Posts Tagged ‘teens and media’

It’s a real possibility. Current statistics of media consumption for families  reveals that over 80 hours a week on average is spent online, watching TV or listening to Mp3 players or a combo of all three.  (State of the Church & Family (c)2011) / Orange and Barna Group)

How Much Media is Enough ?

What does that say about us?

I believe it says that we’re addicted to entertainment, to stimulation. I know I am and I’m nowhere near 80 hours a week. It’s a natural migration for my mind and senses to want to be engaged. To avoid silence and stillness, not conciously…but subconsciously.

Why is that?

I’m guessing it’s a mixture of our human nature, technology and opportunity all coming together in a perfect storm. Our nature pulls us towards pleasure above all else…. our technology is so cool it’s overwhelming to the eyes and ears and senses and comes in waves of even cooler and smaller gadgets. The opportunity is almost endless with access points in our homes, schools and local McDonalds for anyone with a wi-fi capable phone, pad or pod.

Does that make Media a bad thing?

Not in my humble opinion. Media is what it is, neutral and unaffected by morality or values…it’s what we do with it that moves it from a non-factor to a huge positive or negative in our lives. It’s no worse than food, money, leisure, relationships or work in that regard. A necessary activity or resource that God has allowed for us to enjoy and use to our benefit.

What is the REAL danger behind it?

I believe the danger from media is its ability to subtly affect our beliefs and undermine our mental stamina. Ok…in english. Sexuality – nudity – violence – trashy talk and greed  can become common place in media, subtly removing our resistance to such conduct and replacing our conscience’s with apathy and indifference. Mental capacity starts to fade as we engage only the consumptive parts of our psyche and allow the deductive and problem solving – creative processes to atrophy and slowly fade. We’re content to allow others or things to do our thinking for us… trusting their reasoning and data over our own. (I.E.  Wikipedia vs. Personal experience)

Media and Teen Values ?

What do we do when popular Media suggests our beliefs are in error ?

Hard question. Reacting in fear is a problem… not reacting is a problem. The challenge is to confront the issues without rejecting the medium (media) or the individual teen or tween asking the question. Not responding or ignoring these obvious challenges to our values and beliefs will result in substantial changes in our kids values and principles and patterns of learning, problem solving and living…. a risk that I’m NOT willing to take.

Getting practical.

If media is out of balance in our lives, it becomes an idol. A mini-god. Just like sex, food, money or careers… this can usurp the role that God alone can play in one’s life or family. Time to take an honest look at the amount of media and entertainment that we’re consuming and then assess how we as parents need to filter it.

Slow things down – unplug from time to time. Say NO to your kids, and watch stuff with them… find out what they are absorbing from their peers, from their hero’s and from media…maybe its time to take the weekend off. Go outside, go fishing, hiking, antique picking, rake the yard, carve a pumpkin, visit a friend, clean the garage, volunteer for a charity, wash your car… Do SOMETHING that is physical and interactive and do it WITH your kids. Be spontaneous… make it fun and balanced. SLOW down your schedule… reduce the dependency on stimulation, and replace it with relationships, talking… walking, reading and writing. Engage your brain and your body.

Oh and don’t forget to model this for your kids BEFORE you ask them to change. Otherwise…we’re in danger of being ignored :)


Pastor B.

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I had a great talk with a few friends of mine at church last week, they shared of their families habit of watching movies together and using the content to create open discussion about life. What a great idea! We hear so much about how terrible media is, as a negative influence on our youth, but we rarely get practical and useful suggestions on ways to use it to our advantage as parents.

Jesus taught in parables. He used word pictures to create stories about symbolic people and places to develop a theme and make a point, to illustrate a truth about the Kingdom of God or life. If He was walking the earth today, I believe He would be using movies or images to help bring home a specific truth to an audience. Like a movie!

Recently Churches have stepped up and started making great movies about life, moral issues and truth. Movies that have made  a significant impact on millions of people. As parents, we should take full advantage of those assets and watch them with our families to further reinforce what they get taught at Church or youth group. Of course we also have decades of great and fun family films to draw from as well, movies that may not be overtly Christian in nature, but certainly share some timeless truths in amazing ways. Films you’ve probably seen several times…but are worth another look when you consider the messages and values they instill.

So since Popcorn is my favorite snack and we all have a microwave and a well-worn couch or two, let’s plan to use them! Get yourself a Netflix rental or Redbox DVD and plan a saturday family movie night soon! Think about the ages and issues your kids are walking through and consider some of these great movies for which would be most appropriate and beneficial.

Recent Releases to DVD:

Facing the Giants”,  “Fireproof” – great family films from the Sherwood Church in Georgia !

Facing the Giants is a great film for families of all ages, especially those into sports, athletic events…and FOOTBALL.

                                                                                                              Fireproof is a marriage film… most effective for older pre-teens or teens, and great for couples who are struggling in their marriages.

The Grace Card” A modern cop drama set in Memphis TN, explore racial and ethnic diversity as well as forgiveness and life renewed. PG-13

Soul Surfer”  

Brand New to DVD, this is a true life story of teen Bethany Hamilton and how her courageous faith and passion for surfing have inspired a generation of girls and pre-teens for Christ!

To Save a Life

One of the most compelling youth group films i’ve ever seen. If you have eighth graders or older, this is a realistic portrayal of life in the church from a teens perspective. PG-13 as well.

In theatres Now

Courageous” – has great reviews and features great Christian music – available everywhere !





The Passion of the Christ – Chronicles of Narnia  – Evan Almighty  – Amazing Grace – Chariots of Fire  – Lord of The Rings  Cinderella Man – It’s A wonderful Life – The Princess Bride -The Incredibles  – Shrek – Elf – Bridge to Teribithia – Journey to the Center of the Earth – Nimms Island – Cars – A Bugs Life – etc…

Online Resources to check out:

Focus on the Family – “Plugged In” – Media Review Site and Radio Show

Christian Cinema.com Christian Cinema

iShinelive.com is a great site for kids under 13 and has a great TV series, iShine KNECT TV available in  DVD format

to purchase DVD’s – I recommend as a one stop shop these guys: CBD – http://www.christianbook.com/dvds


Ok, Ok…You get the idea…  What are some of your favorites ? Jump in on the comments section so we can all enjoy ! It’s time we went proactive in our approach to teaching our kids about life and media and truth. If we don’t… the movies will do it without us. Parents, its critical that we make the effort to be around for our kids… its our job to filter the facts from fiction !

Peace out,


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A good question… especially for those of us in the Nashville music scene. IS Christian Music Dead?… Parents and fans alike often ask us… has Christian music become just a secularized shadow of its previous self ?

Not even close. Christian Music is alive and well and maybe stronger than it has been in three decades…. read on to find out why or IF, it even matters !

For parents, understanding that media is “THE” language of our youth is critical. Our kids, eat, drink, sleep and play with ear buds glued to their ears. On average, kids are consuming over 60 hours a week of media in our homes. It is their primary form of relating to the world around them. Not books, not conversation, not sunday school…music.

If we miss the media reality, we may miss entirely the ability to connect with our kids as parents and ultimately as generational Christians.

Living and working in Christian media now for almost two decades, I can tell you the radical shift in technology and economics has emptied hundreds of office buildings and studio’s in Nashville. It’s been hard, incredibly difficult to predict, prepare or survive the financial realities of the past decade if you’re an independent or niche’ label group, media company or studio. There just isn’t much business around and what there is, can only work on a severely reduced budget.

But is that all bad ?

I don’t think so… It seems a major change has slowly occurred in the industry from the inside out. Labels and Media Groups who have made the sacrifices to survive are not here any longer for the cash, or the fame or the influence of success. They are by in large not working with artists bent on making a name for themselves or launching into mainstream fame from a Christian music stepping stone. They are around because they feel called to be here and they genuinely care.

They care about the mission and vision that God gave them to perform. They care about the next generation of kids and Christians and they are willing to do whatever it takes to reach them with a message of hope, and faith and creativity. It’s as if God allowed the storms of our business environment to weed out many of the secular influences of the past which reduced the quantity but not the quality of the music and media now being recorded and produced. What a great reminder. God always is redeeming, always restoring and always has a plan…no matter what it looks or feels like.

It reminds me of a guy in the bible named Gideon. Who started out with reluctant passion and faith, and an army. When God finished preparing him for greatness… he had 300 men left. Feels like what I’m seeing in Nashville and Colorado Springs and Dallas Texas. Small but fervent bands of like-minded and servant hearted musicians, label executives and producers all focused on the “message’ and the ministry behind the performances.

Reading the histories of the very first Christian musicians from California in the sixties, I am reminded of their simple and heart-felt desire to spread the hope of Jesus with their un-polished music. They drove in VW Buses and beat up cars all over the United States with trunk loads of vinyl and eight tracks / Cassette’s and new testament bibles. They were relentless, and inspired and pure and powerful. They were “Jesus People” and they changed the world and launched the industry we know now as Christian Contemporary Music (CCM).

Seems God is helping us return to our roots… to re-connect with our creator and His plans for our music and media and creativity. And I for one am grateful and excited to see how it all turns out. But know for certain, the pulse of authentic Christian music and media is beating strong and true today, more so than in thirty years.

Peace out, and may God richly bless you as you ” seek to keep your kids on the road and in-between the lines of life! ”


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