In his day, Jesus used one of the most powerful communication tools known to man—it’s called “the parable.” He was a master storyteller. And so, we read in Matthew 13, when he has gathered a large crowd, he leverages the moment by telling five parables in a row. The effect was mesmerizing for the people—they leaned in and listened to every word. Even in the first century, binge-watching was a thing.
Jesus relates to people on a level they understand, using communication tools that effectively drive his message home.
And when we disciple the way Jesus did, we spend time with teenagers to seed growth in them, using relevant and relatable tools just as he did. Today’s digital resources are the equivalent communication tools to parables—used effectively, they capture and conquer kids’ hearts.
I recommend these five tech tools to help you create deeper discipling moments with your students…
Today’s digital resources are the equivalent communication tools to parables—used effectively, they capture and conquer kids’ hearts.Click to tweet
- QBall—You may have seen QBall on Kickstarter.com or NBC’s Shark Tank. This wireless, throw-able microphone can make any teaching time more interactive and engaging. When you’re asking your group questions, you can literally throw them the mic. The QBall receiver plugs into any sound system through a soundboard or a speaker’s line-in port. It’s a great tech tool for $179—half the price of competitors. (https://www.buyqball.com)
- Instagram Devos—Digital devotions or inspirational Bible verses posted to social media are nothing new, but this strategy remains a massive connecting point for a lot of teenagers. With apps like WordSwag (wordswag.co) and Legend (legend.im) you need zero graphic design skills—just a couple clicks and your Insta-posts are Insta-done. A few examples of what you can pull off with these apps:
- Squad Up!—Some think video games are a waste of time for teenagers, but that’s not true for a youth pastor. Use an Xbox or PS4 as a creative and relevant on-ramp into teenagers’ lives. Play games like Fortnite to learn what all the hype is all about, then give out your gamer-tag and Squad-up with some of your teenagers. Or Imagine pulling a Nintendo Switch out of your bag at a Starbucks to work with a teenager to solve a mystery or to beat a “big boss.” Turn battlegrounds into common ground. Then take those relationships off-line and out to lunch.
- LIVE Curriculum—This digital discipleship tool is layers deep. Group’s LIVE curriculum offers a pathway of teaching topics using a highly effective “inquiry based” method for engaging teenagers at a deeper level. It’s a downloadable, customizable teaching resource for you or your volunteers, and it comes with a FREE app called The LIVE Daily that connects your teenagers back to you and your teaching themes. When you’re getting ready to map out your teaching calendar, check out LIVEcurriculum.com first.
- Good Bible Software—I love my free YouVersion Bible app for reading and devotional plans, but for studying I use Logos Bible software. Logos is far from free, but the study library you can build is incredible. Maybe you have a book allowance, or conference budget, continuing education funds, or a portion of your youth budget you can put toward continuing education. Ask your church if Bible software falls in that category. If so, start building that library (logos.com). Logos is available on multiple platforms, you can use it on a computer or online or on your smart phone or tablet. Carrying an iPad to Starbucks is so much better than hauling around 50 pounds of books in a backpack.
This article originally appeared in the recently released Special Discipleship Edition of Group Magazine. To request your free copy, click here.
Brandon Early is a two-decade youth pastor—Iowa is home. He’s a conference leader, keynote speaker, and tech consultant. Follow him on Twitter @IamBRANDONEARLY.