This is a great idea for youth workers. I received an email with this submission to our Openers page recently and thought it was pretty creative, especially in line with our cell phone discussion we had in late March.
Opener Idea: Text-a-Friend
Description: Start your message by saying “if you have a cell phone, please turn it on silent mode” then proceed to say “I want you to text two people in your address book this question ” …whatever pertains to your topic. How does prayer work? etc. then continue your talk for a few minutes then ask who has a response. build off of their responses. This make for a great illustration for any topic. – Jason Meredith
Thanks Jason. Great idea. I love incorporating current culture and modern technology to our ministry.
I can totally picture talking with kids about a topic like evangelism and then asking them, “What do your friends think of God or the church? Text them right now and ask them, ‘Would you go to church if I someone invited you? Why or why not?'” What a great way to poll current attitudes and feelings of those just one degree of separation from your youth group.
This makes me think of the one suggestion we heard in a comment in that “Cell Phone Use at Youth Group” blog. Kenneth commented the following:
i don’t understand what the big deal is about cell phones. i’ve been yp at a church for a couple years now, and the first i did was to change the “no cell phone” rule to “have your cell phone rule.” are the phones really a distraction to you or are they a hit on your pride because you can’t keep their attention?
unless the phone is making noise every time they get a text or call, i don’t worry about it. can you see the head pastor calling out a member in the main service every time a man or woman pulls out their phone?
as far as trips, if a kid would rather talk or text on his phone at a retreat or camp than listen to me, i let him. when jesus was teaching, i can’t see him always pulling judas back in to listen to him even though judas was more interested in counting the money outside the meeting.
but for those who need an idea, here’s one that i got from a pastor in washington that works quite well. i have the kids text me any questions that pop into their minds while i teach. when i’m done teaching, i read the questions aloud and answer them. i usually leave around five minutes to answer the texts.
you do have the occasional “why are you wearing that shirt tonight?” or “why does poop stink?”, but overall it’s a very productive addition to the lesson. most of the students listen more closely because they want something i say to spark their interest so they can text me a question. this is a great opportunity to enter their world with the message and not make them stay in ours. it also allows me to answer their questions about my lesson as soon as i speak it. how many times have we prayed for a response from our kids? i’ve found this to be it. after all, as yp’s, aren’t we all about being as relevant as today’s paper?
you’d be surprised at how this catches on and the texts start pouring in over the weeks. just remember to put your phone on silent while you teach, or else you’ll have to confiscate your own phone. lol
Kenneth was pretty bold with this comment in a sea of comments instructing us to “collect” cell phones at the door or confiscate them. But more importantly… I love his idea of getting feedback or questions about your talk right then and there. Fantastic idea.
Thanks Jason and Kenneth for these ideas… good food for thought.