Top Ten of January 2019

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

6 Needed Shifts for Reaching the Next Generation by G’Joe Joseph (The Gospel Coalition)

“After scores of similar conversations with unprepared audiences, our team has been shifting its approach to evangelism. By no means are we proposing that we shift away from clear biblical teaching on important truths such as our legal guilt before God. We are merely saying that shifting intuitions may require new starting places in evangelistic conversations and discipleship relationships. Here are six shifts we believe are critical to meaningfully engage the next generation.”

Most Teenagers Drop Out of Church as Young Adults, LifeWay Research

“For the most part, people aren’t leaving the church out of bitterness, the influence of college atheists, or a renunciation of their faith…. What the research tells us may be even more concerning for Protestant churches: there was nothing about the church experience or faith foundation of those teenagers that caused them to seek out a connection to a local church once they entered a new phase of life. The time they spent with activity in church was simply replaced by something else.”

The Death and Resurrection of Youth Ministry by Greg Stier (Dare2Share)

“What does the death of youth ministry look like? It’s simply a gut-level admission of the overall failure of typical youth ministry, an unshakable willingness to leave the typical behind and a Spirit-fueled determination to build a Gospel Advancing, disciple multiplying, God-glorifying youth ministry based on the book of Acts.”

Partnership with Parents

We Can’t Save Our Kids by Jamie Ivy (LifeWay Voices)

“Parents, there is no need to scare your kids into salvation. Give them resources, guide them, parent them to the best of your ability, and allow God to draw them to him. He’s a much better representation of the gospel than we could ever give them. Love them. Share the truth. Leave the rest to God.”

5 Ways To Block Porn on Your Kid’s Devices by Caroline Knorr (Common Sense Media)

“Here’s the thing: Porn is all over the internet. You can’t totally get rid of it. Still, most parents want to do what they can to prevent kids from seeing explicit content. But here’s the other thing: You can set all the blockers, filters, and parental controls in the universe, and not only will your kids still see porn, you still have to talk to them about what porn is, why it exists, and why it’s not for them. In fact, using tech tools to limit adult content works best when combined with conversations that convey your values about love, sexuality, and relationships. (Get tips on talking to tweens and teens about internet porn.) Here are five ways to block porn as much as possible.”

Youth Culture

Is Marijuana as Safe as We Think? by Malcom Gladwell (New Yorker)

“…in a 2013 paper in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, researchers looked at the results of a survey of more than twelve thousand American high-school students. The authors assumed that alcohol use among students would be a predictor of violent behavior, and that marijuana use would predict the opposite. In fact, those who used only marijuana were three times more likely to be physically aggressive than abstainers were; those who used only alcohol were 2.7 times more likely to be aggressive. Observational studies like these don’t establish causation. But they invite the sort of research that could.”

Beyond the Scrolling by Lisa Hanle (Fuller Youth Institute)

“…so often our gut response to students’ constant use of their phones, and particularly their affinity for social media, is exasperation and frustration. “Get off your phone!” comes out of my mouth more often than I’d like to admit. I really do want them to get off their phone when they’re at youth group, but there are better ways of engaging with them about it.I serve and lead students more faithfully when I step back, empathize, and consider the “why” behind their phone use in any given moment.”

Ministry Skills

Walking With Students Through Depression by Carl Dodd (Church Leaders)

“Some of the most common expressions that may indicate depression are darkness, a pit, quicksand or a trap that a person just can’t seem to get themselves out of. Our students need support if they are walking through this level of despair: They know they are not able to fix this themselves, because they’ve already tried.”

Reimagining Extracurriculars by Matt Klippenstein (LeaderTreks)

“We have to remind our students that passion without the gospel has no impact. Our role as youth workers is to train and equip our students to share the gospel and make disciples who make disciples in the context of the passions that God has put on their heart. So, my fellow youth workers, don’t be discouraged by the passions of your youth, or try to compete with them; instead, train and equip your students use their passions as a way to speak and share the gospel!”

Resisting the Urge to Talk Teen by Jonathan McKee

“We don’t need to try to “attract” teenagers. But it would be nice to not repel them either. The key? Don’t try too hard. Pray that God will give you peace so you don’t feel awkward. Just be ready to listen. Engage kids in conversation.”

Rooted’s Two Most-Read of January

Ministering to Teenagers Changed My Understanding of the Gospel by Sara Litten (Rooted)

“So much of my understanding of the Gospel was that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and now I needed to do everything that I could to be good. Or at least look like I was good on the outside. This might have protected me from the consequences of more outward sins, but my inward sin of pride was the real motivation. Not Jesus. Finding righteousness in my own actions also meant that I looked at others the same way. What they did was who they were. Enter youth ministry.”

The Epidemic of a Jesus-less Gospel in Youth Ministry by Mike McGarry (Rooted)

“…the above text conversation is the type of incomplete gospel I’ve heard too many times at camps, retreats, and various other ministry contexts. Like this pastor’s student, faithful Jews and Muslims pray for forgiveness too – but apart from the cross and empty tomb of Jesus Christ, those prayers are in vain.”

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

Davis Lacey’s three-part series on Making Transitions in Youth Ministry (Rooted)

“During each of the past two days on the Rooted Blog, I’ve discussed a variety of circumstances that lead a youth worker to consider making a ministry transition. In the first article, the discussion primarily focused on theological differences between the youth worker and the church that he or she serves. Then in the second article, many of the more subjective, personal reasons which often drive ministry transitions were addressed – anything that might lead a youth worker to say, ‘This ministry setting is no longer a good fit.’”


Advancing Grace-Driven Youth Ministry

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