My daughter was probably the first generation who started using computers as toddlers. They are so comfortable with technology, many appear to be lost if a device is not permanently attached to their hand. While there are negative things about this trend, it does have some advantages.
Because our children are passionate about technology, they can be taught to use this passion to serve others and share their faith. Unfortunately, many of the adults working with young people don’t even consider this as a possible talent to be used in service to God. An important opportunity to teach our children and teens to use their passions, skills and talents for God is missed.
The next time you are tempted to send a group of young people on yet another service project involving raking leaves or painting, consider some of these technology based service projects. Encourage them to be creative and add their own touches. How can they incorporate sharing their faith in the process of serving?
- Many teens have learned at least some basic web design. Others, like our daughter, have learned enough about it to rival most adults. Yet, many churches and non-profits struggle to find people to develop their websites and keep them updated. Find teens who enjoy web design. Bring in a professional if necessary to test their skills or provide additional training. Put them in charge of designing and updating web sites. You may decide to start with a youth group web page or allow them to help with an entire website. Our daughter has helped create and maintain several websites including this one, from a very young age. You will be amazed at how creative and innovative their ideas are for the sites they help design.
- Encourage your technology savvy young people to share their knowledge with others. They may want to hold a class for parents of younger children, explaining to them all of the latest technologies, social media and more. Have the young people explain the pros and cons of each and how they have seen them used for good and for bad. Or perhaps your tech savvy child wants to help older people send emails or learn how to text. Assisted living facilities and senior centers would love to provide organized classes for their constituents on a variety of tech subjects, but often don’t have the volunteers. If your child is too shy to teach the class, he may want to volunteer to be a helper who works one-on-one with people who are struggling.
- Take advantage of Facebook, email and Skype to encourage missionaries or Christians in countries where Christians are persecuted. Have your child or a group of young people brainstorm various ways to use technology to encourage Christians in other countries or in remote locations.
- Have a child who loves to write and is tech savvy? Make it possible for him to blog and encourage other teens to live Christian lives. What lessons has your child learned other teens may find helpful? What Bible verses really speak to your teen? Blogs can be set up and hosted for free or at a minimal cost. Your teen can probably figure it out with a little encouragement or many websites have step by step instructions.
- Does your child know how to design games? There is a critical need for high quality Bible computer games and apps. Some retailers hold classes for beginners and there are many books and online advice columns to get her started on game design and promotion.
Have you found other ways for your child to use computers and other technology to serve God and share her faith? I would love for you to share them with us in comment below.