Research is now showing that the attention span of the average student is actually less than that of a goldfish. And more often than not we believe that the solution is less teaching time. Do I run the risk of losing their attention for the sake of the message or sacrifice the message for the sake of their attention spans? It feels like either way, you lose.
Cultural trends are not swinging in our favor giving us all the more reason to immediately stop what we believe is important and address what our students are telling us is crucial to their spiritual growth.
Which is better: creating a space where thousands can show up, or space where real authentic discipleship can happen?
I love my technology. I am often told that I am on my phone far too much. I love the reminders, dings, and notifications. If I see a little red dot with a number, I have to check it and clear it. But if I—a late GenX’er has become another victim of the sensual allure of the latest and greatest slick tech, then what fighting chance do my children or the students I lead have? Friends, the struggle is real, and it has an impact that goes far beyond just being addicted to the dings and red dots.
Given the world we are asking our students to step into, it is increasingly critical that we equip the next generation. Our students are not the future of the church; they are the church. There is no better time for them to get the dirt of ministry under their fingernails. But given the large scale challenges our students are facing even to express their faith, the thought of where to begin can be paralyzing. So I started to think through some of the roadblocks that often stand in our way of being effective witnesses of the gospel and how youth leaders and parents can begin to prepare students for the road ahead.