This morning I was reminded of the joys and challenges of technology when I could not find a document on which I've been working on the computer. After using various desktop search engines and coming up blank, I wonder, was it when I was last on the server and . . . ?
We need to plan our events with high school students. That goes without saying, I hope. Even when it's free flowing we need some kind of plan, something that gives us direction. This is should be something we've prayed for and into which we have a sense of God leading us. Then, any plan needs a backup. Speakers may not show up, the weather may change, etc. The need for a backup plan is always there. However, using technology seems to take it to another level. Audio issues, video issues, connection issues, computer issues, technical know how . . . There's a lot that can go awry. What's your backup when that happens?
Sometimes we have the approach, well the youth can always fix it. Sometimes they can, but sometimes they can't. We still need that backup. But in any case, what does it say about us when we just put our hands down, or throw them up, and say, "the youth will fix it?" It may say that we trust our high school students and are empowering them. However, it may also say that we are not in tune with their worlds. I was reminded of this while reading Born Digital (yes, I'm still reading it). Urs Gasser points out the need to for parents and teachers (I'll add youth minister/workers) to be au fait with digital technology as an expression of practical caring by which we are able to provide guidance and demonstrate responsible use (Palfrey and Gasser, 2008, 280).
This is about being present, relevant, and engaged. It ties into the basic purpose of our upcoming book, Youth Ministry in a Technological Age where we propose that given the interweaving of technology and our students' lives, "It behooves us who minister to/with them to understand the technological world to better serve our teens."
Back up. Plan. Yes, plan the program, but if you need to, plan and prepare for serving in this technological age.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor