Monday, March 23, 2009

Text Me

"Back in my day. . ."  This is how you know you are old when you use lines like that.  OR "kids today . . ." .    

Cell phones, didn't have them when I was in youth group.  When I went to youth group or a youth activity I had a choice to make, join in on the fun, make connections with other students or go sit by myself in a corner.  Today students can make the choice to join in on the fun, make connections with other students or they can go off in the corner and talk or text on their cell phone.  Cell phones create a barrier for students to connect with other live and in person students at youth group.    We had a new girl visit youth group last summer.  She came with her phone on her ear and it stayed on her ear almost the entire time.  Students approached her to welcome her only to get the cold shoulder.  She didn't want to be there and was using her phone as the barrier. 

This problem would be the equivalent of you inviting me to your house for dinner and an evening of hanging out together and I show up with my lap top and I open the lap top and ignore you the entire time.  Pretty much a rude act.

Most youth groups have some sort of cell phone policy.  We don't allow them on trips.  If a student needs to call home we have enough adults available with phones.  I've even heard the "I won't call anyone but am using it as my alarm clock" excuse.  Guess what?  They make a cool little item called a digital alarm clock.  We want to remove the barrier.  Did once have a student borrow an adult leader's phone to call her mom.  She talked to mom for over a half hour.  That seemed a bit weird to me.  The adult leader hit redial and the girl's boyfriend answered the phone.  Remove the barrier.  At our weekly youth group gathering students can bring their phone but they are not supposed to use it to make calls or text unless it is to call or text parents or to call and invite a friend to youth group.  

We understand that cell phones are a part of life in our world today.  I don't leave home without mine.   We also understand that cell phones can get in the way of the bigger picture.  Students should be forming relationships and connections with other students while at youth group, that is what fellowship is about.  Relationships are what keep students coming back to youth group, not the cool and hip youth pastor, not the bag of chips and junk food.  We were meant to live life together.  Cell phones have their place but can be a barrier to fellowship.

10 comments:

Colston said...

Hey Andy,
I have noticed that within our group we have a larger problem with students on their ipods listening to music.
One thing we have done is used the cell phone to our advantage. I have encouraged our students to bring them but only use them when I tell them to.
There is a website called, www.polleverywhere.com
This website has allowed me to get answers from teens without forcing them to answer questions in front of everyone.
One thing I have done as well is started what we call Daily Dose. I take a scripture and a little challenge and I text it to students right before school starts that way they think about God right before they enter the class room. ALot of students have enjoyed that.
Technology is always going to be here and our societ os only going to become more dependent on it. SO instead of fighting the culture, use it to our advantage.

Seth said...

Love the thoughts from Colston...

Fyi...I have never used this but have heard of a mythical tool that you can place in your building that when you turn it on...it blocks the cell phone signal and causes cell phones to be rendered useless...they could only use for notes or what not...might look into that...the only problem is that I could no longer txt all my friends either...is that a sacrifice i would be willing to make....lol

also loving Twitter...it has been a great tool...of course Atokans are a little slow to jump on the twitter band wagon...of course that is because most don't even have internet access yet...We will move forward though...

Love the thought Andy dandy...

Andy Lawrenson said...

Good stuff Colston.

I like the daily dose idea. I'll check out that poll site.

Thanks

ZazFamily said...

Andy, who is the cool and hip youth pastor. just kidding, great informtaion to take to our college group also!!

Barb said...

I'm not a youth pastor but a mom of recently graduated youth ... Colston's daily dose idea, and "using to our advantage" is awesome. I have friends who say, "I refuse to use email, text, etc" just because they don't want to learn it. I say I'm going to learn the technology so that I'll be connected to my kids. I don't like texting but I've learned how!

Barb said...

Right after my last comment, I read this article - "coincidence"? I don't think so. This story comes from Taylor University, which 3 of my kids have attended.

http://www.taylor.edu/community/news/news_detail.shtml?inode=95807&pageTitle=Team’s%20Study,%20Communication%20Impress%20Journalist

Bonnie said...

What an INTERESTING post. Just LAST NIGHT, I noted that there was a marked increase of cell phone texting during youth group, and I asked another adult leader if the policy had been changed. She said she didn't think so, so we were gonna ask you. I guess the answer is no. We'll drop the bomb on them next week....

ladybug said...

just wondering if we should have a bucket for all those phones we are going to check in at the door?

Andy Lawrenson said...

@ladybug

Sort of like checking your gun when entering Dodge?

I don't think we will unless it continues to be a problem. I wasn't there Sunday night but I bet I could list the few students who were texting.

brunettekoala said...

@ladybug - lol. You've reminded me of a university lecturer who would open her first lecture of the year by bringing in a big bucket of water popping it on the desk in front of all the freshers in the lecture theatre and warn them if any of their phones went off during any of her lectures, that's where their phones would drown...!

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