All Things New

I love the New Year.  It just represents so many awesome things: Fresh starts, new goals, new vision, a chance for change, and the list goes on and on.  I think about this concept every year in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I especially start thinking about this in two areas: My personal life goals… and my ministry goals.  Personally, I try and take some time to think about things to change and grow in during the next year: Exercise, family leadership, personal reading goals, etc… I also take a day or two and go after some major goal setting for my student ministry.  I pray and try to evaluate where our students HAVE been the past year and where God might want to take them this year.

What are some things you do in the new year?

Students & Social Media: Awesome or Addicted?

So I was wrestling with a concept the other day and I wanted to write about it, but I hadn’t yet come to any kind of conclusion.  My team and I were talking one afternoon and a student’s name came up.  I said, “Ya know, __(insert student’s name here)___… I’ll just show you who they are on facebook.”  Then it dawned on me that this student did not have a facebook account.  My mind immediately went to, “What kind of loser doesn’t have a facebook account.”  It was terrible. I know…  How can you not have a facebook account? 🙂  But this whole thing got me thinking, “Is this student better off or worse off for not having a facebook?  On the negative side, she isn’t connected online to anyone, doesn’t know what’s going on in her “friend’s” lives, and doesn’t receive any of the online stuff that our ministry does. But what if… what if she is FAR more connected than I think?  What if NOT having a Facebook account has caused this student to ACTUALLY be connected to REAL FRIENDS?  What if she has REAL conversations with LIVING, BREATHING people rather than getting her info from quippy statuses?  What if?  From what I have seen over the years in student ministry, our students ability to relate to others and connect has dropped significantly.  The 2 culprits in my opinion?  Facebook and Texting.  We’ve traded real friendships for online “friends” and we’ve stopped talking and started texting.  Now… I am all for facebook.  I am all for texting (unless it is while you are driving).  But I wonder how we, as youth pastors, can help parents and students learn the difference between an AWESOME tool that can be used for connecting with others… and something that we are ADDICTED to.  Our ministry uses facebook as a tool to help students connect with events, weekends, etc…  But we can’t be SOOO dependent on the technology that we forget about the ACTUAL RELATIONSHIP.  This is my advice to students about things like facebook:  It’s awesome, don’t get addicted… and make sure you spend some time actually talking to REAL PEOPLE this week!