Archive for May 6th, 2010

Engage Me!

In March our youth staff hear from Dr. Tim Elmore, writer of the Habitudes books, and leadership development guru. He spends a lot of his time studying and researching generations in the past to help us understand where generations of the future will go. He is passionate about shaping the future of the next generation of students. Text Message

In one of his sessions we talked about what he calls generation iY. It’s generation Y, but with the influence of all things Apple, iPhone, iTunes, iTouch, iPad… etc. He helped us discover that the generation we are currently working with in our student ministries desires one thing: to engage them. No longer will students of today respond to someone telling them what to think. They want to come to the conclusion themselves, they want to discover. This generation of students is the first generation that doesn’t need a leader to get information. They have the internet for that. What they need from us is help interpreting that information. But we can’t just tell them what to thing, we have to help them discover, we have to engage them.

Our team at LifeChurch.tv took this seriously as they prepared the next series of content. They came up with the idea that before a youth pastor got up on stage and “told” the students what to think through preaching, we asked the students to first upload their thoughts on the subject. How did we do this? In our ministry we meet in small groups led by adult leaders. Instead of meeting in our small groups at the end of the night, we met at the beginning. We told the students that as a group we had the opportunity to upload our thoughts through text messages. We came up with what our group thought was the biggest lesson we learned from our discussion and then one member text the lesson to the youth pastor who would use it in his short sermon at the end of the night.

We spoke their language! You should’ve seen the excitement. Getting to use their phones, which are appendages to their bodies, to engage them on their level changed the game in many of our small groups. The students loved the idea of formulating a thought on their own and then using technology to make that thought known. We engage them. Instead of telling them what to think, we helped them learn how to think.

In this day and age with students, we need everything we can get to help reach them. Try it at your church and let me know the impact engaging your students brings to the group.

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