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.
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 isn’t a Hallmark story. They didn’t 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 didn’t quit. I was their longest serving teacher.
by Josh Weidmann (TGC)
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
by Mike McGarry (Youth Pastor Theologian)
What about students who used to attend, but haven’t come to anything in years? What about students who come to big events, but not regular programming? In general, it’s 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 who’ve been absent, “Your belonging here has been forfeited.” For a ministry that builds around the gospel, that’s 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.
by Will Ryan (Mockingbird)
I hope you realize that what you’ve 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” won’t make God love you less.
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
by Tatum Hunter (Washington Post)
This article offers a sneak peek into The Open Generation (releasing late 2022), highlighting new data related to global teens’ ideas about Jesus. Barna and our partners will continue to explore this topic, as well as teens’ engagement with the Bible and motivation toward justice, through a series of reports and webcasts.
by Andy Naselli (Andy Naselli Blog)
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 CBMW’s journal Eikon.
by Rebecca McLaughlin (TGC)
“Why didn’t 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 “I’m not really sure.” Part of my job as a parent is being honest when I don’t know. But when she asked this question, I just smiled and said, “He did.”
Rooted’s Two Most-Read of May
by Kyle Hoffsmith
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.
by Mary Madeline Schumpert
You might think that I’ve forgotten you—hung you on the dusty shelves of my teenage mind and shut the closet door. You might be tempted to believe I’ve forgotten all the trips you took us on, the countless fire-side devotionals. Maybe you think I didn’t notice all the Spirit-led prayers and the tangible means of grace you poured into me as a teenager. Maybe it seems that I’ve 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 didn’t notice, but I did. You might think I’ve forgotten, but I haven’t.
In Case You Missed It (Rooted’s May Honorable Mention)
by Ben Birdsong
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.