Rooted’s Top Ten of June 2024

Welcome to Rooted’s Top Ten, a curated reading list for youth ministers. Each month we find ten articles, and sometimes videos or podcasts, from various sources that we believe will encourage you in your ministry to teenagers 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.) For more articles to share with the parents in your ministry, make sure to check out our Parent Top Ten, which runs every-other month.

If you find an article that could educate, equip, or encourage the Rooted community, please email the editor at chelsea@rootedministry.com.

Gospel-Centered

Rites of Passage Can Help Boys Become Men by Mark Perkins (Christianity Today)

In asking how all of us, especially our boys, can grow into Christian maturity, we should start by considering how our Lord left his boyhood behind in order to be about his Father’s business.

The Precious Perfection of Christ: How Jesus Paves Our Way to God by Jared Compton (Desiring God) 

Far from being an embarrassing subplot in God’s grand story, Jesus’s perfection is the story’s fitting and surprising climax. It’s the reason we can call God’s story good. It’s the way — the only way — we can reach the story’s end. How precious indeed is Jesus’s perfection.

‘Inside Out 2’ Puts Anxiety in Its Place by J. Michael Jordan (Christianity Today)

I also want them to experience this “anxiety” about vocation and mission and living for the Lord in the context of the gospel’s certainty. I want them to rest in God’s love for all people and for each of them. I want them to be anxious about nothing in Paul’s positive sense, knowing they ultimately can entrust their striving to the one who cares the most of all, casting their concerns upon him through a life of humble prayer (1 Pet. 5:6–7).

Partnering with Parents 

Why Do Parents Obsess Over Kids’ Athletics? By Kathryn Jezer-Morton (The Cut)

I have always suspected that by getting their kids involved in demanding sports schedules, some parents are willingly trading their free time for an ironclad peace of mind that is hard to find anywhere else. When you spend your weekends ferrying your children to their activities (and this goes beyonds sports — chess team, anyone?), you may sacrifice time for your own pursuits, but you can also silence any nagging sense that you weren’t showing up as a parent.

Parents, Please Turn Off Your Phones by Justin Coulson (Institute for Family Studies)
As parents, we are addicted. We won’t admit to it in parenting workshops. But it’s a fact. Our phones have a greater claim on our attention than our children.

Youth Culture

Why Youth Leave the Church: 10 Surprising Reasons Teens Disappear by Marc Yoder (Christianity Today)

I spend a lot of time with these young people, and it takes very little to get them to vent. I’m happy to listen in coffee shops and buy a few lunches. Below are the most common thoughts I’ve compiled from dozens of conversations about why youth leave the church. I hope some make you angry—not at the message but at the failure of our pragmatic replacement of Jesus’ gospel with an Americanized gospel of glory.

A Parent’s Guide To Teen Slang (2024 Update) by Axis

Keeping up with latest teen slang terms is nearly impossible. New words are constantly being introduced, thanks to the influence of music, the Internet, apps, and celebrities (not to mention regional vernacular!). You may feel overwhelmed and lost when listening to your children/ grandchildren speaking, and it’ll only get worse when reading social media posts and hashtags. Use this guide as a reference for what’s widely popular right now in order to translate what teens are saying.

Ministry Skills

What I Wish You Understood About the Ethnic-Specific Church, Part 1 by Daniel K. Eng (SOLA Network)

As we interacted with those who questioned our decision, we identified a number of false notions that are often held about the ethnic-specific church. Here, I will seek to clarify some misunderstandings and correct some misconceptions about the ethnic-specfic church.

3 Essential questions to help teens make meaning after your summer mission trip by Kara Powell (Fuller Youth Institute)

As you lead and listen with your students this summer, remember: asking what God is inviting us into does not mean jumping to a “God answer” for every situation—or anything that may sound trite or dismissive of the tough situations they are navigating. Well-intended but poorly timed meaning-making in the midst of the poverty and trauma they observe or feel during summer service can end up feeling like we’re dragging them down rather than coming alongside to buoy them up. So be ready to adapt your plan as you serve alongside and support your students.

12 Easy Ways to Improve Your Listening by Blake Glosson (FullyKnownFullyLoved) 

Good listeners are a heavenly respite in a world full of chronically under-encouraged and under-heard people. Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Applying Jesus’s words to conversations, we might say, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you listen to one another.”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of June

Rethinking Relational Discipleship (Confessions of a Struggling Youth Minister) by Caleb Creel

We follow Jesus’ model as we step into the lives of students as ministers of the gospel.

Wondering What to Teach at Youth Group? Give Teenagers God’s Word by Josh Hussung

When you start with God’s Word, and teach it faithfully, you give your students a gift.

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

The Multi-Directional Blessing of Integenerational Integration by Connie Nelson 

When you include older aunties and uncles in your ministry, the blessings multiply multi-directionally.