Top Ten of July 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

5 Advantages of a Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry by Jon Coombs (TGC)

The heart of gospel-centered youth ministry is seeking to display this grace to students. In everything we do, despite our imperfections, we’re driving our students toward Jesus. We seek to point to him, show him, reveal him, trust him, and obey him so that our students will be “transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Both Purity Culture and Hook-Up Culture Failed Me. Then I Found Church Fellowship. by Abigail Murrish (CT Women)

The story starts in my teen years. Along with a lot of other young men and women in evangelicalism, I was carried along by the tide of the purity movement and saw it as an expression of personal piety and devotion to faith. My actions, however, were almost entirely driven by future outcomes. In other words, I expected a marital relationship down the road, and I was afraid of ruining my chance at a perfect one.

Partnering with Parents

5 Ways to Help Kids Communicate Well On Social Media by William P. Smith (TGC)

Social media add dimensions to communication that make it different from face-to-face interactions. Ignore the impact of those dimensions, and you and your child will say and do things you regret. Understand the virtual world’s challenges, however, and you and your child can turn them into catalysts for personal growth and developing stronger relationships.

Parents Are Giving Up Custody of Their Kids to Get Need-Based College Financial Aid by Jodi S. Cohen and Melissa Sanchez (ProPublica Illinois)

Parents are giving up legal guardianship of their children during their junior or senior year in high school to someone else — a friend, aunt, cousin or grandparent. The guardianship status then allows the students to declare themselves financially independent of their families so they can qualify for federal, state and university aid, a ProPublica Illinois investigation found.

Youth Culture

Kids Who Cut…And a Helpful Handout…by Walt Mueller (CPYU)

But what was known about cutting in the early 90s was this: It was happening more frequently. It seemed to be launched as a thought or idea without outside provocation. It was usually engaged in alone for the first time by 13 or 14-year-old girls who simply had a desire to slice themselves as a result of overbearing emotional pain. Few people were doing it with the goal of taking their lives. Among those who cut, there was quite often an early experience of being victimized by sexual abuse. Once they cut, they felt better. Consequently, they cut again and again, leading to more frequent and severe episodes in an effort to achieve the end of emotional relief.

Three Places We Look For Fulfillment (And Three Reasons Christ Is Better) by Hannah Wilson (The Rebelution)

Have you ever experienced that empty feeling? That hollow ache in your heart? That longing for something more? I have too. That emptiness is called unfulfillment. Seeking fulfillment by way of the world is one of the most draining pursuits. I used to constantly seek fulfillment the worlds way. Eventually, I discovered a world-shattering truth: Only a close-relationship with Jesus can grant satisfying eternal fulfillment.

When “Youre Adopted” Is Used As An Insult by Ashley Fetters (The Atlantic)

I don’t remember exactly how old I was the first time I heard one of my classmates hurl “Youre adopted” at another as an insult. But I was old enough to know two things: First, that my parentsprocess of adopting me was long, complicated, and emotionally exhausting—not to mention expensive; and second, that some kidsparents euphemistically called them “surprises.” To my young mind, being adopted meant being desperately wanted and prayed for; some of my friends had little siblings who joined their families purely by accident, but I was a long-awaited miracle. So when I heard a kid my own age sneer at a classmate, “Youre adopted,” I was bewildered.

Ministry Skills

5 Dying Trends in Youth Ministry by Dan McPherson (Youth Specialties)

There seems to be a growing understanding that youth ministry is something that takes time and intentionality to develop. A solid youth ministry struggles to survive or maintain health when it experiences high turnover and constant questions over leadership. In my personal experience, the students who were in high school both under me and my predecessors leadership had a hard time trusting and jumping all in. Students crave consistency and for that reason the up-and-coming trend will be longer stints in youth ministry with less turnover, which in my humble opinion is a very good thing!

The Crucial Difference Between Law and Gospel for the Christian Life by Michael Horton (Core Christianity)

The church father Augustine defined sin as being “curved in” on ourselves. While imperatives (including purposes) tend by themselves to make us more “curved in” on ourselves (either self-confidence or self-despair), only Gods promise can drive us out of ourselves and our own programs for acceptance before ourselves, other people, and God. While the Christian life according to scripture is purpose-directed, it is promise-driven. Both of our passages-Genesis 15 and Romans 4-bring this point home powerfully.

Turn The Team Youre Stuck With Into The Team You Want (10 Steps For Church Leaders) by Karl Vaters (CTs Pivot)

Its increasingly popular for church leadership experts to tell us that we need to get a good team together to give us the best chance at building a healthy ministry. But in a lot of churches theres very little if any choice about who we have to work with.

Rooteds Two Most-Read of July

Singing the Gospel: Three Questions for Worship Song Selection by Noah Frank

Whether you are a professional musician or a youth pastor simply trying to organize your student worship times, as a song selector you have the weighty privilege of choosing words to put into the mouths of your students. It is imperative that those words are true, clear, understandable, and gospel-rich, meaning they reflect the way God has saved sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The songs we sing have the capacity to communicate love and truth—or ambiguity and confusion. So where do we begin as we filter through the oceans (pun intended) of readily available worship music?

Student Series: Pursuing God In a World Full of People to Please by Lilly Gilbert

Chasing the approval of others day after day is tiring and unfulfilling. It took me so long to realize that, and I still struggle with it often. I constantly have to remind myself that the Lord is not calling us to worldly perfection. God is calling us to actively pursue him and pursue a relationship with him, but we cannot pursue both God and the approval of the world at the same time.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds July Honorable Mention)

Dear Youth Minister, You Need Help. Ask for it. by Rebecca Lankford

Crying out for help out of our true desperation means accepting the finitude of our flesh. It requires a humbling to seek the Lords aid when we have run out of ways to help ourselves. It is therefore often unpleasant and difficult to do. Still, asking for help is not only biblical, but also an essential tool in developing our ministries. Above all, it offers us an opportunity to see the total sufficiency of our true Helper.

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