- Look for ways to connect virtually with non-believers? Or with your disciples?
- Utilize social media for evangelism and discipleship?
- Use EveryStudent.com as a significant outreach strategy?
If you said maybe or no to any of these questions, you must read Boys Online, a recent article in the National Post with interviews by Ben Kaplan. The article begins by saying,
“Teenagers in 2016 live two lives. There’s physical life — school, sports, exams, dating, jobs. And there’s digital life — Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, Tinder. Most days, it’s difficult to say which consumes more of their attention, and which shapes more of their future.
“There is plenty of handwringing hype about the impact of social media and technology on the lives of teenagers, much of it focused on bullying and the exploitation of girls. On the heels of American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (Nancy Jo Sales) and Girls & Sex (Peggy Orenstein), we wanted to explore sex and cyberspace from the less-explored perspective of teenaged boys.
“What followed was a series of frank nationwide conversations that helped us unpack a new, transforming universe with a unique and easily misunderstood language, social pressure and codes.
“From nude pics to Twitter breakups to trying to fit in, these young men talked honestly about grappling with the challenges of our times.
“It was through these conversations that reporter Ben Kaplan embarked on a relationship with Central Toronto Academy, a 100-year-old high school that lost an 18-year-old student last year to gun violence and suffered through a long Facebook-fuelled incident of Islamophobia. As the school comes to grips with how to govern technology, Kaplan has been invited to work with the English and Media Arts department and report — from the inside — on how digital life is affecting Canadian teens.
“This is the start of a year-long conversation that will take us to the front lines of the internal and external lives of teenagers.
“Listen up. Learn.”
The piece goes on with a number of boys sharing their experience with social media. You can read the tension they feel between being one thing online and something else in real life. Their stories are compelling.
The point is this. You work hard everyday to create a different life for the students you talk to. It is real and it makes a difference. We must not think that the only real ministry is face to face. You can also create a different life for students online as well. And just think, if they are taking the time to read an article on EveryStudent.com, they are not feeding their prurient interests.
You can give them something much more life giving than what they are feeding on now. Do you want to know how? Start by downloading Marilyn Adamson’s The Ripple Effect. Take 15 minutes and have a look. Then pick out one or two ideas and try them this week.
Fall 2016 Coaching Tips