Top Ten of June 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

The Indescribable Joy of Loving the Church God Called You to Serve by Karl Vaters (CTs Pivot)

You dont have to prove your worth. You dont have to justify your calling. You dont have to see constant numerical increase. You dont have to be someone youre not. You have value. To God and his church.

4 Things Teens Need From Your Church by Sara Barratt

Instead of undiluted biblical truths and concrete theology, many are fed a watered-down message. They’re entertained at youth group and isolated from older, wiser Christ-followers. They’re drawn in with pizza parties, games, and programs, but leave with the burning issues of their hearts still unanswered. The games and good times were never what kept me in church or helped me as I battled the tumultuous struggles of my teenage years. Instead, it was the gospel-drenched truth that kept me coming back.

Partnering with Parents

Grandparents: The New Parent Ministry by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

Weve got to remember that ministering to students who are being raised by grandparents is different than ministering to students being raised by their biological parents. These differences are subtle but theyre really important for us to know as youth workers.

Help! My Teen Doesnt Want to Attend Church by Lindsey Carlson (TGC)

It’s Sunday morning and the buzzing alarm signals the beginning of an all-too-familiar battle: Your teenager has let you know in no uncertain terms that she doesn’t want to go to church. Tossing back the covers, you mentally prepare to cajole, bargain, and plead her begrudgingly from bed to car, for what will likely be a very unpleasant ride to Sunday worship.

Happy Lord’s Day.

Alone: The Decline of the Family Has Unleashed An Epidemic of Loneliness by Kay S. Hymowitz

It’s worth mapping out one major cause that is simultaneously so obvious and so uncomfortable that loneliness observers tend to mention it only in passing. I’m talking, of course, about family breakdown. At this point, the consequences of family volatility are an evergreen topic when it comes to children; this remains the subject of countless papers and conferences. Now, we should take account of how deeply the changes in family life of the past 50-odd years are intertwined with the flagging well-being of so many adults and communities.

Youth Culture

What “Always Be My Maybe” Understands About Making An Asian-American Rom-Com by Jiayang Fan (The New Yorker)

I watched “Always Be My Maybe” alone in a theatre in Manhattan, acutely aware that this was a mainstream movie of Americas favorite variety—the rom-com—and of the fact that a multi-ethnic audience had sat down to watch two Asian leads fall in love. More than anything else, it was the films depictions of growing up in the U.S. in an Asian home that made my heart yelp: the inviolable ritual of removing shoes before entering a house; the plastic-covered furniture in Sasha’s parents’ home, which so resembled my own childhood living room. To watch these mundane, culturally specific details exposed on the big screen—the very things that I and many Asian-American kids once wanted to hide—felt quietly radical.

The Jonas Brothers, “The Bachelor,” and Our Cultures Rejection of Sexual Purity by Gabriella Siefert (CTs Exchange)

Purity rings. The Jonas Brothers wore purity rings. A symbol of sexual abstinence in Christian communities, most associate purity rings with a persons decision to save sex for marriage. But from the moment these three clean-cut pastors kids stepped on their first Disney stage, it was clear the media could not wait to pounce. As Nick later came to realize, the rings quickly became “a defining factor of who [they] were as a band.” The brothers, from an early age, were well aware of the mockery being made of them across the country.

The ‘EuphoriaTeenagers Are Wild. But Most Teenagers Are Tame. by Margot Sanger-Katz and Aaron E. Carroll (New York Times)

You wouldnt know it from “Euphoria,” but todays teenagers drink less than their parentsgeneration did. They smoke less, and they use fewer hard drugs. They get in fewer car accidents and fewer physical fights. They are less likely to drop out of high school, less likely to have sex, and less likely to become pregnant. They commit fewer crimes. They even wear bike helmets.

Ministry Skills

The Most Epic Bible Study of All Time by Garrett Kell (TGC)

The disciples were baffled that this mysterious man hadnt heard of all that had happened in Jerusalem. As readers, were baffled they cant see whom theyre speaking with! In mercy, Jesus opened the Scriptures and began what must have been the most epic Bible study of all time, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Lets imagine what he may have said.

8 New and Notable Books for June by Tim Challies (Challies)

Here are the new and notable books that appeared in my mailbox over the last month or so. In each case, Ive included the publishers description to give you a sense of what its all about. Youll find a good mix here—some for kids, some for teens, and some for everyone else.

Rooteds Two Most-Read of June

Why Youth Ministries Should Foster More Male-Female Friendships by Mac Harris

Of course, there is nothing wrong with a little bro time or a womens study – these are good and necessary things as there are subjects that men can and should only discuss with other men, and vice versa. But if the only interactions between guys and girls happens in a classroom, at a party, or in a romantic context, the church is failing to teach these kids to be members of the same body, the body of Christs Church.

Four Ways Our “Biblical Masculinity” Talks Need to Change by Kendal Conner and Seth Stewart

Neither our male nor female teens will become the the image bearers they were designed to be, or the men and women they want to be by attending a couple Guys/Girls nights. We should expect that our boys will learn most about their manhood once they learn to engage in vibrant, servant-hearted, non-romantic relationships with their sisters in Christ.

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

Spiritual Broccoli and Spiritual Pizza Parties by Dan Montgomery

Gods word is food. What God gives us to eat is pleasant to the sight and good for eating. If this is true about Gods word, what does it say about Bible teachers? I suppose it makes us kind of like cooks. But what kind of cook? When I first started in Youth Ministry, I was prepared to serve broccoli. I was prepared to be the long-suffering mother presenting a healthy dinner to a less than excited audience. Now, I am learning how to be the restaurant cook, helping diners explore and enjoy new foods of their own choosing.

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