I took a page from a blog post Chris Wesley did called “Changes in Marathon Youth Ministry.” He is a primo blogger and I am always looking for ideas to improve content and help a wider audience of readers and so I need your help. Below is a survey that will help me focus more on what I need to do with this blog and where I need to go. So if you are a reader of the blog or if you are a blogger who is really successful I would really love your input. I need your help. Take the survey below and I will share the results and hopefully do some work to improve the content of this blog. It should take 5-10 minutes. Thank you.
Next week I will start a series of posts (7-10) about Christmas but was wanting your feedback on something. Please take the poll below and let me know if you think churches should recognize Christmas with sermons on Christmas and songs about Christmas? I think you will look forward to these posts as I think a helpful theology of Christmas is necessary for our brotherhood.
Let me know…
ALSO….FEEL FREE TO GIVE YOUR REASONING IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW AS TO WHY WE SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT…ANONYMOUS COMMENTS ARE PERFECTLY FINE.
This is the post I did not want to write. This is the post that will probably make you upset and want to click the little “X” icon at the top of your browser to close the blog and never return. I don’t want you to do that but I understand why you would do that. When an addict is confronted about their addiction their first response is anger and denial. ”I have everything under control” or, “I can quit any time I want to” are typical assertions by those who are, ironically, not in control and not able to quit. So when you get mad at me I understand and your reaction is typical so I will not take offense to it. I estimate that 50% of Main Street (congregation where I minister) uses Facebook (most of them are 25 and under) and roughly 25% of those are addicted to it. There is no hard data that I make my observations from other than noticing the time spent on Facebook and the amount of activity based on their profile. Before we begin with identifying if you are addicted and offering some help I want to first define what an addiction is:
An addiction is “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma” (Source).
Please pay attention to the definition itself…key words are “enslaved, habit, practice, cessation and trauma.” Let me define it in a way that a teenager would understand it: “anything that you can’t stop thinking about doing. If you were to stop doing this activity then you would have severe withdrawals.” There is no hard-fast way to prove that you are addicted (click here and click here for two articles about “signs that you are addicted”). Below are some things that I want you to consider and then I will offer some suggestions for help.
How much time are you on Facebook per week? (click on survey below to see results) No compare that with how much time you spend reading Scripture, praying, serving the community and worshiping. Remember Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:24 where he stated that no man (and woman) can serve two masters? That applies to anything and everything that evacuates your time and energy to the neglect and dismay of God Almighty!
When you are on Facebook what are you doing? I know people who spend 4-5 hours a week on Facebook but they are writing messages of encouragement and checking on people who have fallen away. I would say that those 4-5 hours are spent wisely. Most of us who spend 6+ hours on Facebook are doing one of the following: Facebook stalking, checking pictures, chating, checking updates, responding to comments or looking for friends. Is that the best way to spend your time?
How often do you check Facebook? You can set your mobile device to receive updates from comments, statuses and messages. Many of you have mobile Facebook where you can check from your cell phone. How often do you do that? When you wake up in the morning? Right as you get out of school? During a down period at work? Right before you go to bed? Maybe you wake up at night and can’t sleep so you check Facebook?
If you were told not to check Facebook would that bother you? Pay attention to how you answer the question because it is crucial to understanding if you are addicted. You might say “Of course not,” then go without a day or so but in the back of your mind if you are wondering what is happening at Facebook then you are addicted.
By now you know if you struggle or not but I want to offer some advice…
Write down how much time you use on Facebook. Write down when, where and how you check Facebook. This is crucial because it will show you how much time you spend so you can jump to…
Admit that you have a problem. Facebook is not wrong but when it takes away from family, homework, spiritual formation and work then it becomes an issue.
Give yourself a set time to look at Facebook and be realistic. ”I will spend 8-10pm on Facebook” is a bit ridiculous. Start by saying I will only spend 30 minutes from 4:00-4:30pm looking at Facebook and that is only to encourage people. Gossip is easy on Facebook so try to avoid it.
When you have withdrawal symptoms meditate on a favorite verse. I recommend Proverbs 3:5-6. When you think about Facebook just divert your thoughts to “trust in the Lord with all of your heart…”
If you are really bold deactivate your Facebook account. This will let you keep all of your data where as deleting your account will permanently destroy all of your pictures and what not.
Block Facebook on your computer. Of course you can unblock it but blocking it will let you know how serious you are.
If you MUST use Facebook remember to use it in a way that gives God the glory.
I know this was a long post but I wanted to be honest with a problem I see among many teens, young adults and even older adults. Tomorrow we delve into using Facebook appropriately by not being that guy or that girl. Take the survey below.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, MAKING THE BEST USE OF THE TIME, (why Paul?) because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16).
I am curious…how do we grow as a congregation? I have heard many things from many different people but wanted your take on it. I understand there are many facets to growth but if you could isolate them to one thing what would that be? Vote below to share what you believe! You can comment also to explain your answer or give me other options.