“The Antidote for Tech” – How to minister effectively to an over-stimulated generation of teenagers.


 

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I am not a luddite. In fact I am a BIG tech consumer, and just as over-stimulated as the generation of teenagers I work with. With so many distractions clamoring for our teenagers attention, how does a youth worker (or parent) minister effectively to teens in this culture? We will look at the science behind where we are and discover what you can do, to leverage the holes that the tech platform has given us to minister to the teenagers we love.

This will be my topic for Open Seattle next weekend. I’m really interested in your thoughts as I prepare mine. Is this a good subject matter? Do you have any resources you’ve come across? Things that work for you? I will post a more thorough blog on this after my talk next weekend. Here are the four points I am working with as of now:

  • Nature
  • Deep Relationship/ Discussions
  • Active Learning
  • Adventure Programming

Since this is a new type of conference, I thought I’d try open sourcing my talk a little. Give me your thoughts / feedback! What do you think? What can you add to the discussion?

~Mark

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You’ve never seen stars like this! Yosemite’s night sky in timelapse.


I think I just added something else to my bucket list. I discovered this clip on another blog today. It’s unbelievably amazing just to watch this on your pc, let alone to experience this in person at Yosemite, I imagine. To quote my Pinterest friends: “I’m so doing this.” Isn’t it almost tragic how much time we spend indside these days? Kids are being raised almost exclusively indoors. And I get it, we need to keep our children safe. But wow, what we’re missing. Newsweek’s Tony Dokoupil’s recent article “Is the Internet Making us Crazy?” looks at some of the current trends and poses some great questions. I just discovered a new book called “Your Brain on Nature.” A scientific look at nature’s impact on our brains. I suspect that as I read it this week I”ll find what many of us in Youth Dynamics and YD Adventures know anecdotally, that nature is the antidote to tech. Obviously, I’m more than just a fan of tech, seriously, I know this. But getting outside helps keep my life in balance. It de-stresses and unwinds me where tech tends to add stress and winds me up. We’re finding this in our working with teenagers as well. We haven’t done any hard studies yet, but many of the 5,000 teenagers we work with each year have not been outside much at all. My staff know that being out in God’s creation gives you a fantastic platform to discuss the deeper issues of life. People relax when they are surrounded by nature. It’s significantly easier to believe in a Creator God when you’re watching a sunset, or looking up at the stars, or sitting on top of a mountain. In fact, I have a friend who as a teenager, was a complete atheist, who did not believe God could exist, until he experienced Him during a thunderstorm high up on a mountain while on an adventure trip. He is now a Christ-follower and is interning with us. We’ve been doing Adventure ministry for over 30 years here in the Northwest, and I feel like what we’re doing is more relevant, more necessary than ever. How many significant conversations have you had around a campfire late at night?If you’re a parent or a youth worker, do you kids a favor and get them outside!

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