Fact #1: Teens like texting.
Fact #2: Teens like texting in church.
Fact #3: Teens don’t care that you don’t like them texting in church.
I’m sure we’ve all told our students to put away, turn off or silence their phones during church because they are a distraction (which they kinda are). The problem is that cell phones are virtually an extension of a teenager. It’s hard to tell where their hand ends and their cell phone begins. When we ask students to put their cell phones away, a part of me thinks we are re-enforcing that church can’t be fun and that we should act differently in church than we do in real life!
Incorporating current technology or appropriate cultural trends into our gathering can go a long way in closing the gap we’ve created between church and the rest of their lives. This especially goes a long way working with community teens who haven’t grown up in the church.
Poll Everywhere is a great application that gathers live responses from the audience via text message. Virtually every teenager has a cell phone which makes this is a great programming element for your youth nights because everyone gets involved (and they get to use their cell phone during church instead of putting it away).
We use it in our meetings in 3 different ways:
- Multiple Choice Polls: great to make your teaching experience more interactive.
- Q & A: This is great for games (ex. “When is Justin Beiber’s birthday?”). The first person to text in the correct answer wins!
- Fundraising Pledges: Trying to raise money for a cause? Have your students text in pledges and watch the fundraising thermometer go up. It’s a great way to rally support and create an atmosphere of giving.
It’s free for up to 30 participants. But if your group has more than 30 students don’t worry! Stick with the free plan because in reality; waiting for 30 responses to come in takes too much time anyway (unless your using it to raise money).
If you need to accommodate more than 30 students you can upgrade your plan (which includes more participants, the use custom keywords and the ability to moderate responses) for the month and quickly downgrade to the free plan again.
What elements do you incorporate into your gathering that help bridge the gap between their world and church?