Rooted’s Top Ten of May 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

George Floyd, a Central Park 911 Call, and all the Places Without Cameras by Ed Stetzer and Laurie Nichols (Christianity Today) 

“When someone asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” the answer is always a resounding yes. How this plays out varies. We yell and advocate. We hit record and document. We use our platforms and our voices to speak for our friends who live in fear because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. We are all George Floyd’s keeper. And Christian Cooper’s keeper. We are all bound to each other because we are all made in the image of God.”

Making Room for Spiritually Hungry Students by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

“Some churches and adults will question your approach because they believe the old formula of lots of fun and a little God is just common sense. It’s ok for them to question, but you can’t let it keep you from diving deep with students. A new paradigm will only be created if youth workers take risks and break out of the watered-down youth ministry.”

Partnering with Parents

How to Turn Repentance into a Non-Apology Apology by Sam Alberry (TGC)

if we’re trying to express contrition, while actually remaining defensive in our heart, we are actually failing to repent. True repentance is deep sorrow, not an appearance of sorrow that doesn’t lead to any genuine change. A non-apology apology might defuse a situation with someone else; it will do nothing to get God off our case.”

High School and Middle School Parenting Forum by The Village Church (YouTube) 

“The element of wearing a ton of hats as a parent…there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that, all the responsibilities that come with being a parent in the normal world, in the normal rhythm. With quarantine, I’ve felt the pressure to be my best in every area when that’s just not reality.” 

Youth Culture

Meet the Covid Class of 2020 by John Branch and Campbell Robertson (New York Times) 

There may be no demographic as ill-equipped for isolation as high-school students in the spring of senior year. They buzz with energy. Sports teams, best friends, new relationships, going to the mall — social contact is an essential part of being a teenager. And yet isolation has been thrust upon them. Whatever communal novelty existed wore off long ago.”

3 Changes You Need to Know About Young People as You Minister During (and After) the Pandemic by Tyler Greenway (Fuller Youth Institute) 

We can also address anxiety, depression, and loneliness. We may need to check in frequently with young people as they navigate new social realities. Interactions with friends, family, and church have shifted. The future feels uncertain. In the midst of these shifts and uncertainty, we are on the frontlines of response.”

The Misfortune of Graduating in 2020 by Joe Pinsker (The Atlantic)

“Researchers have shown that the economic scars of graduating into a recession—sustained higher rates of unemployment (for high-school graduates) and lower earnings (for everyone) compared with peers graduating as little as a year or two earlier or later—can last for as long as 10 or 15 years.“

Ministry Skills 

Letting Grief Come to Church by Clarissa Moll (Christianity Today)

“Many grieving people find church one of the hardest places to return to after loss. Some find uplifting worship services jarring in the face of their grief. Some feel uncomfortable circulating in large groups. Others discover their congregation ill-equipped to support their deep, ongoing needs of care. Changed forever by death, all struggle to navigate where they fit in a community that once knew them as someone else.”

The Coming Pastoral Crash by John Dobbs (Out Here Hope Remains)

“Some members might assume that since there are no current meetings at the church building the ministers have a lot of free time. When I talk to ministers, I get the opposite impression. They are doing things they are not accustomed to doing. There is an endless array of glitches when it comes to online ministry. More, the mind of a minister is constantly thinking about how to bless his people and community – and the response to COVID-19 makes this more difficult to navigate.”

My Message to Graduating Seniors by Andy Blanks (YM360)

“Summing it up in one verse: Matthew 5:17, “let your light shine before all men that they may see your good deeds and praise the father in heaven.” I end by challenging graduating seniors to let their life be such a radiant light in which people will see them and know they are different and know the difference in them is Christ, and that difference draws them to the Lord.”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of May

“Reopening” Your Youth Ministry: Questions to Consider by Kendall Conner (Rooted)

“While I cannot give you a hard-and-fast framework, I can first remind you of our foundation. In Christ, no wave or wind can destroy those who have built their lives upon His Word, where we are offered hope, life, and the promise of redemption and rescue. Holding fast to this our sure foundation, my prayer is that we would not merely rush to “return” to life as normal.”

Dear Youth Minister of a COVID-19 Senior by Chelsea Kingston Erickson (Rooted)

“More than anything right now, perhaps our students and we ourselves need to be reminded of the grand Story of a God who comes to rescue a people for Himself and to dwell with them forever.”

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

What I would Say to a Student Struggling with Body Image by Liz Edrington (Rooted)

And I was left with the reminder that my own beauty isn’t up for defining by a culture that tells me I need to have a thigh gap: it is given to me and seen by the One who makes all things beautiful. He is the One ever-at-work, healing our relationship with our bodies and our vision of ourselves and of others – thanks be to God.”


Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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