The dreaded cell phone. For years in youth ministry we have combatted the cell phone. In the early years it wasn't a battle because phones were so expensive to have and to use. In addition they were huge, a handheld looked like a military phone used to call in air strikes, the bag phone just wasn't cool to carry around.
Because I’m an old man I probably struggled more than others. When I was a teen we used land line phones if we were going to call each other. We waited until we saw each other to talk and have conversations. If we wanted to listen to music together we had to get into the 69 Bug (this was in 85, I’m not that old) and listen to Phil Collins on the boombox located in my backseat because I was too poor to install a stereo system. To take a picture I had to get the roll of film for my Kodak camera, as a result I don’t have many pictures of me and my friends from the days of old.
I have seen the problems cell phones cause on youth trips or at youth group gatherings. Students get locked into their own world with a friend who didn’t come on the trip, or boyfriend/girlfriend. The student who puts in the ear buds to block out everyone else. For sure there are problems with the cell phone on the trip or at youth worship gatherings. Here it comes . . . .
BUT . . .
There are some benefits to the cell phone:
On the trip to the amusement park you can find students quickly and easily. You can remind them in a group text to meet at the main gate at 8:55pm, etc.
Pictures are one of the best ways to promote events. Students can instantly post pics to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
You can’t be everywhere at the event at one time so students can share their pics with you to use to promote the event next year and on your web site/Facebook page.
Students are using their cell phone with Youversion app for their Bible reading. A lot easier to carry to youth group and they actually have a Bible with them at all times.
Great pics from youth group worship can be posted immediately.
The “hover parent” can text their kid instead of texting you at 11:30pm to see how “Johnny” is doing on the trip.
BUT . . .
It’s good to lay down some ground rules.
Our rules at our Student Church on Sunday nights:
If we see you texting a bunch we ask you to put it away. If you are constantly on your phone we have a nice little box to put your phone in.
You are welcome to use your phone to take pics, post to social media.
Please use your phone and use your Bible app if you didn’t bring your Bible.
No earbuds or headphones.