The Top 10: May 2018

Each month we compile a Top 10 list for the Rooted community. This list represents ten articles from around the Internet that we believe will encourage and equip you to continue in your ministry to students and their families. If you have an article you’d like to share, please include it as a link in the comment section below.

Gospel Centered Ministry

Two Pastoral Thoughts on Justification and Sanctification by Justin Dillehay (The Gospel Coalition)

…beneath most of the practical challenges is the perennial doctrinal challenge of how to relate sanctification to justification. How do they differ? Are they both necessary? If so, is one more central to the gospel than the other? Is there a danger in emphasizing one over the other? How do we achieve a proper balance?

Andy Stanley, Youth Ministry, and Thoughts in Process by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

Finally, any pushback on the criticism of Andy Stanley that appeals to Andy being a nice guy (he is) with a big heart (it is) and a passion to see people come to know Jesus (he does) is not a healthy pushback at all. Nice guys with big hearts and the right passions get it wrong from time to time. We all do. Our allegiance to Christ and the truth of the Gospel must always eclipse our allegiance to personalities, organizations, and movements.

6 Questions College Students Must be Ready to Answer by Cameron Cole (The Gospel Coalition)

The research is clear: One of the best ways to prepare students to sustain their faith throughout college is to force them to answer hard questions. While some apologetics are timeless, it’s vital for churches and parents to monitor the most prominent current questions and challenges Christians face on college campuses today.

Partnering with Parents

There is No Difference Between Parenting and Discipleship by Andy Blanks (Iron Hill Men)

Think about it: your every interaction teaches your child about how a man who has surrendered His life to God conducts Himself. In everything you do, you are modeling what it looks like to live as someone transformed by God. You are showing your child what a disciple looks like.

Twelve Tips for Parenting in the Digital Age by Tony Reinke (Desiring God)

iGen is a recent label given to those born between 1995 and 2012. It is 74 million Americans, or 24% of the population, and the most diverse generation in American history. It is also the most digitally connected and smartphone-addicted generation. …As parents, we face many challenges in shepherding these teens in the digital age.

Does 2 Corinthians 6:14 Mean a Christian Shouldn’t Date an Unbeliever? By Mike Leake (Borrowed Light)

Don’t read me wrong. It’s not wise for a Christian to date (and especially marry) someone with such divergent goals. You are asking for heart break. It will also greatly hinder your ability to engage in kingdom causes. And I do believe a far application of 2 Corinthians 6:14 would be for believers to strongly consider the way in which we enter into union with unbelievers. But let’s not think we’ve fully obeyed 2 Corinthians 6:14 just because we don’t smoke, chew, curse, or go with girls who do.

Youth Culture

Teen Loneliness and Youth Ministry by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)
If ever there was a sad and tragic irony, this is it. The generation that has more social connectivity tools and possibilities at their fingertips (literally), is the loneliest. The research, released today, indicates that young people are more likely than senior citizens to report being lonely and in poor health.

How Fortnight Captured Teens’ Hearts and Minds by Nick Paumgarten (The New Yorker)

In terms of fervor, compulsive behavior, and parental noncomprehension, the Fortnite craze has elements of Beatlemania, the opioid crisis, and the ingestion of Tide Pods. Parents speak of it as an addiction and swap tales of plunging grades and brazen screen-time abuse: under the desk at school, at a memorial service, in the bathroom at 4 a.m. They beg one another for solutions.

Ministry Skills

Why Teens Should Understand Their Own Brains (And Why Their Teachers Should, Too!) by Elissa Nadworny (National Public Radio)

Until relatively recently, it was thought that the brain was only actively developing during childhood, but in the last two decades, researchers have confirmed that the brain continues to develop during adolescence — a period of time that can stretch from the middle school years into early adulthood.

My Worst-Ever Missions Trip Mistake by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)

I’ve found that my most costly mistakes come when I forget to challenge my own thinking and focus on the why. Maybe, like me, you’ve fallen into one of these three traps before. So let’s talk about how to turn potential failures into great successes.

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of May

Redeeming Summertime With Our Kids by Kristen Hatton (Rooted)

If you are a parent of a recent grad, I don’t mean to freak you out. I have learned opportunities for instruction don’t stop just because our kids go to college. However, instilling a biblical worldview and unshakeable faith into our kids doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like building blocks; little by little life circumstances, training, and the years stack on top of each other. To that end, my hope for parents with any age children is to parent with a long-range perspective in view so when graduation day comes our children are better equipped for what’s next.

The Unimportance of Being “Cool” by Rebecca Lankford (Rooted)

My first year of Youth Ministry has been all about building relationships with my students. As I’ve grown in both the quantity of students I know and the quality of our relationships, I’ve realized how I, a sinner wired to chase after my own glory rather than Jesus’, have longed for them to think of me as “cool” or “likeable.” Turns out my Middle School days were not the last time I’ve cared so much about what a thirteen-year-old thought of me!

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

You Can Sit With Us: Grace for the Mean Girl by Chelsea Erickson (Rooted)

In a world where good girls seem to finish last, there’s something therapeutic about seeing the tables turned. But if the gospel of grace is to reign in our churches and youth ministries, then mean girls shouldn’t get what they deserve. One of my former middle schoolers taught me this in a profound way.