The Influence of Technology

The Family and Technology Report” is one of the Barna Group‘s latest publications.  The report is based on research conducted in partnership with Orange, which is part of the reThink Group. “The innovative study included nationwide interviews among parents and 11- to 17-year-olds from the same households, allowing comparisons between the parents and the tweens and teenagers who reside in the same home.”

Recently, Church Juice‘s Jerod Clark discussed the study’s five findings and provided a “take-away” for each:

  • Finding 1: Parents are just as dependent on technology as their teens and tweens.
    Takeaway: Churches who think they don’t need to embrace using new technology because it’s just for young people are wrong.  Ignoring technology doesn’t only make a church less relevant to young people, but it loses parents, too.
  • Finding 2: Most family members, including parents, feel like technology has had a positive influence on their lives.
    Takeaway: Families are looking for positive ways to use technology.  How can your church help?  Can you provide resources that families can use together?
  • Finding 3: Few adults or youth take a break from using technology.
    Takeaway: People want information to be easily accessible to them at any time.  It’s no different when they’re trying to get information from a church.
  • Finding 4: Families experience conflict over technology, but not always in predicable ways.
    Takeaway:  Technology can be a divisive topic–not just for nuclear families, but church congregations, too.  If you’re going to use a new piece of technology for communicating in your church, make sure you take time to explain why you’re doing it.
  • Finding 5: Few families experience their church addressing technology.
    Takeaway: Churches have a charge to teach on this topic in a way that’s useful to families.  Simply teaching that technology is bad isn’t going help, because it doesn’t address the realities of modern life.

So What?

Staff members and leadership teams responsible for ministry with children and youth talk about technology on a regular basis.  This study and Jensen’s take-aways provide substantive material for an intentional and in-depth conversation.

  • How has your congregation integrated technology in ministry with children, youth, and their families in recent years?  What has worked well? What didn’t work as well as planned and what was learned from those experiences?
  • What new technology(ies) will your congregation be utilizing in the next year in ministry with children, youth, and their families?  How do you prepare your constituents for the launch of new technologies?
  • What does your congregation offer families to help them learn more about technology?


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