Happy Saturday, Everyone....from freeeezing cold, WI! Supposed to be -35 or colder with the wind chill tomorrow. Brrrrr! :D
With the continuing call to "social distance" and the ever changing mandates in our cities, I've had a lot of thoughts on MEDIA on my mind.
Before I get into that, I first want to preface this blog post by saying...if you know me as a person at all, you will know that I LOVE technology! I love upgrading my phone, I love checking out the newest things on the market, and I love to work and design new media presentations, etc. Anything having to do with new technology...better keep it away from me, or I'll be hooked! LOL
Having said that, let's dive into the purpose of technology in Children's Ministry...or not!
For years, I have taught that we are up against Disney World, and all things technological, so we have to provide an exciting experience for our kids...lights, decor, music, visuals, etc. And YES! By all means, visuals are important to children... and a MUST to retain their attention. Remember, kid's attention span is usually the equivalent of their age. ie: age 5 is 5 minutes, age 6 is 6 min, and so on.
It is IMPERATIVE that we work to have interesting, attention grabbing items and activities in our kid's classes and services.
On the other hand....(I repeat) we ARE up against Disney World, and all things technological....so, is it possible that we should consider veering off the "main track" of technology and focus on a more "hands on", non-digital environment?
>>> Now don't panic!!!! <<<
By no means do I think that we should never have a screen and presentations, that we shouldn't show videos, or incorporate the awesome technology available to us.
Let me explain....
First, let's Take a look at where our kids are at in 2021....
School is online and gone virtual in a lot of places...if not all the time, at least SOME of the time.
More and more children have smartphones and tablets...even at a very young age!
Watches are digital...and include games, communication, data capabilities, etc.
Games are on a screen...and utilized way more than an board games available!
With Netflix and any other options out there, TV shows are immediately available 24/7, which of course causes more and more screen time!
Exercising can even be done using the screen!
And as fun as this seems it can be, even sports have gone virtual...causing less outdoor time, less team work, less healthy exercise, and more and more screen time!
As convenient and fun as these things are, the more and more time spent in the digital world, the less and less our kids know and understand how to function in the REAL WORLD!
Example: if you like to read books, have you gotten so involved in the plot that you had to take a minute to "come back to earth"? LOL. Even more so in the digital world! It's not just using your imagination anymore, now it's using motor skills, and visual, as well!
An overall experience that is a "virtual world" and not real.
Having said all that let me repeat, by no means am I against technology. But because of how much our kids are using it these days, maybe it's time for us to have a different approach. I mean, I don't know about you, but my budget isn't near big enough to outdo Disney World! :-P
>>> So what are our options? <<<
I think it's somewhere right in the middle. We should use SOME technology, but not for everything. We should use SOME lighting and exciting environment settings; but as special effects, instead of the norm. Let's teach our children about the real world, and not just the virtual world. Let's face it...they are getting kinda sick of screens after all!
When I am planning my children's church services, I like to mix it up. Every week should be different. Here are some ideas:
WEEK 1 WEEK 2
Opening: Group Game Opening: Media Game Quiz
Bible Story: Short Video Bible Story: Drama with Kid's involvement
Object Lesson: Hands On Object Lesson: Hands On
Puppet Song: Age 11 and up Action Song: All involved
Worship: Upbeat Movement Worship: Slow Worship
Message: Dramatic Message: Application with Power Point
Prayer Time: Prayer at Altar Prayer Time: Quiet Drawing or Journaling
Snack: Relates to the Story Craft: Relates to the Story
I have seen some curriculum that has all the Bible Stories, the Messages, Skits, and more on video. Now, this may HAVE to be an option for you, if you are limited in staff. And I totally understand that! So, please don't feel I am saying that's a bad thing. But if you have the staff available, do your best to switch things up every week.
>>> On the "short staffed" note <<<
Consider having guest speakers or characters to come in for a short period of time to tell the Bible Story or preach your message. If you don't have enough to do this within your own staff, it is great fun to bring in some new faces just for a short time that week! :D
Media and technology should be an extra benefit or special effect, and not your normal, every week process. Don't try to outdo Disney World! By the way, Jesus can outdo Disney World WITHOUT all the special effects...if we only let Him into the room!
That's it for now! I hope you have an awesome "hands on, real world" experience in your children's services tomorrow.
And feel free to share this blog with anyone that you think could benefit from it! :D
Sara Vojtasek & Joel's Vision Ministries
**** This Week's Highlight ****
Learn to make your own Moving Mouth Heart Prop! Recording of my LIVE Class with complete instructions. Just in time for Valentine's Day!
Check it out HERE!