Posted by: Chris Sandel | January 26, 2009

Texting God

My friend Nikomas, the Jr. High minister at Harvester near St. Louis, recently did a multi-post series on his blog about mobile ministry and some of his stats got me thinking.  The average 13-17 year old texts around 1,500 times per month.  That is average.  After talking to some of our kids, they actually thought that might be low!  So I’ve done a sort of informal survey over the last few weeks and here is the general makup of our ministry.

  • 8th Graders: The majority of our students have phones.
  • 7th Graders: About half of our students have phones.
  • 6th Graders: Only a rare few of our students have phones.

That makes it tough to do things exclusively through texting.  It is a fun way to include some students but it leaves out about half of them.  However, a few weeks ago we did find a way to use texting with some of our students.  Our small groups are currently in a series on prayer called Texting God.  To kick it off, we setup an account with PollEverywhere and used it to allow students to “text God.”  We also provided small note sheets for students to write their notes to God.

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Afterward, I collected some of the responses and put them on a bulletin board outside of our Jr. High room.  It has been cool to see because something so simple has drawn a lot more interst than usual.  I’ve seen a number of different people stopped in the hall to see what our kids had to say.  Here are some of the highlights:

·         thanks 4 sending me a friend at my new school. I pray they come to my birthday party. I pray that the others will except me and not think I’m weird.

·         I’ve gotten pretty lazy about my time with u.  Please forgive me. I seem to put a lot of worldly things before u. I’m sorry.  I’m going to really make time 4 u.

·         help me with my friends because I don’t know what I should do with the problems I have with them

·         I’m wondering if and when you were going to help my family with our financial problem. If your plan involves me working, selling  stuff or watching my siblings more often that’s ok.

·         os ive been thinkin … Ive been more expozed 2 cusin and ive slowly started 2 do it. What sould i do?

·         will I ever be talented and that the guys in my class ever stop making fun of me.  and what’s my talent.  and how’s my grandma

·         why is their death and suffering?

·         am I obsessed with blood, gore and violence? why are my parents divorced? when will I die? will you help me through this?

·         please help with school because it is hard and can be stressful

·         thank you for the blessings you have given. some things are hard right now but i know you are there.  thank you for all you have given.

·         help my brother to make the right choices plz

·         how do you live through a broken family?

·         how can I make my family come back together and stay that way?

·         I would like to have more friends that are loyal to me

·         how is my grandma?

·         why does everyone hurt me they always just hurt me for no reason!  I want to know why? I’m nice I’m helpful to them but there still mean. I don’t get it. Help me with this problem. amen.

·         why did you let my parent’s divorce?  will my sister be okay when she leaves for collage?  is she choosing the right one?

·         I’ve sort of been struggling with school. since I go to a public school, many of my friends cuss.  I am continually tempted to do things and say things I shouldn’t.  Please be with me during those times.

·         thank you for giving my dad his new job! you have blessed us so much, and yet between my classes and swim team, I haven’t talked to you often. please help me to become closer to you.

·         help me to be patience with you. I know my dad is sick and my mom is tired. they are having a tough time and everything seems so wrong. Help me to become a servant to you.

·         Thank you for everything you’ve given me! And thanks for being their all the time. It’s really good to know your there 4 whenever.  Thank you 4 doing so much it really feels good to know your there 4 me.

·         hey, its me. I’m just really unsure of my future right now, and I really just need courage and good friends. I’m having a hard time identifying my real friends.  I really just need a good friend to talk to.

·         I want a phone please with texting on it please. I am a 13 year old. I love you so much.

It really changes things when you see what kids are actually thinking and going through.  (I thought the last one was particularly fitting.)

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