Rooted Ministry’s Top 10: March 2016

We’ve scoured youth ministry blogs and news sites to find the most helpful articles from March that will strengthen and encourage your ministry to students. Most (but not all) of these articles come from a Christian perspective and we believe there are nuggets of wisdom to glean from each of them. If you know of an article you think we’ve missed this month, please link it in the comment section below! 

Without further ado, here are the Top 10 for February 2016, arranged only by subject! 

Youth Development

Adolescents: Not Just a Modern Concern by Crystal Kirgiss (Princeton’s Institute for Youth Ministry)

“Even hundreds of years ago, long before the Industrial Revolution and the advent of American high schools, preachers understood that adolescents (those aged 14 though 21 or 25, according to dictionaries going back as far as the 1500s) were at a unique stage of development that required equally unique interactions and responses from their spiritual mentors.”

How Can I Help Seniors Navigate the College Choice Dilemma? by Dejah Greene (Fuller Youth Institute) 

“At a time in life when these young people are just beginning to discover who they are, they are presented with the challenge to make a decision that seems to carry the weight of the rest of their lives. While adults know that college choice does not determine a young person’s fate, our questions and expectations can sure add to that feeling. So as parents, youth leaders, and adult friends, we have the opportunity to encourage students to approach this challenge with grace, faith, and wisdom. Here are some suggestions that may help you point them toward God as they wrestle with this big decision.”

Ministry Skills

11 Signs You’re Burning Out by Jen Bradbury (Download Youth Ministry)

“There are a few times a year when I hit a ministry slump: January / February and then again in August…. In both cases, exhaustion contributes to my slump. I enter January exhausted from the holidays only to then go full-throttle into two of my busiest months of the year. In August, I’m exhausted – emotionally and physically – from our summer trips. Yet, I know I can’t slow down because the start of fall programming looms before me.”

The Secret to Asking Students Great Questions by Tarynn Seeman (LeaderTreks)

“While it’s important to train adult leaders in the specific second-level questions they can be asking students (for example, How would you describe your relationship with your parents? What are your fears about the future? What are you struggling with in your walk with God?), it’s more valuable to develop the character of the adults in our ministries. By only training on specific questions, we risk communicating to our adult leaders that there is a golden question or a ten-step process that will guarantee them success in every conversation.”

The Role (and Danger) of Fun in Youth Ministry by Mike McGarry (Crosswalking)

“In some youth ministry communities, fun and games is becoming a four-letter word: avoided, forbidden, wrong. As if fun is something that no serious youth worker would encourage. …Fun is not the enemy. I don’t know anyone who thinks it is. But I do know a lot of people who are suspicious of ‘too much fun.’”

Biblical Depth

Do You Have the Batman or Superman View of Jesus by Greg Stier (Dare2Share)

“These Scriptures make it crystal clear that both the Superman view of Jesus (God dressed up as human) and the Batman view (an exceptional human but not God) are both wrong. …So what’s the best view of Jesus? (Don’t worry I’m not going to suggest Aquaman!) The Biblical view is that Jesus was and is a whole different kind of superhero.” 

Have You Been All Wrong About Spiritual Disciplines? by Andy Blanks (YM360)

“Most of us inadvertently talk about spiritual disciplines/habits as the goal themselves. While we may not do it intentionally, we set up spiritual habits as the place we want our students to arrive. We think to ourselves, and maybe even communicate to students, that the goal is for them to regularly engage with the Bible, and pray, and worship, and serve, and so on.”

Partnering with Parents

Fathers… Lest You Think Your Actions Don’t Count… by Walt Mueller (CPYU) 

“Dad, your presence has been ordained by God. Your power in the life of your kids is beyond comprehension. Perhaps it’s not until a father chooses to be gone that we realize just how important a father truly is.”

The Hidden Danger in Dropping ‘Youth Ministry’ for a ‘Family Ministry’ Approach by Greg Stier (Dare2Share)

“So what’s the danger of dropping youth ministry for a family ministry approach? It’s not just the fact that many of our teenagers come from unbelieving or spiritually immature families. It’s that, far too often, once this switch takes place the youth ministry goes from externally focused to internally focused.”

From Silos to One Family Ministry by Nick Belvins (Orange Leaders Blog)

“When I attended church as a kid and as a teen, “family ministry” was a phrase you never heard. Ministry for children was mostly about Sunday School while Youth Ministry was popular, thriving, and typically ran like a completely separate entity. My experience attending the same church as a kid, as a student, and as an adult were all very different. It was all good, but very distinct.”

The Two Most-Read Articles of March on the Rooted Blog:

Gospel Astonished Parenting by Rob Yancey (Rooted)

“More important than whether or not my kids find church engaging or exciting, is whether or not they are convinced that I find the gospel astonishing. My boys must see and believe that their mom and dad find the grace that has been shown to them radical, extravagant, life-changing…outright astonishing.” 

Partnering with Parents: Give Them Some Space by Shaun McDonald (Rooted)

“Let me tell you in hindsight what made this group beautiful: the involvement of parents. There were at least four parents that oversaw this group alongside the pastor. They were a group of loving, committed, and mature parents that wanted to see their youth grow in Christ. So, what did I do? What would any wise 26-year-old young man do? I got rid of them.” 

In Case You Missed it (Rooted’s March Honorable Mention):

You Should Instagram That: Why Social Media is for More than Announcements by Sarah Nixon (Rooted)

“Often when I post more serious Instagram posts or Tweets, I have students respond that what I said is exactly what the Lord is teaching them too, or that they needed to hear what I wrote that day. These comments are wide open doors for me to walk through with ease. By their comments, their replies, or their retweets, they invite further conversation. They invite me to say ‘I’d love to get coffee to talk about this’ and ‘Tell me more.’”

Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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