Rooted’s Top Ten of November 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

3 Ways We Can Disciple Students Through Song by Zach Cochran (ERLC)
We also believe that singing comes as a response to the gospel; our doxology follows our theology. Well spend an eternity in heaven singing Gods praises. But singing is not just reactive. Its also formative. Thats why Paul writes in another place, Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Col. 3:16).

Youth Ministry is More Than Entertainment by Derrick Brown (LeaderTreks)
What fruit comes from our games, fun trips, and events? Are we just entertaining the next generation? Are we focusing too much on fun and missing the Great Commission? Are we undervaluing the great command of Jesus to make disciples?

We Used to Ask Institutions to Form Us. Now They Must Affirm Us. by Brett McCracken (TGC)
The communityof social media is a disconnected mass of individuals wanting to be seen and heard, and rather uninterested in being formed. Its a space for public affirmation, not private growth; virtue signaling more than virtue cultivation. Especially for digital natives whove grown up in a world where having followers is more valuable than following a leader, and performance more appealing than membership, this “platform” approach to institutions is second nature. But its not healthy.

Partnering with Parents

Help Kids Behold the Point of Popular Culture by Stephen Burnett (TGC)
Jesus, however, has come to redeem rebel humans. He begins in our hearts, then works his transformation outward to our gift-enjoyments and our world. He makes originally good gifts holy again, by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4–5). As Christian parents engage popular culture with kids, we must know this gospel purpose. We also need to flesh out this worldview with specific questions. Here are five examples.

How to De-Stress Your Familys Pandemic Holidays by Kara Powell (Fuller Youth Institute)
But just because many of the things we look forward to during the holidays will look different this year doesnt mean that we cant still nurture our connection with loved ones and create meaningful moments. Here are four suggestions to help our families de-stress and keep disappointment at bay this pandemic holiday season.

What Quarantine Rhythms Should Families Make Permanent by Will Anderson (TGC)
Much of our freneticism, distractedness, and fatigue is self-inflicted. With good intentions, we load our family schedules beyond our bandwidth. Quarantine forced us to clear the calendar; in the days ahead its something well have to choose.

Youth Culture

Logan Paul Praises Harry Styles for Controversial Vogue Cover (Axis)

If you want to confront this issue with your teen, start by seeking Gods guidance. Confronting what it means to be a Christlike man or woman will help us understand God and ourselves better. Read Gods Word, pray, and meditate on these questions:

The Truth About Expressive Individualism by Carl R. Trueman (Crossway)
Expressive individualism is a term used by philosophers such as Charles Taylor to talk about the way we think about being selves in the present day. Expressive individualism particularly refers to the idea that in order to be fulfilled, in order to be an authentic person, in order to be genuinely me, I need to be able to express outwardly or perform publicly that which I feel I am inside. So expressive individualism in some ways overturns a lot of the notions of the self that previous generations may have held to.

Ministry Skills

Dont Overstate the Rewards of Sexual Faithfulness. Dont Understate Them Either. by Jen Pollock Michel (Christianity Today)
However well-intentioned purity culture might have been, it was also guilty of gross errors. It made Christian purity a function of sexual history and behavior, not spiritual rebirth. It saddled women with the responsibility for male lust and failed the victims of sexual abuse. Further, it made unqualified promises of marriage, children, and great sex to everyone who pledged to wait.

Nine Nonobvious Ways to Have Deeper Conversations by David Brooks (New York Times)
After all weve been through this year, wouldnt it be nice, even during a distanced holiday season, to be able to talk about this whole experience with others, in a deep, satisfying way? To help, Ive put together a list of nonobvious lessons for how to have better conversations, which Ive learned from people wiser than myself:

Rooteds Two Most-Read of November

Three Ways I Wish My Youth Pastor Preached by Cole Shiflet

After having the opportunity to sit under the preaching of my senior pastor and college pastor for the past two and a half years, after watching the way they both preach to a congregation with a large student population, I wish my high school youth pastors would have preached the Bible similarly: deeply, simply, and lovingly. 

How the Game Among UsTeaches Students About False Teachers and Biblical Doctrine by Jonathan Molengraf

While preaching the Sermon On The Mount, the Lord Jesus says, Be on your guard against false prophets who come to you in sheeps clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves(Matt. 7:15 CSB). Jesus is saying here that there will be false prophets who are in reality wolves, but look just like the rest of the sheep. Sound familiar? In Among Us, the imposters look like the rest of us, but are actually trying to destroy us. Christians are called to be on the watch for those who teach the Bible falsely; the catch is, a lot of times they look just like us.

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds November Honorable Mention)

Rooted Christmas Devotional for Teenagers

Last year, sixteen of our Rooted writers joined us to write a devotional specifically for teenagers, reminding them- and us- that we are loved by a God who makes promises and keeps promises. Now, more than ever, the hope we have in our promise-keeping God sustains us and gives us hope. Each devotional centers around Messianic prophecies – promises – from the Old Testament, and the wonder that each one came to be fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. You can either print out or forward along to the teenagers in your care. O Come Let Us

Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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