Each month we compile a Top Ten list for youth workers. This list represents ten articles from various sources that we believe will encourage you in your ministry to students and their families. Some give explicit instruction on gospel-centered ministry, while others are included because there is a message of common grace that is helpful to youth workers. If you find an article that could speak to the Rooted community, please share it in the comment section below.
by Karl Vaters (CT’s Pivot)
You don’t have to prove your worth. You don’t have to justify your calling. You don’t have to see constant numerical increase. You don’t have to be someone you’re not. You have value. To God and his church.
by Sara Barratt
Instead of undiluted biblical truths and concrete theology, many are fed a watered-down message. They’re entertained at youth group and isolated from older, wiser Christ-followers. They’re drawn in with pizza parties, games, and programs, but leave with the burning issues of their hearts still unanswered. The games and good times were never what kept me in church or helped me as I battled the tumultuous struggles of my teenage years. Instead, it was the gospel-drenched truth that kept me coming back.
Partnering with Parents
by Doug Franklin (LeaderTreks)
We’ve got to remember that ministering to students who are being raised by grandparents is different than ministering to students being raised by their biological parents. These differences are subtle but they’re really important for us to know as youth workers.
by Lindsey Carlson (TGC)
It’s Sunday morning and the buzzing alarm signals the beginning of an all-too-familiar battle: Your teenager has let you know in no uncertain terms that she doesn’t want to go to church. Tossing back the covers, you mentally prepare to cajole, bargain, and plead her begrudgingly from bed to car, for what will likely be a very unpleasant ride to Sunday worship.
Happy Lord’s Day.
by Kay S. Hymowitz
It’s worth mapping out one major cause that is simultaneously so obvious and so uncomfortable that loneliness observers tend to mention it only in passing. I’m talking, of course, about family breakdown. At this point, the consequences of family volatility are an evergreen topic when it comes to children; this remains the subject of countless papers and conferences. Now, we should take account of how deeply the changes in family life of the past 50-odd years are intertwined with the flagging well-being of so many adults and communities.
by Jiayang Fan (The New Yorker)
I watched “Always Be My Maybe” alone in a theatre in Manhattan, acutely aware that this was a mainstream movie of America’s favorite variety—the rom-com—and of the fact that a multi-ethnic audience had sat down to watch two Asian leads fall in love. More than anything else, it was the film’s depictions of growing up in the U.S. in an Asian home that made my heart yelp: the inviolable ritual of removing shoes before entering a house; the plastic-covered furniture in Sasha’s parents’ home, which so resembled my own childhood living room. To watch these mundane, culturally specific details exposed on the big screen—the very things that I and many Asian-American kids once wanted to hide—felt quietly radical.
by Gabriella Siefert (CT’s Exchange)
Purity rings. The Jonas Brothers wore purity rings. A symbol of sexual abstinence in Christian communities, most associate purity rings with a person’s decision to save sex for marriage. But from the moment these three clean-cut pastor’s kids stepped on their first Disney stage, it was clear the media could not wait to pounce. As Nick later came to realize, the rings quickly became “a defining factor of who [they] were as a band.” The brothers, from an early age, were well aware of the mockery being made of them across the country.
by Margot Sanger-Katz and Aaron E. Carroll (New York Times)
You wouldn’t know it from “Euphoria,” but today’s teenagers drink less than their parents’ generation did. They smoke less, and they use fewer hard drugs. They get in fewer car accidents and fewer physical fights. They are less likely to drop out of high school, less likely to have sex, and less likely to become pregnant. They commit fewer crimes. They even wear bike helmets.
by Garrett Kell (TGC)
The disciples were baffled that this mysterious man hadn’t heard of all that had happened in Jerusalem. As readers, we’re baffled they can’t see whom they’re speaking with! In mercy, Jesus opened the Scriptures and began what must have been the most epic Bible study of all time, “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Let’s imagine what he may have said.
by Tim Challies (Challies)
Here are the new and notable books that appeared in my mailbox over the last month or so. In each case, I’ve included the publisher’s description to give you a sense of what it’s all about. You’ll find a good mix here—some for kids, some for teens, and some for everyone else.
Rooted’s Two Most-Read of June
by Mac Harris
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a little bro time or a women’s study – these are good and necessary things as there are subjects that men can and should only discuss with other men, and vice versa. But if the only interactions between guys and girls happens in a classroom, at a party, or in a romantic context, the church is failing to teach these kids to be members of the same body, the body of Christ’s Church.
by Kendal Conner and Seth Stewart
Neither our male nor female teens will become the the image bearers they were designed to be, or the men and women they want to be by attending a couple Guys/Girls nights. We should expect that our boys will learn most about their manhood once they learn to engage in vibrant, servant-hearted, non-romantic relationships with their sisters in Christ.
In Case You Missed It (Rooted’s June Honorable Mention)
by Dan Montgomery
God’s word is food. What God gives us to eat is pleasant to the sight and good for eating. If this is true about God’s word, what does it say about Bible teachers? I suppose it makes us kind of like cooks. But what kind of cook? When I first started in Youth Ministry, I was prepared to serve broccoli. I was prepared to be the long-suffering mother presenting a healthy dinner to a less than excited audience. Now, I am learning how to be the restaurant cook, helping diners explore and enjoy new foods of their own choosing.