The Top Ten: February 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

Keeping the Faith…4 Practical Ways to Help Teens Keep Their Faith Long After They Graduate (Greg Stier, Dare 2 Share)

We’ve all read the scary statistics of teenagers who evacuate their Christian faith after they graduate from high school. I’ve read statistics as high as 85% and some as low as 50%. But regardless of the actual number all of us can agree that any is too many! We want as many of our teenagers’ faith as possible to, not just survive, but to thrive long after they leave high school! So what can we do to help teens keep the faith after they graduate? Here are 4 practical ideas that may help you:

Relational Ministry

When You Meet With A Student For The First Time (Justin Knowles, Download Youth Ministry)

So what do you do when you meet with a student you don’t know very well in order to help set them up for the future and continue to pour into them? As I was processing this, I wrote a few things down…

When Their Storms Become Ours: Closing the Distance Between Leaders and Young People (Steve Argue)

There’s nothing like a good thunderstorm from a great view. You see it coming. Take a seat. Take it in…. Youth ministry leaders run the risk of viewing young peoples’ lives this way. Positive views (“You are the hope of the present and future church!”) or negative ones (“You are the leavers, the dones, and the nones!”), actually share same vantage point – distance. Both perceptions are offered from safe places that fail to get close enough to understand young people’s true experiences. As a direct result, youth ministry often remains programmed, theoretical, Pollyanna-ish, distanced.

Un-Blurring the Line (Relations With Students) (Dan Istvanik, Youth Specialties)

We, of course, want to have “relational” ministry. Books and seminars have been teaching us relational ministry for years, and we should be doing ministry that builds Godly, appropriate connections and relationships in our ministry. It is, after all, one of the most powerful things we can do in the lives of our students, is to introduce them to a relationship with God and others.

Youth Culture

Mom, is Chance the Rapper a Christian? (Jonathan McKee)

If you missed the moment, then you not only missed Chance the Rapper making history winning three Grammys for his ‘streaming-only’ album, but you also missed him praising God, joined by Kirk Franklin and a full Gospel choir. Unquestionably a bold move for a mainstream rapper.

Fifty Shades Returns… Darker. Now What? (Walt Mueller, Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

Perhaps today is a great day. . . THE day. . . to leverage all the attention our culture is giving this film and sit down to talk with our kids. . . openly, frankly, seriously, and honestly. . . about the very real pull, power, and dangers related to pornography use.  .  . to talk about what it will do to us and what God is calling us to do with it.

Ministry Skills

Top Needs of Teenage Girls (Selma Wilson)
Recently I read a post from a young woman that brought me to tears. I know her and to me she is a beautiful, gifted young woman, with amazing gifts. You would never know from the outside, all she has struggled with privately. It began for her in middle school as she struggled with her self-image…

How To Fight Through The Interruptions And Distractions (Christopher Wesley, Download Youth Ministry)

Youth ministry is filled with interruptions and no matter what you do some of them are unavoidable.  To get through the craziness that ministry sometimes brings you need to:

5 Steps to Serving Children with Autism, ADHD, and Attachment Disorders (Evan Collier, 9 Marks)
Although school systems are required to accommodate children with disabilities, churches—as volunteer organizations with limited resources and training—are not. But what if your church wishes to serve children with disabilities as a way to push back against the devaluation of human life (cf. Ps. 139:13), to affirm the worth of the weaker parts of the body (1 Cor. 12:22), and to present to God many sons and daughters who may be far off (cf. Isa. 43:6–7)?

The Secret to Recruiting Volunteers (Andy Lawrenson, LeaderTreks)

The struggle is real when it comes to recruiting youth ministry volunteers. At some point, most of us have felt like we’ve tried everything only to have nothing work. …In spite of what these frustrations would lead us to believe, “solo youth ministry” is not the only option. Here are five suggestions to help grow your volunteer team and further your ministry’s impact…

Rooted’s Two Most-Read Articles of February

Reconsidering “Professional” Youth Ministry (Mike McGarry, Rooted)

Maybe it’s my own baggage from this internship, but I get concerned whenever I hear calls for “excellence” and “professionalism” in ministry. I appreciate the exhortation to offer the best we have as an act of service to God and to others. I am also aware that expecting excellence in all things will keep some people from offering anything at all. I have seen faithful volunteers step aside after such urgings, their confidence shaken by the implication that they don’t measure up.

Five Questions to Ask of the Christian Sub-Culture (Davis Lacey, Rooted)

For better or for worse, many youth ministries are driven by special events. Because their opinions of the Christian sub-culture directly affect the decisions they make about their ministry’s calendars, youth workers often find themselves on the frontlines of the controversies which often surround the releases of faith-based media. While these controversies may disproportionately affect youth ministries, they are the result of an issue that reaches far beyond the winsome walls of youth group.

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

You Are Special (Dawson Cooper, Rooted Parent)

My son recognized the good news in this story without my even mentioning Jesus. He could see that the one who “could do little” was special simply because the Maker had made him and loved him.

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