We are in a fascinating place, for most of the students, this stuff (technology) is not a big deal. They can’t remember a time where there wasn’t the internet, or social media. As leaders, we may struggle with technology. I have to admit that I embraced computers and technology early, but I cannot keep up with all that is being produced in today’s digital world. Though I cannot keep up, I do what I can to engage children and youth with the technology they use. I do what I can to relate to them where they are.
Jeremy shared that of today’s youth, 91% go online using mobile devices. Of that 91%, 94% go online daily or often. It crosses racial and socioeconomic boundaries. Today’s youth are engaged with technology.
Jeremy shared 5 Assumptions about Technology that we need to know because they matter. Jeremy has these posted on his website and will be expanding on these five assumptions over his next few posts. Here is a brief synopsis of those assumptions:
Technology is both a set of tools…and a way of thinking.
Youth today speak in terms of technology. They say that their “hard-drives” are full (their minds are full), they “un-friend” others in life, not just Facebook. Technology and its language is a part of their culture.
Technology is based on the concept of efficiency. (do it faster, better, cheaper)
Moses had tablets, the Israelites and Jewish people had scrolls, then the printing press was invented, now things are digital. Technology makes life easier and more efficient.
Technology assumes the outcome is known and can be replicated/reproduced.
If we know the outcome, then we can anticipate it and work on systems to improve how we get to that end. But life is not always a direct route and technology cannot always anticipate all scenarios because of human emotion, human decisions, etc.
Technology can help with ministry processes that need to be accomplished efficiently.
Technology, like child check-in systems, can make things more efficient and quicker, but we must ask ourselves a question. Should everything be done quicker? Do we lose relationships when we make things faster. Which brings us to our last assumption….
Relationship trumps technology
It is a different experience sitting face-to-face. You see facial expressions, hear the fluctuation on another’s voice, sense the excitement they have and really get to know them. Have you ever sent a text, or made a Facebook post/message, that was misinterpreted by another because they read it with more anger than you wrote it with. Even the 😉 emoticon didn’t lighten the tone of the text and now you spend countless hours trying to correct that misunderstanding and repair the relationship. Personal relationships are still vital and technology cannot replace that one on one connection.
So how do we use technology in our ministry? Here is one example.
At the beginning of the night, have the students turn on their mobile device and allow them to use it to seek information (what they do best). The assignment was, “pretend I’m from another planet, tell me who God is”.
They search Wikipedia, Googled and found great quotes and comments from others. Then they were asked to talk and come up with an answer. The answer they gave was simply, “God is a loving Father and an all powerful creator”. Then they were asked to look up the Apostle’s Creed which begins, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”.
Their minds were “blown”. The definition they came up with was the same one written thousands of years before.
At that point, they were told to turn off their devices because they were not needed for the discussion they were about to hold.
Technology became a tool to teach, not a tool to engage and disciple. The technology they were familiar with helped them find knowledge, then the discussion “brought it home”. We need to be present with people like Jesus was present to make disciples.
Society says to make an app…. God desires relationship. That’s what the Bible is all about, beginning with Genesis and the garden, relationships with one another and with God.
Let us use technology with youth where they are, but not as a means to replace personal relationships, which open up communication when they really need to talk to someone face to face, and discipleship.
A resource that Jeremy recommended is a book entitled The App Generation, by Howard Gardner & Katie Davis
The point is not to use technology, it is a part of everyday life, but with technology, May we never go to slow or to fast, but always at God’s speed.