Lucy Pearson, Scripture Union, 2018

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What does it say on the tin?

Rooted is not a programme, it’s not something that you ‘do’ for ten weeks with a group of young people.

Rooted is a way of being, a way of thinking about long-term relational ministry with young people. Rooted works in any context, with any level of faith development and with any level of ability.

The Rooted model places the young person at the centre, and seeks to provide space for that young person to grow, flourish and be nurtured in a safe, committed and compassionate Christian community

The material contained within this resource gives you ideas for helping young people to explore the difference Jesus can make to their identity, purpose and self-worth.

What do you get?

Rooted is a free, 59-page PDF download, designed to help the leader think through how to engage in conversations with young people they are starting to get to know. It includes guidelines for ten sessions, although the author goes to lengths to explain that Rooted is more than simply lessons, it is to help you get to know the young people and build relationships. The sessions cover: identity, sharing stories, understanding emotions, exploring self-worth, friendships and choices, social media and influences, healthy eating and mental well-being, trying new skills, dreams and aspirations.

Each session has a range of activities to use including some ice breaker games, group discussions, a creative space activity, a reflection and a chance to explore faith.
The style is very informal and it is clear the author is keen for the youth leader to get to know their young people by chatting rather than leading through a purposeful session.

Who is it for?

11-16 year olds with little or no Christian background.


Free PDF download from Scripture Union’s website.


  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    Excellent. As a PDF, SU have produced a very attractive, easy to use resource. Each page is split into two halves, one side has a ‘rooted’ connected picture (such as of trees or concrete art, or of a young person), while the other half explains the different elements to the session. I can imagine this resource being really useful for working with young people who are not used to formal youth group sessions, and to start getting a new group of teenagers talking about issues together. The creative space in each session is a clear focus and is designed to help the group connect with the issue creatively (through art, design or drama) but is also the time where the leader can provoke discussion about faith. Often the material might act as a prompt for discussion rather than a specific list of tasks to complete. If you want to make it last longer there are also suggestions for each session on how to explore them further by doing longer activities such as in the opening session on getting to know each other and self-esteem, giving each person five minutes to talk about one of their hobbies. And in the session on social media and influence, organising a trip to the local shopping centre to reflect on the clothing they see, the impression it makes and how it makes them feel.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    The material has a clear introduction where the author sets out the ethos of Rooted, to create a Christian environment where the young people feel accepted. Each individual session has an introduction explaining where it fits in with the other session followed by clearly stated objectives. E.g. the session ‘What do I feel?’ exploring emotions has the objective: ‘for young people to have a safe space to explore their emotions and coping mechanisms’.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    They are very easy to use and to follow. It is easy to see what resources are needed for each activity as they are listed in brackets under the activity title.

    Who could lead it?

    Someone who is used to talking with young people, starting conversations and enabling people to contribute to a discussion.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?


    How good is any digital material?


    How much prep will I have to do?

    You will need to think through how you will use the material, if there are activities that need adapting for your group etc. Most importantly you will need to take time to think and pray about where you want any discussion to go.

    Is there website support? Links?

    No, but SU’s ‘the 95 Community’ on Facebook would be a good place to ask questions.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Whilst there are some activities that encourage solo engagement (eg draw a self-portrait), these are done to enable people to share their thoughts and feelings with one another. Each session looks to engage people with each other.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    The learning style is very casual and informal. It is based around having fun, chatting and doing something together. Some of the creative spaces may be challenging for those who don’t consider themselves to be artistic but the leader should be able to think up appropriate alternative activities which make a similar point.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    This is down to the individual leader. The author explains that it needs to be adapted to the local situation, but doesn’t give many suggestions as to how.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    The discussions and faith exploration sections both lead to the group discussing their opinions and thinking through what they might do as a result of the session.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    The material is based on a Christian ethos and is built on the fact that the leaders will be Christians and therefore influence for good through how they lead and what they say. There is little specific Bible content for this material, although a few times the author suggests that the leader might to include some Bible verses in activities and discussions. Each session does include a ‘faith exploration’ which is usually a series of questions to talk about whilst they carry out the creative space activity. For example, during the session on trying new skills, the faith questions focus on ‘Do you think God is proud of who you are?’ and ‘Do you think he cares?

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    I would have liked to have seen the option of using more Bible content and not having to create it for myself, or assuming that the leader knows how to ‘share an example of how God uses the least likely people throughout the Bible to do amazing things’ (for example!).

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    All the sessions are well designed to focus on the lives of the young people, and the use of the faith discussions fit into this focus as well.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?


  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This is clearly a first-steps- in-faith resource, and so looking to whole-life discipleship is too big a hope!

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    It helps people to even consider how God might have something to say on issues such as self-esteem, our use of social media, and the hobbies we have.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    It helps young people see God’s impact on all aspects of life, and that he wants to get to know them.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Very well. The session themes are varied and creative, all being key issues of interest to most young people. The author also suggests themes to explore in future sessions with your group.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    This is not covered.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    I think it helps people to realise they are more connected to their community and are influenced by it as well as could be influencers. Its strength is in engaging young people in issues that really matter to them.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    This is not a topic of this resource

    How well does it encourage global mission?


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