By Michael Kohn
Many have noted that the Gutenberg Press was Martin Luther’s Reformation-Age tool for disseminating the news to the pews, and many agree that he also would have likely embraced today’s technologies for spreading the Gospel. Here’s a simple way that the youth at Zion/Lexington are using technology to equip disciples.
Walt Hampton, youth director, has sub-divided the youth group into cells of 3 or 4, each with an adult participant. When they come together at church, the sub-groups spend time immersed in a question, a Bible reference, and a challenge for the coming week. The question, for example, might be how people struggle with God, the Bible reference might be about Jacob’s wrestling with the angel, and the challenge for the coming week might be to recognize when we’re struggling with God and to share the experience of resisting or letting go. Other fun challenges, literally written out in a form to accompany each person during the week, have been thought-provokers like, “Find God this week for yourself; be Jesus to someone else,” or “What happens when you are unexpectedly nice to that unreasonable teacher who is driving everyone crazy?”
And here’s the tech part, which takes the lesson outside the church walls and then stages it all week long amid daily life: participants have their ongoing small group set up on social media as a private conversation group — most of Zion’s youth are using Snapchat — and they send updates to each other during the week about how their learnings and discussions are actually playing out when applied to life. As the groups send their snippets back and forth, they are not only reinforcing what was discussed at church, but are simultaneously forming community and building up the body of Christ.
Nolan Phillips, a young person serving on Zion’s church council, says this about the use of social media for Christian education, “It helps hold me accountable and stay connected with other members in my group.” Imagine the reaction when someone first put a check in the offering plate instead of cash or passed out books in a Sunday School class! Try using social media at your church! These tools are wonderful ways to link today’s Christians, and these tools can reinforce the learning and sharing in between Sundays!