Rooted’s Top Ten of May 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

Showing Up Mattered by Kraig Keck (Kraig Keck Blog)

They were a rambunctious lot: interrupting me, not listening, intentionally creating distractions, speaking out of turn, trying to sidetrack me—it seemed they were purposely trying to annoy me. I continued to invest in them primarily on Sunday mornings, but I also went to Winter Retreat Camp with them as their counselor (they loved shooting me with paintballs!). We did work days and other teen activities together. I was their teacher for 7th, 8th, and one half of 9th grade. By that time I was done with seminary and was moving away to my first ministry. This isnt a Hallmark story. They didnt come up and hug me on my last day, and there are a few whose lives since then have proved they were never believers. But they knew that I didnt quit. I was their longest serving teacher.

My own five children are now old enough to watch the news and notice when a “breaking news” alert ominously comes across the ticker, or shows up on their phone… As parents, we need to be ready for these conversations. Here are four talking points to consider when your kids ask questions about mass shootings.

This Is the Southern Baptist Apocalypse by Russell Moore (Christianity Today) 

Allegations of sexual violence and assault were placed, the report concludes, in a secret file in the SBC Nashville headquarters. It held over 700 cases. Not only was nothing done to stop these predators from continuing their hellish crimes, staff members were reportedly told not to even engage those asking about how to stop their child from being sexually violated by a minister. Rather than a database to protect sexual abuse victims, the report reveals that these leaders had a database to protect themselves.

For High School Graduates

Give Graduates the Gospel by Mike McGarry (Youth Pastor Theologian)

What about students who used to attend, but havent come to anything in years? What about students who come to big events, but not regular programming? In general, its best to err on the side of gracious inclusion. If we only include students who are still currently involved at time of graduation then we implicitly communicate to students whove been absent, Your belonging here has been forfeited.” For a ministry that builds around the gospel, thats a terrible message to send as graduates consider the role of the church in their lives moving forward. If they or their families consider your church their church,” and if they have ever participated enough to not be considered a visitor – then you should include them.

I hope you realize that what youve done is a major accomplishment. It is important. It is good. It is worthy of celebration.

But it will not make God love you more. And the failures, sufferings, and pain you encounter out there in the real world” wont make God love you less.

The Most Important Question for Graduates by Trevor Nashleanas (TGC)

Paul’s primary concern for believers everywhere is who we become in Christ. For graduating seniors (and all Christians), this means the most important thing about you isn’t what you do for a living, where you live, or how much you accomplish in life. The most important thing about you is who you are, and who you are becoming, in Christ.

Partnering with Parents

McKenna recommends that before allowing kids to download any new app, parents use it themselves for seven full days to get a sense of any safety concerns. Read the privacy policy. Use it for seven straight days like they would, and then ask yourself, Is my son or daughter, with their maturity, ready?Because parents and guardians are in the best position to know their child,” he said.

Youth Culture

This article offers a sneak peek into The Open Generation (releasing late 2022), highlighting new data related to global teensideas about Jesus. Barna and our partners will continue to explore this topic, as well as teensengagement with the Bible and motivation toward justice, through a series of reports and webcasts.

In summer 2021 I prepared a talk for the young adults in my church on resources that have helped me make sense of our pagan culture. I recently updated that for the Spring 2022 issue of CBMWs journal Eikon.

Ministry Skills

Did Jesus Have Female Disciples? by Rebecca McLaughlin (TGC)

Why didnt Jesus have any women disciples?” My 9-year-old, Eliza, always asks the hardest questions, and they come rapid fire. Quite often, when she starts her inquisition, I begin with Im not really sure.” Part of my job as a parent is being honest when I dont know. But when she asked this question, I just smiled and said, He did.”

Rooteds Two Most-Read of May

Solid and biblically rich songs are an important way to catechize students as it helps them memorize biblical truth set to music. Allow me to offer three suggestions for catechizing students through song.

You might think that Ive forgotten you—hung you on the dusty shelves of my teenage mind and shut the closet door. You might be tempted to believe Ive forgotten all the trips you took us on, the countless fire-side devotionals. Maybe you think I didnt notice all the Spirit-led prayers and the tangible means of grace you poured into me as a teenager. Maybe it seems that Ive mentally disposed of the verses you had us memorize or the endless hours you spent relaying the gospel in a way that pierced the hearts of teenagers who were more worried about the cut of their jeans than the wreckage of their sins. You might think I didnt notice, but I did. You might think Ive forgotten, but I havent.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds May Honorable Mention)

As these three streams merged, I realized that gospel centrality was essential to biblical faithfulness in student ministry. By making the gospel the central message of the ministry, students would be drawn to find hope in Jesus and his work for them instead of their performance. Teaching would be exposing the truths of the text rather than using the text to Christianize” the latest idea. Ministry would be about getting to know students relationally than trying to entertain them systematically.

Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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