Rooted’s Top Ten of February 2020

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. (The opinions presented in these articles do not necessarily reflect the position of Rooted.) If you find an article that could speak to the Rooted community, please share it in the comment section below.

Gospel-Centered Ministry

The Cross Changes Everything by Fred Sanders (Christianity Today)
Whenever we say anything about the Cross, we are almost always using a figure of speech called metonymy. A word functions as a metonym when we use it to refer to something else, usually something larger to which it is closely related. When Paul says he boasts only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world(Gal. 6:14), he is using one thing (a large, wooden object used for executions) to refer to something else: the death of Jesus and its effect in reconciling us to God.

Church Song is Corporate Preaching by Eric Schumacher (For the Church)
Every Christianmen, women, and childrenhas the responsibility to teach and admonish every other Christian in the church. And how is this done? The gospel indwells God’s people through singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.’”

Partnering with Parents

Want Your Kids to Stay Christian? Double Down on Home Discipleship by Lyman Stone (Christianity Today)
Although Christians in China are facing a special tribulation today, the same principles apply to those living in the States and elsewhere. In times of both severe crisis (think Hurricane Katrina victims stuck in the Superdome) and also mundane inconvenience (think of the odd snow day or sick day), we can seize the opportunity for the most important education of all, more essential than literacy, more useful than math, more formative than history: catechesis!

The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake by David Brooks (The Atlantic)
If you want to summarize the changes in family structure over the past century, the truest thing to say is this: Weve made life freer for individuals and more unstable for families. Weve made life better for adults but worse for children. Weve moved from big, interconnected, and extended families, which helped protect the most vulnerable people in society from the shocks of life, to smaller, detached nuclear families (a married couple and their children), which give the most privileged people in society room to maximize their talents and expand their options.

Naming and Navigating Depression in the Lives of Teenagers by Rhett Smith (Fuller Youth Institute)
Most parents can paint a picture that describe their teenagers behavior as (though not limited to) moping around the house, spending inordinate amounts of time alone in their room, seeming emotionally short-fused in verbal tone and responses, and generally refusing to engage in family activities. These are some of the things that often stand out when concerns begin to creep up about depression. The problem, of course, is that most of us can recall times in our adolescent years when we mimicked similar behavior, and we may have not been depressed.

Youth Culture 

Mental Health Memes: Gen Zs Preferred Therapist (Axis)
As funny and ridiculous as memes can be, some Gen Zers have found a unique use for them: to express their feelings, emotions, and mental states as part of dealing with their mental health.

Oh No, They’ve Come Up With Another Generation Label by Joe Pinsker (The Atlantic)

The cutoff for being born into Generation X was about 1980, the cutoff for Generation Y (a.k.a. the Millennials) was about 1996, and the cutoff for Generation Z was about 2010. What should the next batch of babies be calledwhat comes after Z? 

Ministry Skills

Why Does God Care Who I Sleep With? By Scott Corbin (TGC)
The Christian sexual ethic is fundamentally shaped by this reality: the husband or the wife arent ends in themselves, given only for their pleasure and whims. They are Gods image-bearers to cherish. 

Why Students Don’t Get Much Out of Large Group Talks by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)
s teaching time again. You step up in front of the students, grab the microphone, and clear your throat. You feel especially good about this lesson because the topic could be life changing for the students who really listen. Yesterday you worked harder than normal to find amazing illustrations, and you decided to tell a heart-breaking story from your own life to bring things home.

8 Reasons Youth Ministers Should Attend Seminary by Tim Gough (TGC)
Youth ministers aren’t just playing at ministry.They work with real persons, not practice dummies. Genuine pastoral ministry happens in Christian youth work, which makes seminary a serious option. Its worth asking, then, another question: why would you not train?

Black History Month

Black History Recommendations by Dominique Gilliard, The Witness
“Here’s a list of Black History recommendations that will take more than a month to engage. There are resources listed for adults, high schoolers, middle schoolers, and elementary school students. There is also a Black History soundtrack that lyrically roots this learning in lament, resilience, resistance, pride, and celebration because our history (and present) is a prophetic mixture of these elements.”

Rooteds Two Most-Read of February

Why I Love Discipling Students Through This Hopeless Babylon by Seth Stewart

Pundits talk about losing a generationto their cell phones. The sociologist Jean Twenge reports that teens are on the verge of the largest mental health crisis in decades.Even Christian leaders say Generation Z represents the least reached, most secular and selfish generation to date. Ive heard phrases like: over-medicated, over-diagnosed, pornified, over-programmed and coddled to describe our churchs teens. Maybe some of those things are true. But that doesnt make me turn up my nose at my youth culture, or despair about student ministry. In fact, it makes me profoundly hopeful.

First Books of the Bible for Young Christians to Read by Cameron Cole
Young Christians either in terms of their age or the recency of their conversion understand they should read the Bible, and even desire to. A major problem they encounter is knowing where to start. What are the best books of the Bible for young Christians to start with? All of Scripture is Gods authoritative, inspired Word, but some books are more conducive for a young Christians first reading of the Bible than others.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds February Honorable Mention)

The Thorn As a Gift: A Youth Leaders Unexpected Offering by Liz Edrington
Carolines willingness to reveal some of the inflexible realities, fears, and inconveniences of living with a chronic disease while following Jesus set the tone for honest conversation about living under Christs rule in a broken world. Her generous offering of her experience opened the door for the girls to talk about what was hard in their lives, which included everything from disappointments with crushes to some deeply impacting trauma. It also evoked gratitude for things theyd never considered (such as being able to wake up and immediately go to the kitchen to eat breakfast).



Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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