ends up using to advance his Kingdom. Because of this, I also wonder if we pastors ought to become less concerned about building an image and accumulating followers, fans, and ‘likes,’ and instead focus our energy on cultivating a few healthy, transparent, accountable, and loyal friendships.

Big Numbers… Whoop Dee Doo by Justin Knowles (Download Youth Ministry)
So it’s easy to get big numbers, but what are you doing to make sure you count the numbers that matter more for the weeks that follow? I think those are the numbers that we should be interested in the most.

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of September

Dear Young Person: I’m Sorry by Kris Fernhout (Rooted)

I’m sorry for every time I haven’t seen Jesus in your eyes and heard Him in your voice when I’ve cared for you, fed you, driven you home, waited for you, listened to you, and tried to love you. I’m sorry that my own life isn’t a better representation of the gospel-life I teach and encourage you to live. Thank Jesus that I need His absolute love and salvation just as much as you.

Five Truths We Must Tell Our Kids in a World of Political Chaos and Madness by Cameron Cole (Rooted)

Screaming, shaming, hostility, and violence have become normal examples of how one talks to others with whom they disagree. We have politicians who demonize opponents, journalists who intentionally lie in order to smear people, and activists who justify violence. Quite frankly, I think our president would be disqualified from student leadership in most youth ministries due to his language and tone on social media. As a parent and a youth pastor, I want to tell you that these norms are unacceptable; there is a better way.

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

Special Needs Parenting: What Does My Child Really Understand About God by Tracy Rector (Rooted)

While the world may see those with special needs as a challenge, God does not. They are a crucial part of His plan, with a purpose that only they can fulfill. We don’t understand how God uses weaknesses, or those of our children, to make His power perfect in us, but if we believe the promises of scripture, we must take our Father at His word.

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