08.07.17

Hi! Happy August!! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
Complaining is like throwing up. Afterwards, you feel better but then everyone around you feels sick. #gordon
 
A happy person is not a person with a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. #Downs
 
When the enemy points to everything I’m not, I point to everything God is. #furtick
 
God’s grace is not just an addition to our life. It’s a contradiction to our life. #keller
 
As leaders, we are never responsible for filling anyone else’s cup. Our responsibility is to empty ours. #Stanley
 
 
FYI:
 
1. Top Questions to ask college students before they head to school… https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/blog/questions-college-students?utm_source=E-Journal+%2F+Parent+Update&utm_campaign=67215008f2-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e88a54a953-67215008f2-312895925&mc_cid=67215008f2&mc_eid=4cf06de2c7
 
2. Gen Z most diverse media users… http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2017/youth-movement-gen-z-boasts-the-largest-most-diverse-media-users-yet.html

3. How Living Counter-Culturally Can Lead to Your Kids’ Resentment of Christianity… http://christianmomthoughts.com/how-living-counter-culturally-can-lead-to-your-kids-resentment-of-christianity/

Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Addressing Sexuality With Teenagers by Michael Guyer
6 Tech Habits Changing the American Home  by Barca Group  
Do Christian Teens Really Believe in Jesus? by Group Magazine
One Act That Improves Kids’ Emotional Health by Tim Elmore
 

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

I may have posted this years ago but it is absolutely awesome! Totally worth your time!!
 
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
God’s Timing 
 
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1
God’s timing can be frustrating, but it eventually leads to freedom. Perhaps you strongly desire something or someone. It is right at your fingertips but you can’t have it now and that frustrates you. The timing is not right, for whatever reason. It may not be right for you and/or it may not be right for the other person. However, you can allow this frustration to lead you to freedom.  
God may be protecting you from failure because you are not ready for the grueling responsibility that lies ahead. There are still valuable lessons to learn where you are. It’s like your last semester of school. You are way past ready for graduation, but there are still final exams to study for and pass. You need to do your best where you are before moving on to God’s next assignment.  
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days”  (John 11:5-6).
Timing is everything. Your son really needs you right now during this challenging stage of his life. The insecurities of his teenage years are eating him alive. He needs extra attention and time from you to navigate through this uncertainty. This is a season, a season that will not be repeated. Your career can wait; children can’t. Yes, children are resilient and may not even say anything during difficult times, but you can rest assured that they will never forget that you were there for them. The security and confidence you sow into your children will stay with them for a lifetime. Your absence will stick with them as well. Fearful and insecure adults were once fearful and insecure children. So, allow this season of life to build bridges rather than barriers between you and your children. It is just for a moment in time. In the blink of an eye, they will be gone. 
 
Learn to celebrate various seasons of life. Do not resist them; embrace them. Join the wonder of their realities. The marriage of your adult child is imminent, so celebrate the occasion. Do not let the stress of the details and the outlay of cash rob you of the joy connected to this momentous occasion. You can rest in the fact that He has brought these two together. This is what you have prayed for concerning your child. You have prayed for a marriage into a God-fearing and Christ-honoring family. You have prepared them the best way you know how.
Ultimately it is in God’s hands. As the father and the mother of the bride or groom, learn how to let go and allow them to become one flesh. Your relationship will look different going forward. This is a new stage of life. So, do not try to control them. Let go of them and leave them in God’s hands. Your ability to adapt and adjust to new seasons of life has a direct correlation to your joy and happiness. God’s timing can be a surprise.  It is rarely early and never late.
Jesus understood this when He said to His mother, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come” (John 2:4).
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the patience to wait on Your best and the humility to glorify You in the process, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

Why It’s Worth It

Ministry–let’s be real shall we–it isn’t always glorious. It isn’t always rewarding. It isn’t always easy.

You don’t usually hear that right out of Bible college or seminary. You hear just the opposite: You’re equipped! Thousands like you have gone before. Take the world by storm. Be Jesus to the masses.

Ministry is Hard

The reality is this: ministry is difficult, messy, full of broken people, and not about you. This can lead us to some very hard places. Places of doubt and anxiety. Feelings of am I good enough? We may question our calling and if it’s time to move on. 

I’ve been there. In fact, if I were completely honest, I’ve been there more times than I care to admit. I just walked through a period exactly like I described. Feelings of doubt. Questions of calling. Hurt. Depression. Worthlessness. Asking God why…

The truth is I questioned if I was to be in ministry after a very, very hard season. A season that saw much pain and grief. A season marked by a lack of affirmation, being moved without understanding why and wondering why we were leaving good students who we loved and cared for.

“God,” I cried out, “Why does it hurt?! Did You not call me to this? Why is there so much pain? Such heartache? Do you have a plan? Am I washed up?”

Many of you are or have been there. You question why. You wonder if you’re called. You take a break from ministry to heal and consider not going back. You cry…for hours, days, months…you’ve been there. I have too. 

But It’s Worth It

But in walking through this I have seen that it is worth it. That God has a plan. That ministry can and will get better. That there is light at the end of the very long tunnel. That we are called. That the enemy will try to use doubt, inadequacies, hurtful comments, critical natures, and rough patches to try to turn you from being God’s faithful servant.

Brothers and sisters hear me: we are CALLED according to God’s purpose, by the One who foreknew us, and is using us to accomplish His WORKMANSHIP! Ministry was never meant to be easy. We are called to a life of difficulty in ministering to a world that has turned its back on its Savior. There will be moments of SUFFERING, moments of FRACTURING, but also moments of GREAT JOY!

We do not do this for our own affirmation. We do not do this for notoriety. We do not do this to be the best friend of students or to be the most popular youth pastor. We do not do this to be liked or given gifts. We do not do this to be the center. We do this to point to the Center: our Savior.

My friends. My co-laborers. Know that ministry is hard, but it is worth it! We may not always see it on this side of eternity, but know that you can continue to serve because our rest and OUR REWARD IS IN HIM AND HIM ALONE. The author and perfecter of all things! It will get better, God will use you, lives will be changed, and God will say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” Ministry is worth it!

08.07.17

6 Tech Habits Changing the American Home  by Barca Group

barna.org

Parents today believe it is harder than ever to raise children. The number-one reason? Technology.

That’s a key finding at the heart of The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, a new book by Andy Crouch. Two years ago, as we dreamed of partners for upcoming book and research projects, Crouch was at the top of our list. Crouch—a leading cultural commentator, one-of-a-kind speaker, senior communication strategist at John Templeton Foundation and former executive editor of Christianity Today—shares a different side of himself in this book: a dad who, alongside his wife, Catherine, has learned firsthand the challenges and rewards of engaging with technology intentionally (or sparingly) as a family. This book combines Crouch’s clear and incisive thinking with original Barna research among parents, who are feeling the tensions of parenting in a digital age.

In this sneak peek of The Tech-Wise Familywe look at some of the top revelations about how parents and kids relate to their devices and to each other.

Monitoring Technology Makes Parenting Even More Difficult
It’s a complex, rapidly changing world, and parents today are feeling it. Nearly eight in 10 parents (78%) believe that they have a more complicated job in raising their kids today than their parents did raising them. Technology is the number one reason parents believe it is harder than ever to raise children. Beyond that, parents seem to most often identify issues that feel beyond their control and that are global in scope: a more dangerous world or a lack of a common morality. The consequences of these difficulties feel dire and so, perhaps, scare parents more than local or personal factors such as finances, bullying at school or high academic pressures.

Life Truly Happens in the Living Room
Most families do almost everything together in their family or living room. Two-thirds of parents (65%) say they spend the most time as a family in this space, with the kitchen coming in as the preferred second space. Entertainment, leisure and creativity all overlap in this space—likely contributing to a presence of technology within all of these activities. Families are most often participating in leisure or entertainment activities in the family room (79%), but it’s also the place where families say their creative activities happen (51%).

“Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep … with My Smartphone”
When they do go to bed, most people take their phones with them. A full seven in 10 parents say they sleep with their phone next to them. Alarmingly, parents say their kids are even more likely to take their phones to bed: More than eight in 10 parents of teens (82%) say their child takes their phone to bed and more than seven in ten parents of preteens (72%) say the same. And when that phone is right next to you, it’s tempting to reach for it when you wake up: 62 percent of parents say checking their phone is the first thing they do in the morning. What are they doing on their phone while they rub away the cobwebs of sleep? Most check their email (74%). Social media (48%), news (36%) and calendar organization (24%) also vie for their attention. Less than one in five (17%) are using a Bible or devotional app.

Parents Might Limit Kids’ Device Usage—But Don’t Eliminate It
Children are spending an average of five hours on an electronic device (tablet, phone, computer, etc.) every day. Even at this amount, most parents say they are limiting the amount of time their kids spend on electronic devices (60%). Millennial parents—perhaps because they have younger children or perhaps because they are more likely to be immersed in and therefore experiencing their own angst around electronic usage—are more likely (73%) than Gen-Xer (57%) or Boomer parents (57%) to limit their children’s time on electronic devices. Limiting time seems more popular than eliminating the devices: Most kids have phones. Nearly nine in 10 parents with teenagers (88%) say their teen has a phone and just under half of parents with preteens (48%) say their child does.

Video Games and Family Time Dominate After School Hours
Aside from television watching, technology occupies a central place in many of the after-school activities of children: Four in 10 parents (42%) say their children regularly play video games after school, three in 10 (27%) are on social media or texting with friends, and a quarter (25%) are online other than for homework. Of course, there’s plenty of offline activity too: Nearly six in 10 (56%) spend time engaging with family members, four in 10 (39%) are playing informally, one-third (32%) are reading other than for homework, a quarter (23%) are playing organized sports, and more than one-fifth (22%) are hanging out with friends.

Parents Say Tech Disrupts the Dinner Table
When it comes to family meal time (which parents, on average, say happens at least six times a week), parents are apt to admit this space has been disrupted by electronic devices: One-quarter (24%) say they strongly agree that electronic devices are a significant disruption to their family meals, with an additional nearly one-fifth (18%) saying they somewhat agree. However, about one-third of parents (32%) say devices are not allowed at the table, and another one in five (22%) say family members rarely bring their devices to the table. Only one in five (19%) say their family members always bring their devices to the table.

What The Research Means
“Technology is literally everywhere in our homes—not only the devices in our pockets but the invisible electromagnetic waves that flood our homes,” writes Andy Crouch in his new book The Tech-Wise Family, written in partnership with original Barna research. “This change has come about overnight, in the blink of an eye in terms of human history and culture. When previous generations confronted the perplexing challenges of parenting and family life, they could fall back on wisdom, or at least old wives’ tales, that had been handed down for generations. But the pace of technological change has surpassed anyone’s capacity to develop enough wisdom to handle it. We are stuffing our lives with technology’s new promises, with no clear sense of whether technology will help us keep the promises we’ve already made.

“If we don’t learn to put technology, in all its forms, in its proper place, we will miss out on many of the best parts of life in a family,” continues Crouch. “Figuring out the proper place for technology in our particular family and stage of life requires discernment rather than a simple formula. But almost anything is better than letting technology overwhelm us with its default settings, taking over our lives and stunting our growth in the ways that really matter. And I think there are some things that are true at every stage of life:

“Technology is in its proper place when it helps us bond with the real people we have been given to love,” insists Crouch. “Technology is in its proper place when it starts great conversations; when it helps us take care of the fragile bodies we inhabit; when it helps us acquire skills and mastery of domains that are the glory of human culture (sports, music, the arts, cooking, writing, accounting; the list could go on and on). Technology is in its proper place when it helps us cultivate awe for the created world we are part of and responsible for stewarding. Technology is in its proper place only when we use it with intention and care.”

04.10.17

Meet Those Who “Love Jesus but Not the Church” by Barna Group

barna.org

We live in an increasingly secular American culture. In this new age, religion is in retreat from the public square, and traditional institutions like the church are no longer functioning with the cultural authority they once held in generations past. Today, nearly half of America is unchurched. But even though more and more Americans are abandoning the institutional church and its defined boundary markers of religious identity, many still believe in God and practice faith outside its walls.

This is the first of a two-part exploration of faith and spirituality outside the church. Let’s start with a look at the fascinating segment of the American population who, as the saying goes, “love Jesus but not the church.” (Return next week when Barna will break down the identity of the “spiritual, but not religious.”)

Traditionally Christian—with Exceptions
To get at a sense of enduring faithfulness among Christians despite a rejection of the institutional church, Barna created a metric to capture those who most neatly fit this description. It includes those who self-identify as Christian and who strongly agree that their religious faith is very important in their life, but are “dechurched”—that is, they have attended church in the past, but haven’t done so in the last six months (or more). These individuals have a sincere faith (89% have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important to their life today), but are notably absent from church.

According to aggregate Barna tracking data, this group makes up one-tenth of the population, and it’s growing (up from 7% in 2004). The majority are women (61%), and four-fifths (80%) are between the ages of 33 and 70. That is, they are mostly Gen-Xers (36%) and Boomers (44%), not Millennials (14%) or Elders (6%). Though Millennials are the least churched generation, they are also the least likely to either identify as Christian or say faith is very important to their life, explaining their underrepresentation among this group. Elders are underrepresented for the opposite reason—they are the generation most likely to attend church regularly.

This group also appears to be mostly white (63%) and concentrated in the South (33%), Midwest (30%) and West (25%), with very few hailing from the Northeast (13%)—a region typically home to the most post-Christian cities in America. The fact that they are just as likely to identify as Democrat (30%) than Republican (25%) is interesting, particularly for Christians and those in the South and Midwest, who typically are disproportionately Republican. It’s possible that left-leaning people of faith are encountering some level of political discord with their church, which may have prompted an exit.

Orthodox Belief Despite Church Absence
Despite leaving the church, this group has maintained a robustly orthodox view of God. In every case, their beliefs about God are more orthodox than the general population, even rivaling their church-going counterparts. For instance, they strongly believe there is only one God (93% compared to U.S. adults: 59% and practicing Christians: 90%); affirm that “God is the all-powerful, all- knowing, perfect creator of the universe who rules the world today” (94% compared to U.S. adults: 57% and practicing Christians: 85%); and strongly agree that God is everywhere (95% compared to U.S. adults: 65% and practicing Christians: 92%).

Positive, if Amorphous, Views of Religion
Despite their apparent discomfort with the church, this group still maintains a very positive view of religion. When asked whether they believe religion is mostly harmful, their response once again stood out from the general population, and aligned with their church-going counterparts (71% strongly disagree, compared to 71% among practicing Christians and 48% among U.S adults).

But the story changes slightly when it comes to the distinctiveness of Christianity: Just over half (55%) disagree (strongly and somewhat) that all religions basically teach the same thing, much closer to the general population (51%) than practicing Christians (68%), and even further from evangelicals (86%). In the absence of a rigid religious identity provided by the authority of the church, this group appears to be more affirming of the claims of other religions and open to finding and identifying common ground.

Privately Spiritual
Due to their enduring religious affiliation and overtly religious faith, this group falls outside of the characterization of “spiritual but not religious” folks—the topic of next week’s article. But one thing they do share is a sense of spirituality. Slightly fewer than nine in 10 (89%) identify as “spiritual,” on par with practicing Christians (90%), and far exceeding the national average (65%).

But unlike practicing Christians and evangelicals, this spirituality is deeply personal—even private—with many preferring to keep spiritual matters to themselves: only two in five (18%) say they talk with their friends about spiritual matters often. This is less than half as much as practicing Christians (41%), and almost four times less than evangelicals (67%), who are known for evangelizing and sharing their faith. When asked specifically about evangelizing—whether they personally have a responsibility to tell others about their religious beliefs—the differences are even more striking. Fewer than three in 10 of the “love Jesus but not the church” group agrees strongly that they have a responsibility to proselytize (28%), compared to more than half of practicing Christians (56%) and all of Evangelicals (100%). So, while “spiritual” topics may often or sometimes come up, the actual act of trying to convert someone is a low priority for this group.

Informal Paths to God
This group still actively practices their faith, albeit in less traditional ways. They maintain an active prayer life (83%, compared to 83% of practicing Christians), but only read scripture half as much as the average practicing Christian (26% compared to 56%). In addition, they are much less likely to read a book on spiritual topics (9% compared to 36% of practicing Christians), and never attend groups or retreats (compared to 24% of practicing Christians). This all points to a broader abandonment of authoritative sources of religious identity, leading to much more informal and personally-driven faith practices. They are certainly still finding and experiencing God, but they are more likely to do so in nature (32% compared to 24% of practicing Christians), and through practices like meditation (20% compared to 18%), yoga (10% compared to 7%) and silence and solitude (both 15%).

What the Research Means
We will explore this topic of faith outside the church much more in the coming weeks, but one thing that’s most worth noting among this group of people who “love Jesus but not the church” is their continued commitment to faith. “This group represents an important and growing avenue of ministry for churches,” says Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group. “Particularly if you live in a more churched area of the country, it’s more than likely you have a significant number of these disaffected Christians in your neighborhoods. They still love Jesus, still believe in Scripture and most of the tenets of their Christian faith. But they have lost faith in the church. While many people in this group may be suffering from church wounds, we also know from past research that Christians who do not attend church say it’s primarily not out of wounding, but because they can find God elsewhere or that church is not personally relevant to them. The critical message that churches need to offer this group is a reason for churches to exist at all. What is it that the church can offer their faith that they can’t get on their own? Churches need to be able to say to these people—and to answer for themselves—that there is a unique way you can find God only in church. And that faith does not survive or thrive in solitude.”

About the Research
Interviews with U.S. adults included 1,281 web-based surveys conducted among a representative sample of adults over the age of 18 in each of the 50 United States. The survey was conducted November 4-15, 2016. The sampling error for this study is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, at the 95% confidence level. Minimal statistical weighting was used to calibrate the sample to known population percentages in relation to demographic variables.

Millennials: Born between 1984 and 2002
Gen-Xers: Born between 1965 and 1983
Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964
Elders: Born between 1945 or earlier

Practicing Christian: Those who attend a religious service at least once a month, who say their faith is very important in their lives and self-identify as a Christian.

Evangelicals: meet nine specific theological criteria. They say they have made “a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today,” that their faith is very important in their life today; believe that when they die they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior; strongly believe they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; firmly believe that Satan exists; strongly believe that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; strong agree that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; strong assert that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches; and describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today. Being classified as an evangelical is not dependent on church attendance, the denominational affiliation of the church attended or self-identification. Respondents were not asked to describe themselves as “evangelical.”

03.13.17

Teens Rule the Web by Admin

youthministrymedia.ca

Teenagers today rule the online world.  They are more tech savvy than you or I.  I was recently talking with a friend about how classrooms are changing across North America.  Teachers can’t keep up with the changing technological curve.  Teachers are behind the curve, and they have classes to keep them supposedly refreshed in the topic.  The problem is that students are digital natives.  This is their world.

How are you helping parents navigate the digital world?

Below is an infographic called: The Youth Rule The Web.

Here are a few things that stand out.

The average teenager gets a cell phone between 12-13.  I don’t know a teenager in High School without a cell phone.  They use it all day, and more students I work with have changing bricks to use at school.  Almost all teenagers have a phone, and they are on it all the time.

The biggest issue is that parents aren’t seeing the dangers of their kid’s access to a digital device.  50% of the students polled have hidden or cleared their browsing history.

Parents don’t know where kids are going online.  How can we help parents understand the dangers of the digital world?  This all starts with a conversation.  It’s a conversation about boundaries.  It’s a conversation about who is in control of whom.

When I talk with parents about their kids online behaviours, I am always amazed at how in the dark the parent is.  It’s not about just taking the phone away, it’s about helping their kid navigate a digital world.

We know that we are going to make mistakes.  That is why we need Jesus.  But, we can set up some boundaries that will help their teenager thrive instead of just survive in a digital world.

80% of colleges look at your social media profiles.  We are going to have more critical conversations in the future over posts online.  I know it’s coming.  We are going to be questioned on the things we retweet or like on Facebook.

A few years ago, I had a potential employer find out through one of my amazon reviews that I read a controversial book.  It led to conversations about certain beliefs, and eventually we ended up going our own ways.  What we post online isn’t just for a few people.  It’s for the whole world.

Teenagers live in a public world.  Their digital footprint will be around for generations.

How can we help students live out authentic lives that follow Jesus online?  I think this means becoming more transparent ourselves online.  It means helping parents understand that we don’t need to just project the best things, but we need to tell the true things about our lives.

06.20.16

The Differing Online Habits of Millennials by Koby Milton

When were you born?  If you were born in 1980 and on, you are either a Millennial, or generation Z.

youthministrymedia.ca/infographics/the-differing-online-habits-of-millennials-infographic/

This infographic called: Kids of the past vs internet generation is worth checking out.  It’s helpful to see the differences between 4 different generations.  Is it worse today?  Here are some things that stood out.

  1. 90% of millennials use the internet.  I am not surprised by this, but only 10 percent of millennials and above don’t use the internet.  This really is the new way of life.  I have seen students bullied for not being online.  If you want to see where students are today, they are online.  Millennials are the one to get their news online.  Last weekend, I was talking to a student about T.V.  We were at a cabin watching cable T.V, and he said, “who still watching cable t.v?, this is trash.”  Millennials are going to stream shows they want, or get it on netflix.
  2. Children are 6 time more likely to play a video game than ride a bike.  This is true.  I have been biking with my kids each week, and I never see people out.  If I was to log on to my console to play a video game, the majority of my students would be there.  One of the ways to reach students in my ministry context in the past has been to play online with them.  This has been a successful way to develop a relationship while doing something together.
  3. 54% of millennials have some college.  This is the most educated generation.  The majority of students are graduating and moving on to college.  One of the things my ministry has been thinking through is whats next for students who graduate out of the ministry.  What its he goal?  The goal for us is to have students attend one year at a Bible College.
  4. 22% of 17 year olds read each day for fun.  This one took awhile to decipher.  Students are reading less and less.  What does this mean for students and Bible reading?  Are they reading the Bible on their app?  If only 22% of students are reading for fun, and 26% voluntarily read a book if they read it previously, will it become increasing difficult for students to maintain a Bible reading plan?  Millennials are so focused on screen time, they are ditching reading.  I would love to know what the stats are on millennials reading the Bible through apps like you version.  I wonder if it’s better today or worse?

Check out the infographic below.

03.14.16

Teen Suicide with Infographic by Walt Mueller

cpyu.org

A recent cluster of teen suicides in Palo Alto, California has brought what continues to be a disturbing and alarming trend front and center for those love and care about kids. The developmental and situational pressures that are part of growing up in today’s world can be overwhelming. Social media, bullying, pushy parents, pressures for grades, and mental health issues are just a few of the realities that combine in the lives of so many kids to create a perfect storm, which when leading kids to feel like a lonely island, leave them incredibly vulnerable.

Today, I want to pass on a helpful infographic from the folks at Teen Help (see below). In addition, I want to point parents, youth workers, and others who care about kids to some very helpful resources that sit at arm’s length in your library. Here are my recommended books. . .

A Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers in Crisis, by Rich Van Pelt and Jim Hancock

Help, My Kids Are Hurting, by Marv Penner

Preventing Suicide, by Karen Mason

The Youthworker’s Guide To Helping Teenagers in Crisis, by Rich Van Pelt and Jim Hancock

When Life Goes Dark: Finding Hope in the Midst of Depression, by Richard Winter

02.29.16

A Selfie-Obsessed Generation by Kolby Milton

youthministrymedia.ca

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU TOOK A SELFIE?

Okay, I’ll be honest—the last time I took one was last night. I was at youth group, and I wanted to get a picture with my small group of students. People are obsessed with taking pictures of themselves. It’s crazy! Think about it: how many photos in your Instagram feed have your face in them?

When we talk about idols today, one of the big ones this generation is facing is narcissism. It’s all about us. I recently read about how Kim Kardashian photoshopped her Instagram photos. It’s not surprising when we live in a culture that’s so image-obsessed.

A woman named Essena O’Neill quit Instagram claiming that nothing was real about her account. She states in this article in THE GUARDIAN: “Yet I, myself, was consumed by it. This was the reason why I quit social media: for me, personally, it consumed me. I wasn’t living in a 3D world.” Of her FIRST-EVER POST, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes, she said: “I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it. It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation . . . Now marks the day I quit all social media and focus on real life projects.”

There’s an idolatry associated with social media. What’s the image we’re putting out there? What are we trying to receive from it? Some of the students I work with understand that they could make a ton of money from Instagram if they leverage it right. There’s a thing about being “insta” famous.

The infographic from RAWHIDE.ORG called “Selfie Obsession: The Rise of Social Media Narcissism” is timely.

Here are few things that stand out:

  1. Every year, teens spend the equivalent of seven working days taking selfies. This is crazy!
  2. Traits of selfie-obsessed teens are over-friending and self-promotion. When was the last time you unfriended people? I try to do it every two months. I can’t keep up with my friends at my church, so why would I think having more than 500 friends on Facebook would help build relationships? (With that said, I have built some awesome friendships online, and last year I was able to hang out with a few of those awesome people.) There are warning signs of people who are complete narcissists. If you see any of these signs, you should address it. Our students shouldn’t feel as if their worth is based on the number of likes they have. You are not your likes on social media.
  3. The three Rs of selfie-control: reduce, rethink, reflect. These are gold. I‘ve been saying for years that if your social media accounts aren’t fostering real relationships, then why have them? Everything we do should be leading us to face-to-face conversations—otherwise it really isn’t necessary.

As a youth worker, you probably see this all the time. You might even see other youth workers struggle with a selfie addition. I wonder how we can point people back to the gospel and how we can teach others that our worth isn’t based on something—it’s based on someone: Jesus. This is powerful knowledge for a teenager drowning in a selfish culture.

02.29.16

How Teens Media Consumption Has Changed with Infographic

youthministrymedia.ca

Things have really changed in 10 years.  Do you notice the media consumption today in students?

I don’t know about you, but I have noticed my own media consumption changing.  I don’t have cable tv anymore, and I want to watch shows that are streamed.

Working with parents today with teenagers is difficult.  It really is hard to explain to a parent the complexities of their kids being raised in a digital world.  The parents weren’t, and they are the first generation to raise digitally native kids.  I feel like it’s a learning experience for the way I will raise my kids in a digital world.

This infographic is called: True Facts About Teens And Media: Now & Then.  It’s really interesting, and it’s worth sharing.

Here are some things that stand out:

  1. Teenagers are looking at screens for 7 and a half hours per day.   Is this alarming?  I am not sure.  When I look at my own life I know that I am spending tons of hours each day looking at a screen.  I think it’s so important that we are still helping students get away from technology for a period of time.  I still try to make camp a phone free zone.
  2. 71% of teens have TV’s in their bedrooms.  Having a TV in their room isn’t alarming, it’s the other digital devices.  If parents think it’s ok for their kids to have a TV in their rooms, why shouldn’t they have a laptop, iPad or iPhone in their room?  This is one issue where I think that parents today are really naive.  They don’t understand how destructive these devices can be.  We will be dealing with the ramifications of these devices being allowed anywhere without boundaries for the next 10 years.
  3. On average teenagers send 60 messages a day.  That is just on average.  That doesn’t seem like a ton, but what it shows you is that you should have a texting strategy for your youth ministry.  I have a great texting program that I use all the time to text messages to students.  It’s worth communicating where the students are at.  They are all texting.

02.01.16

Teens & Young Adults Use Porn More Than Anyone Else by Barna Group

barna.org/research/culture-media/research-release/teens-young-adults-use-porn-more-than-anyone-else?utm_source=Barna+Update+List&utm_campaign=12f5e718ce-BU_Teens_Young_Adults_Use_Porn_More_&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8560a0e52e-12f5e718ce-171998625&mc_cid=12f5e718ce&mc_eid=c23603dbe2#.Vq-BPcc0xlg

Sex sells. Or, to put it in 21st century terms, sex gets clicks.

Smartphones, tablets and laptops have revolutionized the way people encounter images. Pictures and videos are easily accessible with one swipe or click; it takes very little effort to encounter sexually explicit content on apps like Snapchat and Instagram. Even mainstream media is infused with sexualized images and ideas—one needs only to see an Axe commercial, a primetime Miley Cyrus performance or a “reality” show like The Bachelor for confirmation.

This “pornification” of popular culture means younger generations are coming of age in a hypersexualized cultural ecosystem. They, in turn, tend to be more open to sexual experimentation and self-expression—leading to further social acceptance of sexually explicit content. One cannot help but wonder where this self-perpetuating feedback loop will end.

For a landmark study commissioned by Josh McDowell Ministry, Barna Group interviewed American teens, young adults and older adults about their views on and use of pornography. Among many notable findings, researchers discovered that teens and young adults have a more cavalier attitude toward porn than adults 25 and older. In addition, young adults ages 18 to 24 seek out and view porn more often than any other generation. Continue reading

01.18.16

What Americans Believe About Sex by Barna Group

https://barna.org/research/culture-media/research-release/what-americans-believe-about-sex?utm_source=Barna+Update+List&utm_campaign=0a2b42f9e5-BU_What_Americans_Believe_About_Sex1_14_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8560a0e52e-0a2b42f9e5-171998625&mc_cid=0a2b42f9e5&mc_eid=c23603dbe2#.Vpk3ZjY0xlg

From the modesty debate to the mainstreaming of “twerking,” the American public has a complex relationship with sex. Ever since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the liberalization of social and moral attitudes toward sex has met with a conservative backlash troubled by the impact of an increasingly sexualized culture.

So what do Americans think about sex? What is its purpose, and where should we have it? And what do people think about traditional sexual ethics? Are they outdated? In a recent study, Barna Group asked about these and other questions related to sex—and discovered there is no broadly shared consensus among American adults.

Half of U.S. adults (50%) agree strongly that “choosing not to have sex outside of marriage is healthy.” But generational differences are significant. Six in 10 Elders (59%) agree strongly with this statement, compared to 53 percent of Boomers, 49 percent of Gen-Xers and 43 percent of Millennials.

Practicing Christians (72%) are almost twice as likely as adults of no faith (38%) to say that choosing not to have sex outside marriage is a healthy choice. Women (56%) are more likely than men (43%) to hold this view. Compared to those who have never been married (41%), people who are married (53%) and, somewhat surprisingly, cohabitating adults (49%) are more likely to strongly agree with the statement.

It may be that these differences of opinion spring at least in part from confusion or ambivalence about the purpose of sex. When U.S. adults are asked to choose one or more phrases from a list of options that summarizes what sex is for, not everyone agrees.

Among all American adults, the most common answers given when asked about the purpose of sex were “to express intimacy between two people who love each other (63%), “to reproduce / to have children” (60%), and to connect with another person in an enjoyable way (45%).

There are disparities, for instance, between generational cohorts. Overall, Elders and Boomers tend to share a stronger consensus about the purpose of sex. That is, clear majorities among the older generations say sex is for procreation (79% Elders; 71% Boomers), expressing intimacy between two people who love each other (68% Elders; 73% Boomers) or uniting a man and woman in marriage (62% Elders; 50% Boomers).

The two younger adult generations are much less likely to embrace these traditional views of sex. Most Gen-Xers and Millennials continue to believe conventional ideas of sex: that it is to express intimacy between two people who love each other (57% Gen-Xers; 56% Millennials) or to procreate (52% Gen-Xers; 51% Millennials). However, the notion that it should unite a man and woman in marriage is endorsed by just one-third of Xers and Millennials.

Nearly half of younger generations say that sex is to connect with another person in an enjoyable way (44% Gen-Xers; 49% Millennials), though this sentiment is not much different from older adults. Notably, Millennials are much more likely than older adults to say the purpose of sex is self-expression and personal fulfillment (41%). Continue reading