The Top Ten: November 2016

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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.

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

Gospel Centered Ministry

Does Your Youth Ministry Suffer from the “Veneer of Success?” by Greg Stier (Dare2Share)

Sadly, I believe that there are many youth groups that have installed a veneer of success over something far less attractive. These youth ministries seem successful because of certain externals, but underneath it all there is a less-than-effective reality.

(note: where the author directs you towards his resources, we at Rooted strongly commend the book Gospel Centered Youth Ministry to help evaluate your “veneer.”)

Partnering With Parents

Parents: It’s Time to Wake Up About Pornography, Sexting, and Your Children by Randy Alcorn (Eternal Perspective Ministries)

Christian parents would never have believed it if you had told them 25 years ago that one day most kids would be carrying around a little device that would allow them access to pornography and on which they could receive naked images sent by their classmates while the young person is doing homework, in bed, or sitting in church.

3 Ways to Leverage the Relationship You Have With Parents by Christopher Wesley (Download Youth Ministry)

Are you maximizing the relationship you have with parents?  Or, are they just dropping teens off?  Is the only thing you’ve ever asked them to do is serve or chaperone?  What if there was more? Parents aren’t just potential volunteers or the occasional obstacle to serving teens.  They are investing in you and your ministry by sending their teens to worship with you.  If utilize that investment correctly it can take you to a new level.  So, before you focus on them as potential volunteers consider these three roles.

Customizing Your Parent Ministry by Dan Colwin (LeaderTreks)

If we want to effectively reach out to students on an individual basis, we need to reach out to their parents in an individual way as well. Each parenting situation is different, but sometimes we leave parents out of the discipleship equation or we fail to customize our approach to meet their diverse needs. As youth workers, we need a more intentional approach to partnering with parents, and it starts with understanding parents’ unique set of values, priorities, and experiences.

Youth Culture

Here’s Why Teen STDs are Hitting All-Time Highs by Alexandra Sifferlin (Time)

Lack of sex ed, fearlessness and not getting tested are to blame. Another factor contributing to the rise in teen STDs is the fact that many classes focus almost exclusively on heterosexual sex.

New Research About the Online Harassment of Teenagers by Adam McLane

27% of victims, which translates to 11% of all internet users, experienced trouble in a relationship or friendship because of something that was posted about them online.

How to Process Stress with Kids by Walt Mueller (CPYU)

Last week Time Magazine put it all out there on their cover. They decided to address the very real, destructive, and sometime deadly problem of teen stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s a big deal, for sure. Consequently, we need to be learning, discussing, preventing, and addressing the issue. What, if anything, are you already doing?

Ministry Skills

The High Cost of Low Expectations by Taryn Seemann (LeaderTreks)

Low expectations won’t take us where we want to go. They will only lead us to make dangerous assumptions, stay content with “good enough”, and perpetuate a culture of false accountability. Instead, let’s pursue seemingly disinterested students. Let’s refuse to let our students settle for less of God, and let’s establish an environment that fosters true challenge and accountability. Raising the bar leads to growth; don’t be afraid to expect more.

Budgeting from Vision by Joe McAlpine (Orange Leaders)

The hours of figuring out how to best utilize the dollars that God has entrusted us with can be stressful for sure, but this can also be a time to really allow the Holy Spirit to speak new life and vision into you and your team. This can be a time to really look into how the last year went and make crucial decisions on how you want to move forward during the next 12 months. The process I have used in my 15+ years of ministry hasn’t changed much. It is honestly fairly simple. It all begins with asking questions.

YM360’s Friendly Guide to Youth Ministry Communication by Andy Blanks (YM360)

Communication is changing faster than we can type, “hashtag blessed,” and as the youth minister, you’re probably considered the most technically-savvy staff member at your church. There are so many different ways to communicate and so many different people to communicate with. Where do you even begin?

Rooted’s Two Most-Read Articles of November:

Four Signs Your Message Has a “Sticky Gospel” by Cameron Cole (Rooted)

One of the best youth ministry books I have read is Chap Clark and Kara Powell’s, Sticky Faith, which offers practical direction for effective youth ministry, based on the research of the Fuller Youth Institute. One of the chapters in this book discusses the utter importance of kids having a “sticky gospel” – a gospel that sticks with them long after they leave our ministries. I offer these four marks of a sticky gospel.

Three Essentials to Prevent “Flaming Out” on Our Family and Ministry by Kris Fernhout (Rooted)

No matter how long you’ve been in youth ministry, you will always feel tension around how to maintain a healthy balance between family and ministry. No matter where you are in your student ministry career, here are three essentials that are necessary for true family and ministry balance. Without these three…it’s only a matter of time before you flame out, or your family resents your work.

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

On Curses and Championships: We are All Cubs Fans by Ben Beswick (Rooted)

Some stories in sports transcend the playing field. At times, the story of a team’s search for perfection stirs up national appreciation of human achievement. At other times, it’s a story of scandal that stirs up a national debate on ethics. And for the past week, the emotional story of the World Series returning to Wrigley Field has stirred up a discussion on curses being overcome and hope finally being fulfilled.

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