Words like Bible study, memorization, fasting, prayer, and solitude are synonymous with the process of discipleship. You can’t grow as a disciple of Jesus without intentionally spending time in God’s Word and developing spiritual disciplines that help you submit to His Kingdom and ways. Though distractions from engaging in spiritual disciplines have always existed, young adults today have a whole new arsenal of distractions that seek to pull them away from what matters most. From Netflix to Nintendo Switch, new technologies can be a real barrier when it comes to growing deeper in our faith.
Before we label all technology as evil, it would serve those of us leading out in young adult ministry well to take a deeper look at how technology can be redeemed and actually become a tool in our attempt to disciple those in our ministries. Consider these three tips for utilizing today’s technology for helping to disciple college students and young adults.
1. There’s an App for That
Instead of making young adults feel guilty for constantly spending too much time on their phones and devices (though sometimes it is helpful to talk about healthy habits with their devices), try encouraging them to utilize their beloved technology in ways that deepen and aid their relationship with Christ instead of in ways that hinder it. There are countless apps and aids they can use to deepen and grow in personal discipleship. Just a few to consider include:
2. Don’t Talk to Me Like That
Technology has vastly changed the ways in which we communicate. Sometimes, one of the most helpful things you can do when ministering to young adults is to help them understand the importance of sitting down with another person to have a conversation. But other times, new technology should be embraced in order to help you find new and effective ways to communicate with the young adults in your ministry. Texting can be a great way to check in with young adults and let them know you care about how their day went. You might want to set up a GroupMe for your ministry to encourage on-going connections and communication within your group during the week. Stiff-arming new means of communication is not the way to go. Give them a shot, and I think you will be surprised at some of the unique ministry opportunities you will encounter as you seek to meet young adults on their turf.
3. Better Bible Study
If you preach sermons or lead Bible studies for young adults, your kitchen table may look more like a library study carrel on prep days than a family gathering spot. An open Bible, commentary, and dictionary all have a way of sprawling out and making room for an actual pen and paper quite a challenge. There are numerous websites that can help you when preparing to teach God’s Word. If you are looking for a one-stop place with a variety of tools, I’d recommend:
God has uniquely gifted you to disciple the young adults He has brought into your life. Pour into them. Point them to Jesus. Pray with them. Prod them to develop spiritual disciplines. But also consider how the technology around us can help us more faithfully grow disciples in our ministries.
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.