The handwriting is in the text!

It wasn’t that long ago that I myself felt like texting was the dumbest thing ever…were you like that once? Well I got beyond it pretty quickly and so have many other adults descending back into adolescence and ascending into the 21st century. Recent studies show that if you ain’t texting with a teen then you ain’t connecting with a teen.

Check out this information courtesy of Lab 42

With texting going up each month and more and more teens and even tweens using phones to connect, those of us in ministry must find ways to stay connected via text. Email has jumped the shark and gone the way of the dinosaur! Finding creative ways to connect through mobil devices and especially through cell phones is what we must focus on if we want to remain connected to youth culture. Teens are sending and receiving an average of 60 per day and 75% of those polled say they text regularly. How can we use texting to our advantage?

Text meaningfully. Don’t just send out blanket Bible verses all the time. Intentionally and personally connect with as many students as you can. I know that this is a tough challenge and there’s nothing wrong with sending the typical announcements and reminders via text. However if that’s all your teen gets from you, they will ignore and block your texts in the future. Teens use their phones to connect not to be advertised to. Use your phone and texts to connect not to just send commercials!

Text methodically. Don’t overload your teen with lots of information in a text. It will get lost and or not even read in the midst of their innumerable other texts. Strategically schedule when and what you want to say. Remember that we live in a society now that conditions them to operate in sound bites and status updates. Take the challenge to get your texts into 140 characters or less.

Text manners. Don’t fret when you don’t hear anything back. I used to have such a hard time with this, expecting the conversation to end with a good-bye or see you later or something like that. However in the world of texts, there are not rules to ending conversations…they just sort of stop and pick back up at another time or place. Kids aren’t being rude (all the time) when they don’t respond immediately or they don’t text back to “end” the conversation. Be an informed texter and learn some of the lingo and shorthand with texting. This will go a long way in helping you understand what is really being said and how you can say what you need too in a little bit of space.

Text ministry. Who would have ever thought that one day we would be talking (texting) and consider it ministry? And yet…it is! Learning to connect and have brief conversations with a teen via text can prove to be a huge bridge builder now for down the road when they really need to talk to someone face to face. If you haven’t realized it yet, texting is the way to go to connect to any kid these days…the handwriting is on their phone and it should be on yours!

George Lockhart

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