Youth pastors, Sunday School teachers and other next-generation leaders should help students understand the issues associated with digital devices during class.
As it’s been said, “anyone can do two things at once. It takes real discipline to do one thing at once.”
“Technology, with all its countless opportunities for communication, also closes the door for communication with those around us.” – Nancy Colier
I recently saw a news story where a school was abandoning tablets and going with analog books again. I’ve heard Michael Hyatt say he’s setting aside digital calendars and planners and going back to pen and paper.
Another news article claims that kids are losing their ability to empathize with others and technology is the reason. You can’t become emotionally literate with emojis.
And though I’m a big fan of having the Bible right there on my phone, I think it’s probably good for students to feel the pages of the Bible during classes, studies and groups. They need to be able to see what comes before and after those verses to be able to put it on context. With a physical Bible they get a sense of the order, the story and the power.
But more importantly, it’s good for students to have a few moments each week to “set their hearts on things above.” It’s good for students to understand the proper manners of paying attention to the people around them.
Especially in student ministry times, small groups, or Sunday school, give your students the gift of learning the power of off. Set a high expectation. Ask them to keep their phones off and out of the way. Hold them to it. Be creative if need be. Figure out a way to help them experience a few minutes of their week focused on God’s word, faith and the people around them. Help them become disciplined in this digital world.
They don’t need to be free from devices, but they need to experience freedom in them. Help them learn who is in control.