To put it plainly, this is the most ADD generation we’ve probably ever seen. Attention spans range from 3-5 seconds, and if they’re not entertained, they’ll leave you in an instant.
How should that affect our youth group meetings?
Apparently there’s a “greater” debate out there between whether today’s teens are the smartest or the dummest generation America has ever seen.
I’m not going to lie: There are a lot of things to worry about. To put it plainly, this is the most ADD generation we’ve probably ever seen. Attention spans range from 3-5 seconds, and if they’re not entertained, they’ll leave you in an instant.
How should that affect our youth group meetings? Many times we scramble to keep teens’ attention and draw them into the message or Bible lesson with games and other entertainment. But let me warn you: Entertainment is a slippery slope.
When you entertain a young person, they only want more. One video game, TV show, movie, or iPod is never enough. It’s always about the next one, the latest and greatest, what’s hot and what’s new.
The same happens in youth group. Make them laugh this week and they will ask for more next week. When we use “entertainment” to draw them in, to some degree, that’s what they’ve come to expect. Then they fall into their usual cycle: That was fun, but what’s next? I want something better!
The truth is that we just can’t keep up. We’re competing against MTV, Apple and Hollywood. So many teens leave youth group because it’s just not cool anymore and there’s more fun to have other places. We tried to keep them entertained didn’t take them deeper.
Entertainment cannot be our foundation. It must be something more: The forgiveness and peace of the Lord, and the excitement, passion and purpose that comes only from Him. Now that’s something the world can never compete with! When a young person truly catches on, they’ll never leave. (Dear Lord, help us! Work in our students’ hearts!)
Entertainment is a great seasoning, but it’s nothing without meat. This can be the greatest generation in history to make a stand for Christ, and we’re in the perfect position to help them get there.
Originally published by Nathaniel Dame on the Effective Youth Ministry blog.