What a title for a funny but realistic link of young people totally absorbed with their mobiles and tablets. Check it out. At the end there’s and image of Einstein dourly commenting, ‘I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.’
A reality? Definitely – we’ve observed quite a few times …
+ Groups of young people in restaurants so absorbed texting who knows who ‘somewhere out there in mobile space’ while ignoring their gathered friends and even the ordered meals.
+ Romantic Valentine’s Days in restaurants with young, even older so-termed mature guys who should know better, ignoring female companions as they busy themselves mobile texting or chatting.
+ Crowded India – young people chatting away on mobiles while weaving in and out of throngs. Some were using two mobiles – one for each ear – and even while riding mopeds!
+ ‘Double- phone using’ in Australia …young people so involved, mesmerised, busy phoning or rapid texting, snappily taking photos and forwarding them immediately with text to friends.
+ Many young people don’t talk anymore … they just text.
What a world, 2013 is! To quote from Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206…‘O brave new world…That has such people in’t.’
New meaning for the church text?
Traditionally the church text was the minister’s sermon for Sunday. In our ‘Brave New World’ of cyberspace technology it has a completely different meaning!
In ministering in various churches we’ve actually observed what the photo below depicts. Teenagers and young adults, even kids, ignoring worship times and even the sermon as they engaged in their own Sunday text chats or game playing.
Recently we noted a whole row of kids studiously utilising their tablets, ignoring parents and adults around. Lost in their own little world they were completely closed off to the pastor who was inviting everyone to be involved in the superb worship. Then we heard a pastor’s wife’s mobile go off with a loud ring!
In some large churches in the States and elsewhere with-it whiz-kids message their church friends about what the speaker is sharing on. And that some ministers actually encourage this.
‘It’s the world today, the world we live in, the technology available to us. Get with it, this is today’s highway. It’s fun to write on Facebook walls, to text and Twitter’ come the smart responses, we’re told. Needless to say, any senior raising an eyebrow and wondering where it’s all heading is regarded as an old fogy!
A new highway
Continuing uncertainty around the world causes some to think that Jesus is coming back soon – despite false prophecies and lack of scripture understanding. Therefore it’s good to remember what far-seeing Isaiah’s chapter 40:3, ‘Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God.’
It’s great that so many pastors and churches are with it tech-wise and utilising everything available and affordable today. They have embraced the concept of a super highway to communicate the eternal unchanging principles of God. The old saying, ‘The method may change but the message – never!’ remains valid.
All mature Christians – including seniors who have pioneered the way for the younger generation in church life – should remain insightful; embrace today’s advances and resources and enter the current church highway following the Holy Spirit’s leadings.
For there’s an onus on us to ensure that the younger generation, whether kids, teens or young adult, do not switch off from the deeper things of God, that we strive to be relevant in what we share with them. To be as Paul wrote of himself – all things to all people.
This brave new world of computer-type gizmo technology is marvellous to behold – and embrace. Yet recently TV news revealed great concerns that have arisen due to young children’s exposure to this world…mere laptop game-playing and screen-time only without the reality of close friendships with neighbouring kids has resulted in some kids to become computer addicts.
This has consequently flowed into their teenage years and young adulthood. Many church kids of whatever age are no exception.
Some great good news
We’re delighted to report that we’ve had the joy of ministering in churches where the lead minister knows that God’s word has power indeed but must be delivered by speakers with genuine God-given charisma.
Such ministers ensure that kids are well catered for by gifted personnel. Leaders who have long ago dropped the old Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam type choruses and utilise creative facilities wisely made available.
We’ve noted teenagers and youth equally well catered for by ingenuous, with-it youth leaders. And young people being periodically used in upfront ministry to allow such experiences develop recognised ministries.
What blesses us most is discovering an outstanding desire among many young people to…
1) Spend time with seniors who make sense –who understand where they’re at, do not condemn, share and speak meaningfully into their lives, greatly encouraging on a one-on-one basis.
2) Learn from ministers, and those who have been around for years, who not only preach what should be done in certain circumstances but also teach how to do it.
3) Discover more about the Holy Spirit, his friendship, how to trust him and move in his supernatural in everyday living, and know that he’s not a Sunday only God.
4) Listen attentively to genuine speakers; those who speak clearly (No incomplete ‘Ya know what I mean’), simplify God’s word, are down-to-earth and give practical examples and, if they use PowerPoints, do so wisely.
5) Recognise the importance of authentic interaction with God, other Christians and church leaders.
In short, there’s a growing number of Christian youth, willing to switch off from their mobile and tablet world, and really learn about God and his ways. These are bright young folk and that Einstein quotation won’t apply to them! They’ll be an amazing generation.
Such a generation, when handled wisely by pastors, leaders and seniors who have been around experience-wise and know how to encourage and inspire, will take the church onto a higher level.
Yes, they’ll use their computer know-how but what a brave new world they’ll make with the Spirit’s help before the return of Jesus – whenever that will be.