Friday, February 25, 2011


This week I've been blogging about some stuff that I've been kickin' around lately in my head in terms of student ministry.  I wrote four posts:

  1. Encouragement is too rare.
  2. We have an absentee adult epidemic
  3. Adolescence is becoming a lifestyle
  4. Why always trumps what.
This is the fifth and final one in this series: "Face time before Facebook".

I wrote about the power of the one on one convo in another post not long ago here.  Just like nothing can beat the one on one convo, nothing can beat the gift of face time.   And they kinda go hand in hand.

Facebook is still a technology toddler, but it's pretty clear, that facebook is not going anywhere anytime soon.  I mean look at these stats from this crazy article: 
Let's sum up: There are half a billion people on earth on Facebook, which amounts to 1 in every 13 people alive; in the U.S., a whopping 72% of the internet-connected audience has a profile.  [hey Jarred Benitez and Mark Campbell.... I love you guys but um... are you reading this? hello!!!! :) ]
Over New Year's weekend alone, 750 million photos were uploaded. Every 20 minutes, 10 million comments are made, and 2.7 million messages are sent. 
But despite it's obvious popularity for connection and web based social networking, and despite my harassment of friends not on facebook, the face-to-face convo is still the key to mentoring and facebook cannot replace it.

So, to that end, here's some more face to face/ one on one convo tips for parents and mentors of teens:
  • SCHEDULE IT:  if you value it, then plan for it.  Set a goal and a timeframe and decide how many one on one's you'll make time and energy for.  You can drop in on facebook at 2am. Face time usually is harder than that and doesn't happen by osmosis or accident very often or effectively. 
  • TURN OFF YOUR CELL:  the only thing that is worse than not having face time is to have your face buried in our cell in the middle of it.  Screens can ruin a one-on-one by causing us to give half our attention.  turn off your phone.  meet where there are not TV's on all around you.  Don't just put it on silent.  turn it off or put it in your bag and give your face time your face. 
  • EAT AND DRINK: I dunno why, but a meal or a cup of java or anything helps to get the convo flowing and keeps face time from being "lets just stare at each other time". 
  • SIT IN A VISIBLE, BUT LOW TRAFFIC ZONE: I prefer a one one one with anyone who is not my wife or kids to be in full view of the public.  I meet in coffee shops primarily, but rarely in our offices.  I try and find a place where I can be easily seen, but necessarily where we'll be constantly interrupted. 
  • LOVE ENOUGH TO CONFRONT:  if you're going to make time to talk face to face and one on one, then don't shy away from having the hard convo either.  It's really the best time to do it anyway.  There's no one to impress and nothing to hide. There are no voice tones to misread or non-verbals to miss like you get in all forms of screen based communication.  So when you meet face to face, have the hard convo there and there only.
ok.. there ya go.  my student ministry truth thread is done.  Hope you liked it and were blessed/encouraged by it.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  So feel to comment away.  

What did I miss? What would you add?  What did you like the best?


Anonymous,  8:10 AM  

Brian, your insights into the world of today's youth are astute and inspiring. Your willingness to share those thoughts is surely an encouragement to all who follow your blog. The students who have the privilege to be a part of Encounter are truly blessed. We are so thankful that you see the need to put your own children at the top of the list. When we were young, it was often the case that the pastors' children were left to absorb the message from the church environment, saw their father so little due to the incredible demands on his time, and as a result were among the most disenfranchised youth in the community. We are incredibly proud of you, Shannon and your children! God is so good.
Love, Dad and Mom


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