Top Ten – October ‘18


Here are the top ten articles from the past month that can be of benefit to youth workers and parents in their ministry to teenagers. Some of these give explicit instruction on gospel-centered ministry, while others are included because there is a message of common grace that can help us in our ministries. If you find an article that could speak to the Rooted community, please share it in the comment section below.

Gospel Centered Ministry

The Loneliness of the Pastor-Theologian J. Todd Billings and Stephen Shaffer (Christianity Today)

“At a practical level, pastor-theologians know better than most that the urgent demands of ministry are precisely when theological reflection is most needed. Theology is about living before God in our true identity: in Christ, by the Spirit, as adopted children of the Father. Ongoing theological reflection enables the pastor to see the work of God more clearly and more fully…”

Young Christian: Give the Lord a Lot to Work With Tim Challies

“The teens and twenties—these are years that can be put to very good use or that can be squandered. These are years that can form the firm foundation of a life well-lived or the unsteady foundation of a life tragically wasted.”

Why it’s Urgent for the Church to Take Youth Ministry and Teenagers Seriously Greg Stier (Dare 2 Share)

“If you’re a pastor, church leader, youth leader or parent I am pleading for you to take youth ministry and teenagers seriously. I’m convinced that the right kind of youth ministry is necessary now more than ever before in our history as a nation.”

How Pastors Win (and Lose) Our Respect David Mathis (Desiring God)

“Carrying ourselves respectably should not be an act toward God to earn his favor, but a modest presentation toward others from a heart of love. True respectability is not a life-goal but a natural effect of self-control. It gives an external glimpse to others of the internal maturity God sees, and is himself working, in us. True dignity is not staged or put on. And when it is, it doesn’t take long to smell a fake.”

Partnering With Parents

10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Gaming Kara Powell, Art Bamford, Brad Griffin (Fuller Youth Institute)

“Video games regularly confound parents. We want to make good choices for our kids and help them make good choices for themselves, but the lines feel blurry and the options endless—especially with the ubiquity of gaming across console systems, computers, and mobile devices. Everywhere we turn, a new game is staring us down or lurking on the periphery of our homes and cars.”

Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Fortnite Frannie Ucciferri (Common Sense Media)

“The Fortnite frenzy seemed to come out of nowhere — almost as if it dropped from a party bus in the sky. And now many parents are taking notice of this rollicking game where players fight to the death. With Fortnite’s millions of players and sudden success, you might be wondering: What’s it all about — and is it OK for my kids?”

Mental Health + Students Interview with John Sloss (Youth Specialties)

“…it becomes vital for other systems of support to partner with families.  To the readers of this blog, that means involvement from more than just your individual youth ministry team of volunteers.  The support system student’s need involves every adult relationship that impacts the life of a student. Youth ministries must become facilitators of support systems throughout the church and community.  This is a partnership established on trust, not a competition. “

Youth Culture

Youth Ministry’s Crucial Cultural Mission Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

“As I look around at today’s youth culture, there are numerous aspects of adolescent life where our youth ministries must begin challenging and equipping kids to see how their beliefs speak to their behaviors. All of these are arenas where kids are able to speak and live their Gospel convictions to their peers.”

Teens Are Being Bullied ‘Constantly’ on Instagram Taylor Lorenz (The Atlantic)

“The velocity and size of the distribution mechanism allow rude comments or harassing images to go viral within hours. Like Twitter, Instagram makes it easy to set up new, anonymous profiles, which can be used specifically for trolling. Most importantly, many interactions on the app are hidden from the watchful eyes of parents and teachers, many of whom don’t understand the platform’s intricacies.”

Drake Breaks the Beatles’ Record for Most Top 10 Songs in a Year, Cementing His Inescapability Charles Holmes (Rolling Stone)

“With every song and video, released in a constant stream, his undeniable voice and practiced headshot-ready smirk hangs over the industry like a phantom. It won’t always be this, but for now it feels like it will last forever. The bars are occasionally stale, the flows keep getting recycled, the albums suffer from some bloat. Nevertheless, Drake has never been bigger commercially.”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of October

The Good Kids’ Gospel: Grace for the Students Who Don’t Seem to Need It Wayne Ingram (Rooted)

“Sometimes, we as a church view youth ministry as one of many things to involve students in that will shape them into productive adults. We subconsciously dream of students graduating with a 4.0 GPA, an athletic scholarship, and having never taken a drink or a smoke. Everyone, parents and community included, loves that kid. But what if we didn’t view our students like we did apples? What if we understood that the student who looks completely flawless to the naked eye, along with the one who seems littered with flaws, both needed Jesus in equal measure? And they both need him more than anything else in their lives.”

Daring to Just Preach the Gospel to Teenagers Arek O’Connell (Rooted)

“…what followed was the most fruitful night of ministry I’ve had in my entire life. Kids were crying as I echoed David Choi’s line from his Friday night talk, ‘God loves you so much that he’d rather die than not be with you.’ I told them that I can’t imagine how exhausted they were from the constant pressure to perform. I let them know that against the backdrop of that pressure, they could find rest in Jesus.”

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

What I Wish I’d Said Joe Gibbes (Rooted)

“At night, when the light is turned off, my garage looks awesome. It’s only when the light gets turned on that you can see what a mess it is. Our hearts are the same way. When we’re in the dark, we can’t see the mess. It’s normalized and unnoticed, even when we’re tripping over it. It is only the Light of Christ that exposes, then convicts, then cleans up the mess in our hearts.”


Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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