Review: One Blood by John Perkins

Youth ministries can be guilty of worshipping at the altar of the new, the trendy, the popular. Sometimes fear of this tendency can overshadow legitimate endeavors, such as when biblical concerns for gospel-centered justice are viewed simply as participation in the hashtag of the moment. This is why books like John Perkins’ One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race are so important.  

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ReviewsStephen Yates
Planning Events: The Reality of our Resources

We are limited beings. We require resources – perhaps finances, buildings, food, but definitely people, time, effort, etc. – in our creative work.  If this is the case, then knowing what resources you have and considering how to best steward those in the work of ministry is a huge part of the planning process.

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ArticlesStephen Yates
Planning Events: The Intentionality of our Programming

‘Why are we doing this again?’ I hate it when I have this thought in the middle of an event. While sometimes it’s simply the fatigue of staying up until 3 AM with middle school boys to blame, it also comes from having an ill-defined purpose for putting on an event in the first place. But nobody starts off wanting to hold an ineffective event. Why might we do this?

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ArticlesStephen Yates
Series: How to Plan an Event

Those of us with difficulties in these areas must grow, surround ourselves with other gifted leaders, and develop structures to help us serve our teens, parents, and churches through our event planning. As a start, we should consider four areas of improvement to grow in our planning capabilities…

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ArticlesStephen Yates
Review: What Youth Ministry is Not About

“ am increasingly convinced as I read God’s Word, look at the pervasiveness of the compelling cultural narrative, and listen to kids, is that they need youth workers committed first and foremost to the relentless pursuit of their own spiritual depth. We can only lead to depth out of our own depth…”

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ReviewsStephen Yates
What Does 'Real' Discipleship in Youth Ministry Look Like?

Scripture calls us to a very different type of assessment. Instead of growing crowds, doing cool things, or gaining praise, Jesus calls us to make disciples. Discipleship should be the main assessment tool as to the health and effectiveness of our ministries. But that even feels like an ambiguous, moving target. How do we judge when a student is ‘discipled’?

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ArticlesStephen Yates
Resource: Considering Taking a 'Chance'?

There has always been a tension in youth ministry regarding Christian celebrity. Celebrities are people, and regardless of the maturity of their faith, they sin - often with many more cameras on them than the average individual. Further, whether it is out of a desire for role models, ‘champions of the faith’ amidst modern culture, or permission to consume that individual’s cultural products (music, film, sport, etc.), Christian culture gravitates towards celebrities - often only to find many with the very shallow faith we hope our students will avoid. Even when faith is solid (and sometimes more painfully because of it), sins and failures take a representational tone with respect to celebrities, as if their failures more than others represent the failure of Christianity itself. ..

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ResourcesStephen Yates
The Top 5 Books on Youth Ministry Your Youth Worker Needs to Know

While we review some of the most current and newsworthy books related to youth ministry today at the Next Institute, one of the most common questions we receive isn’t about new books at all. Rather, it is common for new youth workers and churches about to hire youth workers or interns to ask what our top, entry-level resources are. This Christmas season, reach out to a youth worker you care about and find out if they have our top 5 books about youth ministry!

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ArticlesStephen Yates
Review: "Dealing with the Shame of Depression"

Clark Forbes is a youth pastor in an Asian-American context in California, a PhD candidate in missiology, and an up-and-coming thinker with an incredible perspective on youth ministry. His recent article on his journey through depression is notable not only for its grace-filled, biblical approach to depression, processing the disorder through Ps. 88 (this alone makes the article an incredible resource), but also for a uniquely profound missiological observation.

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ReviewsStephen Yates
How the Bible is Typically Presented

This image has been moving through some social media circles lately, and its message is simple - and harrowing. How do you typically present the Bible? What is your takeaway? And can your mature (as you define them) students articulate the biblical story depicted at the bottom?

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ResourcesStephen Yates
The Ethic of Baking - The British Way

What emerges over the course of the show is that it doesn't only have a style; it has an ethic. Mary and Paul do not fall victim to the misdirection of small but spectacular-looking mistakes. If the custard in the middle of whatever you're making doesn't quite set, the entire thing may collapse and run all over the counter, but they'll taste it anyway! And they'll tell you that your custard not setting isn't necessarily a bigger mistake than anything else; it just looks worse. If you can't get your cake put together, they'll still taste the layers. You may not be out. Do not lose heart. Do not lose heart.

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ArticlesStephen Yates
Resource: The Fuller Youth Institute Blog

A part of Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA, the Fuller Youth Institute is headed by Kara Powell and Brad Griffin, authors of youth ministry texts such as Sticky Faith and Growing Young. In addition to these studies (and the accompanying resources available on the website), the Fuller Youth Institute blog provides research-based articles on cultural trends and issues affecting youth ministry.

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ResourcesStephen Yates
Youth and Sleep

Consider this infographic about recommended sleep patterns in minors: What about our youth ministries? To what extent do we contribute to the sleep debt of our students? To what extent does this communicate our ACTUAL theological positions about rest and sabbath?

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ResourcesStephen Yates
Intergenerational Ministry -- An Emerging Innovation for Next Generation Ministry

One widespread, fictional fabrication in youth ministry and churches is that droves of students leave the church after they graduate from the youth group.  Many youth pastors have been hurt and threatened by these various, dubious statistics.  These erroneous figures often report that 80% to 90% of students leave church after they leave youth group.  As a youth (and family) pastor of 25 years at my church (yes, one church for 25 years), I have cringed when guest preachers have visited our church, promoting these erroneous statistics, and leaving me with worried parents, an upset Session, and a very concerned Senior Pastor.   

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ArticlesStephen Yates
My Youth Are (Not) Secular 3: Under Cross-Pressure

Often erupting out of deep existential periods such as moments of profound joy or heart-wrenching suffering, many ‘secular’ individuals feel the failure of the immanent frame to provide enough meaning for their lives in these tender moments. They have a sense that there must be more. James KA Smith further notes that these illogical cracks in the immanent frame are commonly recorded by artists, who mourn the shallowness of the meanings we are able to create.

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ArticlesStephen Yates
From Atheist to Christian at Yale - Dr. Paul Lim

it is harrowing to hear the first 20 minutes of the presentation, which include Dr. Lim’s youth ministry experience. Note the all-too-common factors - a lack of relational ministry, a lack of grace-filled, deep teaching, and an inability to care for ‘inconvenient’ people (those outside of the dominant paradigms within our ministry). The pain on his face as he shares this aspect of his story should move us to tears, and challenge us to question…

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ResourcesStephen Yates
The Dignifying Work of Theology

In the preface to Vanhoozer’s 2015 work “The Pastor as Public Theologian”, a text arguing for the continued voice of the pastorate in helping continue to make sense of the world in light of the truth of God, Vanhoozer includes by name youth pastors in this responsibility. Rather than being ‘junior pastors’ interested in being ‘relevant’, youth workers assume a great calling to help generations of students view their world through God’s eyes. This is especially important when one considers an oft-repeated maxim of Mueller, ‘practices are always downstream from theology’.

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Conversations with Radical Empathy - Jubilee Media

Positioning itself as a digital brand producing content for millennials, Jubilee Media features (on their Youtube channel) a number of digital shows, with each committing in different ways to the same values out of which Lee began making films. One of these that may make for a helpful youth ministry resource is their 'Middle Ground’ series. Over time, the format shows how many with widely differing opinions can find common ground on some issues, while also finding empathy for opposing viewpoints such that even the positions they stick to are articulated with more grace towards the opposing side.

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