The Top 10: August 2017

Each month we compile a Top 10 list for the Rooted community. This list represents ten articles 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

4 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Spiritually Apathetic Teenagers by Greg Stier (Dare 2 Share)
If you’ve been in youth ministry for any amount of time you’ve encountered apathetic teenagers. Between the rolling eyes and heavy sighs it’s easy to get discouraged when it comes to inspiring young people to know, live, share and own their faith.”

4 Common Disciple-Making Delusions by Rob Trenckmann (LeaderTreks)

“Disciple-making takes as many forms as there are personalities to undertake it. We can make disciples in large groups, small groups, and personal relationships. Christ called every one of his followers to be a disciple-maker. That looks a little different for each person. But it doesn’t mean we can all just ‘choose our own adventure’ and call everything discipleship. Jesus left us with a pattern to follow, and that includes a few things disciple-making is not.”

What is the Goal of Your Youth Ministry This Year? by Walt Mueller (Center for Parent/Youth Understanding)

“As parents and youth workers, we invite – and we should! – the kids we know and love to commit their lives to Christ. But are we taking the time to explain what a life of following Christ here on this earth is all about, how difficult it is, and what it requires? Do we ever talk about the fact that following the God-man who bled and suffocated on the cross requires his followers to take up a cross of their own? Do kids know that there’s a life of integrating faith into every minute and every activity that’s to be lived between the second their hand goes up and the second their heart stops beating?”

Partnering With Parents

Five Ways to Engage Families as Partners in Ministry by Brad Griffin (Fuller Youth Institute)

“‘We’re partnering with families.’ …In our experience at the Fuller Youth Institute, leaders attach vastly different meanings to that phrase. And as a church youth ministry leader, I find myself at odds with partnership in practice (and I’m also one of the parents in our youth ministry!). In truth, it’s often more convenient, more efficient, and creates less conflict when we dream, plan, and lead ministry without much consideration for parents’ voices and participation. Partnering becomes just a platitude. (note: don’t miss the link to the Search Institute’s report, ‘Don’t Forget the Families.’)”

Youth Culture & Adolescent Development

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? By Jean M. Twenge (The Atlantic)
“The advent of the smartphone and its cousin the tablet was followed quickly by hand-wringing about the deleterious effects of ‘screen time.’ But the impact of these devices has not been fully appreciated, and goes far beyond the usual concerns about curtailed attention spans. The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health. These changes have affected young people in every corner of the nation and in every type of household. The trends appear among teens poor and rich; of every ethnic background; in cities, suburbs, and small towns. Where there are cell towers, there are teens living their lives on their smartphone.”

3 Questions Generation Z is Asking by Steve Kozak (AwanaYM)
“A different world means different questions. Or some of the same questions with vastly different implications. This coming year your youth group will finally be made up of entirely Generation Z. Which means an entirely new set of rules, questions, circumstances, challenges, and future. So as you prepare for this coming fall, be sure that you are ready. Research is beginning to look specifically at how this generation is unique and what questions they are asking.”

How to Reach the Most Exhausted Generation in History by Aaron Helman (Ministry to Youth)

“But if we look at this generation of teenagers – who are tired and broken and flat-out exhausted – and we don’t tell them that Jesus offers rest, we’ve failed to share the full story and especially the part of it that they so desperately need to hear.”

Ministry Skills

Think Big, Start Small by Justin Knowles (Download Youth Ministry)

“I’m a dreamer, I love to see how things can be. The hard part is getting to that point. We thought big but started small. As we look back on all the big steps we have taken and it’s awesome to look back at the small steps we took in order to move our ministry forward.”

A Cure for Racism by Greg Stier (Dare 2 Share)

“The church is God’s change agent for the neighborhood. It was a church that reached into my hood and rescued my family, discipled my family, equipped my family and then unleashed my family back to the streets…but this time on a redemptive mission. And our churches must learn how to increasingly reflect the multi-ethnic world we are living in. This is what they did in the early church, especially in the church of Antioch (Acts 11:19-26.)”

Race, the Gospel, and the Moment by Tim Keller (The Gospel Coalition)

“How should Christians, and especially those with an Anglo-white background, respond to last weekend’s alt-right gathering in Charlottesville and its tragic aftermath? Three brief things need to be said.”

Rooted’s Most-Read of August

Dear Teenager, the Gospel is Not Complicated by Ben Beswick (Rooted)

“I’ll admit that it is easy to sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed in youth ministry. As I hear reports of the high percentage of young people walking away from the faith, and as I think through the constant challenges that this culture will undoubtedly bring your way, it is easy to respond in a way that can both make the Gospel and your calling sound far more complicated than either really are.”

Christ is Calling Our Kids to His Adventure by Ben Sciacca (Rooted)

“As I look at back my own childhood I recognize that I came away convinced that I was essentially the author of my own story. I understood that I needed Jesus to save me from my sins and punch my ticket to heaven. I was equipped with the knowledge that attending church, reading my Bible, and seeking to love other people were important expectations of the Christian life. But I also firmly believed that the most of the adventure was mine to make.”

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

How Grace Informs the Youth Leader’s Relationships with Parents by Liz Edrington (Rooted)

“When relating to parents, my first prayer is that the Lord will help me to remember that they, also, have been created in the image of God. They’re human! And it can be really beneficial to assume that parents are doing the very best they can. I am not a parent, but in being greatly blessed by the honesty of supportive parents in my last decade of youth ministry, I’ve been given the chance to hear honest confessions of much fear and also glorious stories of the Lord using their failures to display the grace of Jesus. A parent repenting to a child can be an incredibly powerful display of humility and need for the cross.”


Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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