Top Ten of March 2019

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.

Gospel-Centered Ministry

Four Approaches to Understanding the Redemptive Narrative of Scripture by Bryan Chapell (Challies)

“We should be very willing to learn the principles of redemptive interpretation that the New Testament writers employed and exemplified. From these principles, we learn that the more common approach to understanding the redemptive nature of all biblical texts is to identify how Gods Word predicts, prepares for, reflects, or results from the person and/or work of Christ.”

Better Than Fortnite: Global Mission in the Digital Age by Paul Akin (IMB)

“Since the inception of the information age in the 1970s, the church has continually faced new digital distractions. Television, computers, gaming systems, and mobile devices have changed the way we live. While there is much good to be celebrated with new technological developments, the church must also recognize the ever-present reality that these devices are constantly vying for our attention and affections. Therefore, the church must be vigilant in the fight against temptations and distractions that come with every new technological fad.”

Dont Mistake Transfer Growth for Evangelism by Michael Niebauer (TGC)

“The contemporary problem is simply that numerical growth isnt the same as conversion growth. Church growth is not the same thing as evangelism. You can grow a church or a ministry numerically and not bring one lost soul into the kingdom.”

Partnership with Parents

Building Credibility With Parents by Jen Willard (Youth Specialties)
“My first few years in youth ministry, I did my best to avoid parents and focused solely on serving their students. I assumed that it would be enough to do great youth ministry and gain credibility with parents somewhere along the way. There is a better way! Building credibility with parents is something you should be spending hours on each week because it will make your ministry stronger and build a base of support for your youth ministry. Here are some ideas to help you get started.”

Why the Admissions Scandal Is Every Parents Problem by Kara Powell (Christianity Today)

“Our prior Sticky Faith study of youth group graduates revealed the similarity between their conception of faith and what Dallas Willard calls the “gospel of sin management.” In other words, young adults often operate from a success-or-failure framework and think theyre supposed to do the “right things” to make God love or like them more. By contrast, were called to point young people to a grace-based faith in which our obedience is a reflection of our gratitude to God.”

Youth Culture

The Mental Health Crisis Among Americas Youth is Real – And Staggering by Jean Twenge (The Conversation)

“Even after statistically controlling for the influences of age and year, we found that depression, distress and suicidal thoughts were much higher among those born in the mid- to late-1990s, the generation I call iGen. The mental health crisis seems to be a generational issue, not something that affects Americans of all ages. And that, more than anything else, might help researchers figure out why its happening.

TikTok and Teens: Privacy Concerns Parents Should Be Aware Of  NBCs Savannah Sellers reports for TODAY

“The wildly popular TikTok app – which many describe as a hybrid of Snapchat, Vine and karaoke – is meant to be lighthearted and fun. But with such a young user base, is the app doing enough to keep them safe?”

Ministry Skills

Three Things to Tell Your Children About Gender by Dan Doriani (TGC)

“Because of sin, each society expresses gender in harmful ways; and because of common grace, each society expresses gender in helpful ways. Gender is grounded both in biology (the created order) and also in culture. Therefore, some aspects of gender are objective physical realities, and some aspects of gender are socially constructed.”

How to Talk to Young People About Doubt by Kara Powell (Fuller Youth Institute)

“The way we respond to doubt sends a message about God. Weve found that when leaders and parents tend to silence young peoples doubts, young people not only learn that their church and family cant handle doubt; they think God cant handle doubt either.”

Churches That Play Together Stay Together by Courtney Ellis (Christianity Today)

“In the earliest Scriptures, the people of God are called to a regular rhythm of work and worship, rest and play. In addition to the weekly Sabbath celebration, the Pentateuch mentions seven feast days. After the Exile, three more were added. Wedding celebrations commonly lasted a week or more. While some contemporary congregations find play by practicing these feasts of the ancient church and other traditional “holy day” celebrations, others are discovering it in even simpler, almost childlike forms.”

Rooteds Two Most-Read of March

Four Things Youth Workers Would Tell Parents About Teenagers, Social Media, and Technology by Cameron Cole

“In no arena do we see both the darkness outside and inside play out more than in the space of technology and social media. These devices can be wonderful ways to connect with friends and family. They also can be the scenes of some of the worst acts and deeds we observe in teenage behavior.”

The Gospel I Wish I’d Known In High School by Rebecca Lankford
“It has been humbling for our team to remember the areas where we totally misunderstood the gospel in high school—and to continually ask ourselves the question: What part of the gospel am I not believing even now? Preparing for these lessons has been relatively simple, yet deeply edifying. I begin by asking the Lord to offer me a picture of my high school self. I try to imagine how her life might have looked had she understood with her heart—not just her mind—the full reality that she was both deeply flawed and a deeply valued daughter of the King (Isaiah 53:1).”

In Case You Missed It (Rooteds March Honorable Mention)

Hope Amidst College Admissions Insanity by Cameron Cole

“The College Admissions Idol persistently whispers, ‘Family dinners? Camping in the woods? Attending church? Watching a Star Wars marathon together? Sitting down and talking with your child about their emotional landscape? Sharing stories with your child about your life? Please, child. Get your priorities straight. You want to be a good parent, right?The moral laws of the College Admissions Religion dictate that good parenting means producing a top performer at all cost. Forget about fun, relationships, or emotional growth. The college admissions arms race is a cultural idol so pervasive that its the very air you breathe if you live in the suburbs.”