Top Ten: February 2019

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Each month we compile a Top 10 list for youth workers. This list represents ten articles from various sources that we believe will encourage you in your ministry to students and their families. Some give explicit instruction on gospel-centered ministry, while others are included because there is a message of common grace that is helpful to youth workers. If you find an article that could speak to the Rooted community, please share it in the comment section below.

Gospel-Centered Ministry

Five Benefits of Considering Youth Ministry as Intergenerational Ministry by Jon Coombs (TGC)

I’m sure we’ve all got our own stories about people of different ages impacting our lives and faith. It should be a natural part of discipleship. As the gospel is accepted, so it is to be passed on: from generation to generation. … As we think about the impact of this in our churches and youth ministries I find there are five benefits of considering implementing a whole body of Christ approach to youth ministry.”

What Millennials Really Think About Evangelism by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra (TGC)

Here’s a better conclusion to draw from Barna’s question: Millennials are more sensitive than previous generations about how they share their faith. Their secular peers think evangelizing ‘is an aggressive colonialist move,’ Gilson said. “It trips every wire. . . . My students are highly aware of the vision of the 19th-century white man who goes to Africa or Southeast Asia and doesn’t just share the gospel, but also tries to force these people to be Europeans. They want to be as far away from that as possible.”

Partnership with Parents

The SBC Sex Abuse Crisis: The Difference Between Privacy & Secrecy by Tim and Tasha Levert (youthministry.com)

“In our conversations with parents, we use language that encourages and equips parents to be parents—we emphasize that the trust required for privacy is earned, and secrecy is never appropriate. We also challenge parents to model an accountable lifestyle themselves, abandoning secrecy but honoring privacy.”

The Biggest Hindrance to Your Kids’ Faith Isn’t Doubt. It’s Silence. by Kara Powell and Steven Argue (Christianity Today)

“As we interact with parents nationwide, they confess that when it comes to discussing spirituality, they’re worried about saying the wrong thing and either messing up or revealing their ignorance. The good news for parents is we don’t need to be theologians or super-Christians to talk with our kids about our faith or theirs. We only need to be willing to go there.”

Youth Culture

Teens and E-Cigs. . . A Helpful Infographic by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

“Youth workers. . . this is a theological and discipleship issue you must be addressing since stewardship of the body is something we should be teaching our kids. Are you addressing this issue with the kids under your care? And, what are you doing to inform parents regarding this growing epidemic? Go ahead and pass it on to parents.”

The Life of an American Boy at 17 by Jennifer Percy (Esquire)

“Ryan Morgan is a high school senior from West Bend, Wisconsin. Like all seventeen-year-olds, he thinks a lot about what he wants to do with his life, because everyone keeps telling him he’s supposed to have it figured out. He’d rather just talk about his girlfriend or cool sneakers or the Packers. But life is never that simple.”

Our Youth Sports Culture is Broken by Brandon Day (The Times Herald)

“I don’t think we are developing better athletes and/or people in our current system. We have developed a culture that will not serve our student-athletes well as they grow into adulthood. We have organizations and private coaches that are making a profit filling parents’ heads full of false information and dreams of scholarships rather than focusing on the development of the athletes, regardless of their skill levels.”

Ministry Skills

How to Help Teens Weather Their Emotional Storms by Lisa Damour (New York Times)

It’s critical to recognize that when we react to psychological distress as though it’s a fire that needs to be put out, we frighten our teenagers and usually make matters worse. Reacting instead with the understanding that emotions usually have their own life cycle — coming as waves that surge and fall — sends adolescents the reassuring message that they aren’t broken; in fact, they’re self-correcting.”

How to Build a Strong Youth Ministry Culture by Andy Blanks (YM360)

“That’s the thing that’s unique about building a youth ministry culture. If spiritual growth is absent, no amount of work on your part to create a vibrant youth ministry will be of any use. At the very core of any youth ministry culture has to be the desire to grow closer to Christ.”

A Promising New Clue to Prevent Teen Suicide: Empower Adults Who Care by Brian Resnick

“Teens were hospitalized for suicide. Researchers then asked them to think about the adults who cared about them…It’s key, King says, that the intervention targeted the adults around the teens — the ones providing support. She had the teens nominate up to four so it wasn’t just their parents charged with looking out for them. The teen were encouraged to nominate other family members, educators, or people in the community. They just had to be people that the teens knew cared about them.”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of February

Teaching to Teenagers: Is God’s Word Your Foundation or a Buttress? by Mike McGarry (Rooted)

There have been many car rides home from youth group when I realized I had buttressed my own thoughts with Scripture in the youth group lesson that night. Maybe it wasn’t how I planned the lesson to go, but for one reason or another, the Bible was much more of a support to what I wanted to say than it was a foundation. Sometimes I simply wasn’t prepared the way I should’ve been, or maybe a student asked a question that sent me onto another trajectory, and other times I made an adjustment mid-lesson that shifted me off the biblical foundation.”

Selfie Harm” and the Tree of Life by Kendal Conner (Rooted)

The gospel is not only the good news of the redemption to come, but the good news of the redemption that is here. Through the work of Christ on the cross, we no longer live under the curse of sin and its desires. And through the work of the Holy Spirit, though we will still be subject to sinful desires, we are no longer slaves to them.

This is why, as student leaders, we cannot ignore the emerging trends of technology; we must strive to know the ways the culture is speaking to our students’ desires because we know that the enemy is waging a war for those desires.”

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

Safeguarding Students From Sexual Abuse, Anonymous (Rooted)

If you’re reading this and you’re a youth pastor or youth worker, the next six months and beyond are going to be hard. Undoubtedly, many of us know or are familiar with cases of abuse and sexual assault in churches. The parents of your teenagers know those stories too. As youth workers, you must ensure the safety and well-being of every student who is a part of your ministry. And as pastors, we must be diligent and committed to the safety and well-being of our churches, and the protection of our congregations from those who would use Jesus’ name for their own perverted lusts.

 

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