Top Ten – November ’18

Here are the top ten articles from the past month that can be of benefit to youth workers and parents in their ministry to teenagers. Some of these give explicit instruction on gospel-centered ministry, while others are included because there is a message of common grace that can help us in our ministries. If you find an article that could speak to the Rooted community, please share it in the comment section below.

Gospel Centered Ministry

Why ‘Passing on the Faith’ Fails Our Kids by Sharon Galgay Ketcham (Christianity Today)

“In our contemporary setting, then, passing and receiving seem more closely tied to the service industry than to the transfer of an authoritative message. In the context of a coffee shop, for example, the salesperson’s role is to be a service provider by passing you the product, and the customer’s role is to receive the product passed. Applied to youth ministry, adults pass the faith, and young people receive the faith. What is a young person’s relationship with the church here?”

How Apologetics Can Address the Six Reasons Why Young People Leave the Church by Tim Barnett (Stand to Reason)

“After a five-year study, Barna Research president David Kinnaman found that 6 in 10 young people leave the church either permanently or for an extended period of time, beginning at age 15.… If the church would begin to take the life of the mind more seriously and equip its young people to understand and defend their faith, we could meet these challenges head on.”

Explain Heresy with Superhero Help by Andrew Spencer (The Gospel Coalition)

“Good theology is important, but it can be hard to get people interested or know where to start. Careful theological work is sometimes dry and dusty business. When the pastor pounds the pulpit to proclaim the importance of a careful logical argument, it’s likely to cause eyes to glaze over. The problem is often not the significance of the issue, but the lack of a vocabulary to explain the problem.”

Youth Culture

From the GenZ Perspective by Tobi Park (Sola Network)

“Don’t get me wrong: Many Gen Z’rs disagree with the doctrine and theology of Christ. I attend an incredibly progressive high school, so when it comes to social issues like sexuality, divorce, and abortion, my peers and I often hold extremely opposing views. But they don’t hate me. Though they consider me a bit misguided, they comprehend my beliefs are grounded in a God of love who has certain controversial laws. I have been dubbed ‘the nice conservative Christian’ because of the genuine relationships I have with them.”

Middle School Misfortunes Then and Now, One Teacher’s Take by Benjamin Conlon (Wait Until 8th)

“Over the last few years, my students have become increasingly interested in stories from the days before smartphones and social media. In the same way many adults look back fondly on simpler times, kids look back to second and third grade, when no one had a phone. I think a lot of them already miss those days.”

Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? by Kate Julian (The Atlantic)

“From 1991 to 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey finds, the percentage of high-school students who’d had intercourse dropped from 54 to 40 percent. In other words, in the space of a generation, sex has gone from something most high-school students have experienced to something most haven’t.”

The Price of Cool: A Teenager, a Juul and Nicotine Addiction by Jan Hoffman (NY Times)

“There is an art and artifice to being a teenage Juuler, Matt explained during numerous long conversations, including one over a recent lunch at a local pizza shop. You have to scope out which convenience stores will card you and which will look away, so long as you pay their inflated prices…. What he had initially derided as Juul’s pitiful wisp of nearly odor-free vapor turned out to be a great advantage. Teachers were clueless. If his parents walked into his room five seconds after he exhaled, they wouldn’t know. ‘The Juul was super, super sneaky and I loved it,’ he said.”

Ministry Skills

The Most Important Thing You Could Do for Students This Week by Aaron Helman (Church Leaders)

“I didn’t do anything last week that mattered more to my students than the time I took to write them personal notes.”

Three Reasons to Take Attendance in Youth Ministry by Dave Wright (Fusion Musing)

“For me it was as simple as jotting down the names of who was there and then on Monday checking their names on the chart I had created. It was all pen and paper for me as we did not have a useful database program at my church back then. I began to look at who was tracking with us.  What I discovered was helpful on so many fronts. For the first time I could really see on paper who our core group consisted of, who were fringe people, and much more. I quickly realized and exploited three realities that came from tracking attendance.”

Understanding Why and How the Church Can Respond to Chronic Illness in Youth by Kathleen O’Rourke (Fuller Youth Institute)

“The church is uniquely positioned to be of great help to chronically ill youth. However, ministry models are not adapted to reach them, and chronic illness is not well understood. Often youth ministry models do not fit the need of young people who are sick, and healing ministries do not fit the need of sick people who are young. I believe there are simple and effective measures youth ministries can take to embrace students who are chronically ill.”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read Articles of November

When Worship Can’t Be Strummed by Scott Byers (Rooted)

“What happens when our students and families find themselves in seasons of life when worship can’t be strummed up? What do you tell the kid who just got his girlfriend pregnant, or the uninsured mother of eight who lost everything when the tornado hit, or the freshman whose dad decided he needed some spice in his life and walked out on the family, or the senior whose best friend just hung himself?”

Drifting from the Essentials: Why Many Youth Pastors Don’t Make It by Jonathan Barney (Rooted)

“Although it is not a comprehensive list, I believe the following four principles capture a biblically grounded vision of what ministry to youth should entail.”

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

Understanding Self-Injury by Liz Edrington (Rooted)

“As shepherds who walk alongside hurting families and kids, our purpose is none other than Love Himself, who is in the business of re-storying us, and teaching us how to live as whole humans. So what are some of the ways it might look to love these students and to invite them to Jesus?”


Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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