Rooted’s Top Ten of July 2022

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

If morality or ideology or healthy habits made life Christian, our approach would be simple: Try hard. Think straight. Do right. But faith is an offbeat path with practices that feel unnatural: Receive from God. Trust his Word. Follow him. Rest in Jesus. Most Christian parents find it harder to lead their families in that—in faith.

Five Gospel Onramps by Mike McGarry (Youth Pastor Theologian)

It can be difficult to know how to bring a conversation to the gospel without feeling gimmicky or like a bad salesman…These are onramps run along a few different intersections of the gospel because they echo a few key areas in our lives where the gospel gives life and hope.

Many youth ministries are content to state that Jesus is the only way to heaven, but they avoid addressing the urgent implications of this truth, particularly as it pertains to the unreached. Paul provides clarity on this issue in Romans 10:14, asking, How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”

Partnering with Parents

Praying for Our Kids by Walt Mueller (CPYU)

If I could go back and give my younger self some advice, I would earnestly advise that younger self to pray for my children in the same manner that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene the night before His death. The great English preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote that there are five aspects to the way Jesus prayed in Matthew 26:39 that we would do well to emulate. How might enlisting each of these aspects change the way you pray for your children?

Parents, Lets Pastor Our Children by Douglas A. Sweeney (TGC)

Most parents I know are often frustrated by their kids’ overloaded schedules. Most pastors are concerned about the ways in which coaches, music teachers, and others have crowded out the church. But is this dissatisfaction yielding change in our families’ commitments? Or are we inured to the status quo, content to blame others for our failure to center our kids’ lives on the Lord?

Youth Culture

Understanding who we are in Christ is critically important, but beginning a theology of identity with who we are leaves out the most important piece of the story—who God is.

He/Him please by Jesse Johnson (The Cripplegate)

Sometimes people want to be a different sex, or they feel like they are a different sex, but part of loving God is recognizing the reality that he made us male and female, and he did not make a mistake. We have doubts and sinful thoughts at times. But the existence of sinful thoughts does not mean that God made those thoughts, or that he approves of them. Rather, the existence of sin points us back to the gospel (Romans 7:11-14). 

Ministry Skills 

Recently I asked my 7th grader, Emmy, to tell me what she thinks all parents need to know about middle schoolers. And, shockingly enough, I wasnt met with immediate rejection.  Some of her answers I expected. Some I thought were pretty insightful. Others flat-out surprised me.  Heres what she said (in no particular order) and what I gleaned from her thoughts:

We envision a day when… The movement of the young out of the churches would be completely reversed. Children and youth in the church are equipped to see not only the beauty of the historic faith, but the deeply inadequate alternative identities, narratives, and answers provided by the culture.

One of your most important spiritual goals in life, therefore, should be to place yourself and your family in a church whose mission reflects the teaching and burdens of Scripture. Yet look closely. I can point you to four churches that post the same statements of faith on their websites. But walk into these four churches on a Sunday morning, or look at their budgets, or watch their pastorssocial media feeds, and youll discover these churches follow different playbooks.

Rooteds Two Most-Read of July

This is why, as a youth leader, I love studying the book of Ephesians with students. It is more than a short, encouraging letter with a few gospel nuggets tossed in. The book of Ephesians is a theologically-rich exhortation with the gospel as its foundation. Paul reminds the Ephesians that, as Gods children, the gospel does not simply inform their lives—it transforms their identity.

Through thanksgiving psalms, students learn to look naturally to God as the source of the goodness and grace in their own lives. God is the one at work. Our students should learn to pause and thank God for his work and goodness on display in their lives and those of others around them. Thanksgiving psalms give our students examples of how gratitude marks their lives as followers of Jesus because His goodness and grace are displayed in so many ways that they do not even recognize.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds July Honorable Mention)

No matter how alone we may feel, no believer is left to his or own devices…Not only does God know our pain, but he suffered depths we cannot comprehend. In Jesus, God himself became flesh. He faced unimaginable physical pain and torture (Mark 15). God endured this so that he could be with us, so that in him, we would never be alone. Youth leaders, we must remember God enters into the darkest valleys with us (Ps. 23). He is with us at all times. This is our hope through every trial.

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Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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