Top Ten of August 2019

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Each month we compile a Top Ten 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

In an Epidemic of Isolation, ‘Relational MinistryIsn’t Enough by Dan Colwin (CT Pastors)

“Relational youth ministry falls short if it doesnt make discipleship its ultimate goal. Studentsloneliness wont heal unless we connect them with the God who wants to know them and be known by them. And a healthy discipling relationship takes far more effort, strategy, and intentionality than an organic friendship.” 

Three Ways to Teach Teens to Think Theologically by Lindsey Carlson (Credo)

“As parents, pastors, youth leaders, and adults tasked with discipling the next generation, we must recognize that a desire to grow in godliness can indeed be developed alongside a teenagers love for sleep, junk food, and emojis. Stop patronizing teenagers and take them seriously. Invite them, like the Apostle Paul invites Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:7, to think, ‘for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.’” 

Partnering with Parents

Parents, Stop Sunday-Schooling Your Kids Out of Church by Jason Carter (revdrjasoncarter.com)

“Over the last 40 years, children and students have enjoyed tailor-made programs suited to engage them, persuade them, and woo (and wow) them to become Christians. Yet we didnt raise them, teach them, show them, or disciple them to become Churched Christians.  Perhaps that reason, in part, is why so few of the next generation attend church today; theyve graduated out of the church we gave them.”

We have Ruined Childhood Opinion by Kim Brooks (New York Times)

Many parents and pediatricians speculate about the role that screen time and social media might play in this social deficit. But it’s important to acknowledge that simply taking away or limiting screens is not enough. Children turn to screens because opportunities for real-life human interaction have vanished…And so for many Americans, the nuclear family has become a lonely institution — and childhood, one long unpaid internship meant to secure a spot in a dwindling middle class. 

Youth Culture

What Should Pastors Know About Generation Z? moderated by Maina Mwaura (CT Pastors)

“For this generation more than any before them, conversation and the power of story are important. I ask my daughter about Instagram, ‘Why are you taking a picture of the carpet and putting text across the top of it when you could just text? Or, heaven forbid, make a phone call?Its about the story. That is an amazing opportunity for the church because we have the life-changing story of the gospel.”

Meritocracy Is Killing High-School Sports by Derek Thompson (The Atlantic)

“Smartphones conveniently take the blame for just about every other societal ill, from rising anxiety to declining sex. But Farrey assured me that screen culture is not the culprit here. Whats telling, he said, is that the children of high-income parents are playing as much as ever. Kids from homes earning more than $100,000 are now twice as likely to play a team sport at least once a day as kids from families earning less than $25,000.”

Ministry Skills

The Power Over Christian Publishing Weve Given to Amazonby Tim Challies (Challies)

“But as Amazon surged and other stores shuttered, we inadvertently handed Amazon a near-monopoly over the sale of Christian books. We did this with the good-faith assumption that they would continue to sell whatever we published. But times have changed and are changing and it seems increasingly unlikely that Amazon will continue to sell it all. It seems increasingly likely that they will cede to cultural pressure—pressure that exists both within and outside of the company—and begin to cull their offerings.”

Student Leaders Speak First by Jesse Criss (LeaderTreks)

I would tell them “Youre a student leader, just get out there and talk to people, help out and be involved.” No matter how often I said those words it didnt sink in. I switched tactics and told every single student involved in leadership that I wanted them to do one single task every week. Every student leader needed to be willing to speak first in their small group each week.

To Be Shared With Others

4 Ways To Keep Your Youth Pastor for the Long Haul by Syler Thomas (TGC)

“Four important factors have kept me around. If you’re reading this as a leader in your church, whether paid or volunteer, take these to heart. If you can help your youth minister in these areas, there’s a much better chance he’ll be around for more than a little while. These are four things my church did right.”

College Freshman, Commit to a Church by John Kegley (TGC)

You need the church because you need to hear Gods Word. You need the church because you need wise and godly mentors. You need the church because you need accountability for your profession of faith. You need the church because you need reminders that your identity rests in Christ crucified. By his death he purchased for you all the power, energy, and motivation you need to invest your life in a local church.

Rooteds Two Most-Read of August

Leo Tolstoy and the Lie Our Students Believe by Tucker Fleming

Our students (and even we as youth ministers) are catechized in the school of self-improvement, comparison, and perfection. Whether their eyes land upon magazine ads, commercials, or the window dressing of the boutique down the street, like Ivan Ilyich theyre told they are merely ill and that the power to heal themselves lies within their very soul. They only need to be thinner and stronger and smarter and funnier and more accomplished—and, thank goodness, the power to do all of this is in their own hands (so theyre told).

A Letter to Teenagers Beginning Sorority Recruitment by Cameron Cole

There is no turning in resumes to God. No debate over what picture to send him. No analyzing outfits and hair styles before you go into his presence. And let me tell you, there is absolutely zero concern or question about whether you will be accepted or rejected. God rejected Jesus on the cross so that he would never, ever – not in one trillion years – reject or judge you.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds August Honorable Mention)

Youth Minister, ‘But NowYou Are Made Right by John Coombs

God has enacted his rescue plan for the world through the person and work of Christ Jesus. Completely unable to meet Gods standards, we are made right with God because of his action, his grace. The great news for all people, and in all times, is that God has made us right with him despite our own sin and selfishness. That which could have been held against us has been dealt with through the cross. Suddenly and decisively – but now– we find ourselves in right standing before the Almighty.

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