Posts in Resources
FREE Lesson Plan on Worldview

This week, NEXT Institute friends at Rooted posted a FREE lesson plan and guide from Institute writer Stephen Yates available at their blog. Besides our hope that you check it out, posts like this raise a few evaluative questions in our minds…

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ResourcesStephen Yates
Workism in The Atlantic

This week, Derek Thompson, staff writer for The Atlantic, penned a fascinating and harrowing discussion of the state of American work, “Workism is Making American’s Miserable”. What is ‘workism’? “The belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose, and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work”, Thompson writes.

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ResourcesStephen 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
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
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
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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ResourcesStephen Yates
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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ResourcesStephen Yates
Mission Trip or Toxic Event? Resources for Navigating the Issue of Charity

While there are MANY conversations that can be held regarding the efficacy of such trips (such as whether they serve a discipleship or service role primarily, whether they should be exclusive or intergenerational, and how accessible such trips can actually be to youth), one of the most necessary is the question of whether or not mission/service trips aid the work of Christ and the people of Christ at the site of the service itself.

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National Coming Out Day Resources

October 11/12 is National Coming Out Day in many parts of the world, a time when individuals take the opportunity to share their stories of publicly declaring their identification with various alternative sexualities - sometimes for the first time. As some youth ministries may have had students participate in NCOD, perhaps unexpectedly, the Next Institute would like to share a few resources we feel are especially helpful in the areas of sexuality

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The Recent History of Youth Ministry

Especially if someone is coming into youth ministry after a decade or more away (as are many of our volunteers today), the youth ministry landscape can look very different than the ministries many of us found the Lord in. Many large publishers, resources, and historical organizations no longer exist, or at least have had their influence diminish, and a new generation of participants in the youth ministry conversation have emerged. The Next Institute was consulted for this article helping to explain some of the recent history of youth ministry in the United States. 

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Mike McGarry on Encouraging Weary Youth Pastors

…the longer a vocational youth worker is able to remain in healthy ministry, the longer one can grow in the capacity to care for students, shepherd them into adulthood, and communicate the gospel to them through learning about deep things like growing in one’s ability to teach well, the development of adolescents, how to deal with students and trauma, and emerging sociological trends.

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ResourcesStephen Yates