Texting is integral to the daily lives of many teens. Religious meeting planners report that nearly all attendees at youth gatherings today have cell phones. (This is evident during poignant moments in a program; it’s now customary during such times for attendees to hold up their phones. When this happens, meeting planners say everyone has a phone.) So here are tips on how texting can be used (and managed) to enhance youth meetings.

•Send safety/security alerts (and hope you never need to use it for this purpose).

•Send schedule changes.

•Create a location for youth to send pictures and text messages about their growth experiences. Use their insights, questions, and “aha” moments to help plan the meeting content.

•Have attendees send text responses to questions asked from the main stage.

•Ask the adult leaders who come with the young attendees to monitor text messaging. Ask the adults to discourage texting during sessions.

One planner says: “We try to teach young people the practice of presence. To really be present to another human means giving them your full attention, listening carefully, and looking for a reflection of God in their eyes. You can’t be multitasking when practicing “presence.”

Related Articles

Check out the youth meetings section for more advice and information.