Rooted’s Top Ten of March 2023

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 speak to the Rooted community, please email the editor at

Gospel-Centered Ministry

Finding God in High School, College, and Beyond: An Interview with Author Izzy Koo by Izzy Koo and Soojin Park (Sola Network)

But at the end of the day, I think the same message holds true even in college, that people are just as broken and just as empty hear that, that they as they were in high school, and that Jesus is so just as necessary. 

Don’t Worry About Your Ministry Brand by Adam Slalom (GCD)

Paul makes it clear that it isn’t a personality or clever strategy that leads to gospel fruitfulness—it is God alone. If we’re not careful, we can communicate that our unique story and calling is somehow more special than the rest of the global church. This is when distinctives can turn into a brand mentality that skews our vision of God’s Kingdom

Partnering With Parents

Help! My Child Wants to Go to a Different Church’s Youth Group by Will Sandridge (TGC)

If your schedule has gotten in the way of your child participating in church life, consider removing good things from your schedule to invest in the eternal good of your local church. Your schedule is one of the clearest ways you communicate priorities to your kids, so prioritize life with the body over lesser things.

5 Reminders As You Make Your College Decisions by Aimee Joseph (Core Christianity)

When God prohibits us from doing something we desired or seems to hinder a pathway we longed to take, he does so with eternal and trustworthy purposes even when we cannot see them When he leads us to places we did not expect or plan, he does so in love.

Parent, Meet Your Teen by Paul David Tripp (TGC)

We must settle for nothing less than being instruments in the hands of God, who’s doing important things in the lives of our children. Don’t get sucked in. Don’t get locked out. Don’t engage in interpersonal war. Faithfully bring sweet words of wisdom and loving words of correction. Hold what’s valuable before your teenager and trust God to produce a love for truth in his or her heart.

Youth Culture

Gen Z News Consumption: TikTok Is Becoming Gen Z’s Google by Kevin Tran (Morning Consult)

The latest Morning Consult data shows that the share of Gen Z adults who start researching major news events on Google Search is lower than that of the general population. A significant slice of Gen Z adults is instead heading to the platform that is de rigueur among its cohort — TikTok — for news.

Why the Mental Health of Liberal Girls Sank First and Fastest by Jonathan Haidt (After Babel)

As Gen Z women became more progressive and more involved in political activism in the 2010s, it seems to have changed them psychologically. It wasn’t just that their locus of control shifted toward external—that happened to all subsets of Gen Z.  Rather, young liberals (including young men) seem to have taken into themselves the specific depressive cognitions and distorted ways of thinking that CBT is designed to expunge.

Ministry Skills

Is it Time to Quit ‘Quiet Time’? by Dre Johnson and Celina Durgin (Christianity Today)

The way daily quiet time is typically practiced today is unlikely to yield the fluency required to understand and apply biblical teaching. Only when devotional time is situated within a matrix of Scripture study habits can it regain its power to transform our thinking and our communities.

From Teen to Adult: Two Ways to Help High School Seniors Transition to Young Adulthood by Laura Atwater (Fuller Youth Institute)

The calling to walk alongside young people is no small task, especially when those young people are transitioning into a life stage that looks a little different than when we were their age. We minister to our high school seniors in their current context, yet we also keep their future selves in mind.

Should We Celebrate Baptism and the Lord’s Supper at Youth Group? by Will Sandridge (Youth Pastor Theologian)

We’re not churches, but we are a part of churches, and it matters that our students know this. So baptize lots of students and take the Lord’s Supper often, but do it with all of God’s people.

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of March

Incorporating ‘Whole-Brain Discipleship’ in Your Ministry by Ashley Chestnut 

By integrating biblical truth with right-hemisphere activities, you’ll better point students to the God who knows them, loves them, and desires them to come to him— both hemispheres included.

The Asbury University Movement: Talking About Revival With Teenagers by Skyler Flowers 

Teenagers have important questions about how God works and how we are to worship him—and the way we answer can help to shape our students as disciples, or can leave them feeling skeptical. Here are four talking points youth ministers should consider in conversations with students about Asbury and similar movements.

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

‘Father, Forgive Them”: Teaching Jesus’ Words of the Cross to Teenagers by Joey Turner 

We are free to radically love others at their worst because Christ has loved us at our worst. We can teach our students: Those who hurt you don’t know what they are doing, let’s ask that God would forgive them and open their eyes to see who Jesus really is, so that we may be sons of our Father who is in heaven.