The Top 10: July 2016

Each month we compile a Top 10 List for the Rooted community (made up of both parents and youth leaders). 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.

These are presented by category, not in order of which we deem most valuable.

Gospel Centered Ministry

A Space for Struggle, an Answer of Hope: The Kind of Culture Churches Really Need by Alan Noble (ERLC)

“In retrospect, I was struggling with two main things: A secular world that understood my depression, guilt and fears. A church youth group culture that had almost no answer for these things.”

An Implicit Curriculum of Love by Justin Forbes (Princeton Institute for Youth Ministry)

“Our desire to teach young people must be surpassed by our love for them. Education—especially Christian education—isn’t just about content, it’s about people.”

Partnering With Parents

How Skipping Church Affects Our Children by Manglo (Truth With Love)

“In a Q&A, Carl Trueman was asked about why churches today are losing their young people. Typical answers to this question range from things like the temptations of this world or the irrelevance of the church–your typical answers. But Trueman makes a keen and convicting connection between our parenting and apostasy.”

Serving Parents Who Don’t Go to Church by Joseph Fowler (Youth Specialties)

“It is easy to minister to an entire family when you see them at church all the time, but it is far more difficult to minister to students and their families when they might be the only ones that know Christ, or even go to church. So what about these parents that simply don’t go, don’t care or don’t believe?”

Youth Culture

How to Save the Millennial Faith? By Gracy Olmstead (The American Conservative)

“The future of Christianity in the U.S. is looking bleak, if current Pew polls and trends are accurate. As Rod Dreher referenced in a recent blog post, millennials are more likely to reject religious labels or affiliations than any other generational cohort—and even those who call themselves Christians are, in Dreher’s words, “shockingly illiterate, both in terms of what the Bible says and more generally regarding what Christianity teaches.” …Is Christian faith simply doomed to dissipate and die among America’s young people, or is there something we can do to reverse this trend?”

Generation Z by Maina Mwaura (Youth Specialties)

“As church leaders, God has called us to not only fulfill the task that he has set before us, but also to know and understand the culture around us. For many years, we have focused primarily on one sub-culture culture, the millennials. …New ideas are awakening and maturing within Generation Z. They are the next culture in line for us to know and engage.”


Reframing Youth Workers as Mentors by Josh Barnard (Youth Specialties)

“I had just begun typing a group e-mail that started with “Hey, Sunday school teachers!” when I stopped and stared at the greeting and the flashing cursor. I’ve spent more than 20 years investing into teenagers, and here I was making the same mistake we’ve all dealt with in youth ministry: I was emphasizing program over people.”

Challenge is the Key to Creating Change by Angie Franklin (LeaderTreks)

“Most students will never be leaders on day one. But with a caring adult and challenge by increments, they will start to believe that they can be a leader. Imagine if every one of our students walked out of our youth ministries with that belief.”


We’re Not All Just Alike: Challenges and Opportunities in Multiethnic Youth Ministries by Santes Beatty (Fuller Youth Institute)

“Often, the deeper we get into multiethnic ministry, more conflict emerges. This can, however, become a means of grace for building deep relationships of trust. When we avoid these issues for fear of creating division, we instead promote superficial relationships. While these types of topics can be volatile and should be approached with sensitivity, we must see not only the potential danger, but also the enormous opportunity for transformation.”

Accountability Software – Comparing 6 of the Best Tools by Steven Kyger (Communicate Jesus)

“Of course, neither internet filters nor accountability software will “cure” you from the lure of temptation. We don’t stop pursuing sinful desires because of filters or software, but because God transforms our heart and gives us new, better desires. But in your pursuit of holiness, these tools are an important weapon to add to your arsenal against temptations online.”

The Two Most-Read Articles of July on the Rooted Blog

This is How We Overcome: A Call to Justice, Mercy, and Humility by Melissa Huff (Rooted)

“The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) illustrates our tendency to avoid entering into the suffering of another by rolling up our sleeves to tend to a bloody wound, whether physical or emotional, especially when it involves crossing racial, ethnic and religious barriers. When we recognize that we are all sinners and can do nothing to escape suffering, we are better able to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).”

Leading Children Toward Peace in a Boiling Pot of Violence, Hate, and Hostility by Cameron Cole (Rooted)

“In our current culture we must ask ourselves, how often do we intentionally leave our respective “tribes” to enter into (potentially) awkward conversations with people who are not like us, or who may oppose us? And how often in those conversations are we willing to listen – to surrender to being understood or deemed “right” – and to let the other person fully have the floor?”

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

Dear Parent of a Struggling Child: This One’s for You by Devan Grayson (Rooted)

“Maybe your child’s story involves self-harm, an eating disorder, bullying, or depression. If your son or daughter is struggling with something that seems outside of your control, this post is for you.”

We want to thank Rev. Mike McGarry and his team of excellent volunteers who compile this list of exciting and thought-provoking articles each month.

Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

More From This Author