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Media: The Power to Attract and Instruct. The Christian Church Can Use Multiple Forms of Media to Bring Youth to Youth Groups and Teach Them Right and Wrong . Slideshow by Liam Brown. Why Is Media Important?. Kids Grow Up in a Media Saturated Environment The average American home contains:

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media the power to attract and instruct

Media: The Power to Attractand Instruct

The Christian Church Can Use Multiple Forms of Media to Bring Youth to Youth Groups and Teach Them Right and Wrong.

Slideshow by Liam Brown

why is media important
Why Is Media Important?

Kids Grow Up in a Media Saturated Environment

  • The average American home contains:
    • 3.5 Television (82 percent of families have cable access or satellite TV)
    • 1.9 VCRs/DVD players
    • 1.5 Computers (74 percent of families have internet access; 60 percent have instant messaging software (1)
  • Children use electronic media from 2 to 5 hours daily, spending more time with television than in any other activity except sleep. (1)
  • 75 percent of children ages 8–18 have a television in their bedroom; 36 percent of children ages 0–6 do. (1)
  • 44 percent of children ages 8–18 use a computer every day, and 39 percent play video games every day. (1)
  • Americans aged 13 - 18 spend more than 72 hours per week using electronic media–defined as the Internet, cell phones, television, music, and video games. Because teens are known for multitasking, their usage of devices often overlaps. (2)
  • Virgin Mobile USA reports that more than half of their customers aged 15 to 20 sends or receives at least eleven text messages a day, while nearly a fifth text 21 times a day or more. (2)
  • An estimated 75 percent of teens spend two or three hours a day downloading or listening to music online. (2)
  • Fifty-five percent of all online American teens use social networks and have posted a profile online. Forty-three percent say they have been contacted by a stranger online. (2)
  • By the time the average adolescent graduates from high school, he or she will have watched nearly 900,000 television commercials. Commercials gladly tell youth what to value in society. Everything is measured in terms of money. (3)
negative influences
Negative Influences

Research and studies show:

  • The link between violence and media is as strong as the link between tobacco and lung cancer. (4)
  • 10- to 19-year olds who played video games spent about 30 percent less time reading and 34 percent less time doing homework than non-players. (4)
  • 55 % of teens say that electronic gadgets make a statement about who they are. (2)
  • Teens who used cell phones the most were more likely to be anxious and depressed.
  • For each hour of TV viewed per day, teens had a statistically significant greater likelihood of developing depression in young adulthood. (5)
  • 90% of all games required injured characters in order to win and 69% required killing characters to win. (4)
  • Kids who play violent games do worse in school than kids who don’t play those games. (4)
  • Youth who play violent games are more likely to get in vocal and physical fights. (4)
how can we reverse the negative influences
How Can We Reverse the Negative Influences?

Christian Media

If we hadn’t been willing to use technology in the past, think how slow our work would have progressed . . . We depend upon technology to help us fulfill the huge assignment we’ve been given (to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth). Of course God can use the humblest methods and means to finish His work. But He chooses to use us and the things we create. Why not use technology to better communicate God’s grace and love?

Passport News, Summer 2004 (6)

We need a vision of the future, especially a future affected by the use of sound pictures. We should stress the development of the religious motion picture for constructive teaching, for religious education, not merely in the Sunday school but in the church itself. There are 195,000 churches in this country, Protestant and Catholic, and there is no reason why we should not use the talking picture to hear the greatest preachers and the greatest choirs in the country. We could send those pictures to the smallest churches where they have never had the opportunity to hear the great preachers. Today between 15 (percent) and 20 percent of the churches are always vacant. We could fill up those seats by means of motion pictures.

Dr. William Carter, 1929, Presbyterian pastor from Brooklyn (7)

visual media increases memory
Visual Media Increases Memory

After 2 weeks a person remembers:

  • 10% of what they read
  • 20% of what they hear
  • 30% of what they see
  • 50% of what they see and hear
  • 70% of what they say
  • 90% of what they do
  • Most churches are designed for teaching us using our ears, but adding visuals will more than double the impact of the message
  • When a Pre-Christian youth arrives at your church, they will be able to relate more to the visuals in your service than the vocals, but music is still very popular with the youth
  • By 2001 over 75% over churches in America had purchased technology systems of a screen, computer, and video player for $10.000+ (8)
tips on using media in youth ministry
Tips On Using Media In Youth Ministry
  • Use music, games, videos, and such to set up a Christian atmosphere that the youth will continuously enjoy. Also choose media you can get be interested in.
  • Use media in your message to the youth, sometimes even an entire message series off of the media
  • Though you may be much older than the youth, show them that you are interested in their current culture by staying up-to-date with all the different media
  • You don’t always need to have a clip with a “deep thought” behind it. It’s really okay to use a clip from a movie just because it’s funny.
  • Be prepared for a lot of work. You need to create your series with a professional quality. Don’t stress out! Integrate media in many different ways
  • Take a video clip from a movie, television show or cartoon and dub your own voices over the dialogue to say whatever you want
tips on using media in youth ministry1
Tips On Using Media In Youth Ministry
  • If you give them access to a computer, it is highly recommended that you not give them access to the Internet so they are not tempted nor accidentally look at evil things online. You should also not allow them to install software but only use their what’s already on and their thumb drive
  • Graphic design to make an image for the theme of your message. These images often stay in the back of the youth’s mind and come up again when the subject is brought up again.
  • Create trivia questions from media like music or TV shows and use them as part of your program to enhance a teaching theme. For instance, if you are teaching on the family create a bunch of trivia from the Brady Bunch, The Cosby Show, Growing Pains, etc.
  • Project the lyrics of the worship music and points of your message onto a big screen so it’s easier to see
  • Create a youth ministry website that can list all the dates of events, latest messages, and links to other clean websites for the youth
  • Use e-mail and cell phone texting to get youth to remind each other about dates of events (9)
not the action but the message
Not The Action, But the Message
  • Many things like sex, violence, anger, and money are not evil things unless they are used to present an evil message. They can be used to present a righteous message, even in the Bible. Youth ministry needs to teach teens how to ask Q’s like these to help choose the media with the best messages for themselves:

Five Key Questions

  • Who created this message?
  • What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
  • How might different people understand this message differently?
  • What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
  • Why is this message being sent? (13)

More useful questions the youth should ask

  • How is the media intended to make listeners feel? How does the media make me feel? Does this media manipulate emotions in anyway?
  • How is God portrayed? What does it say about God? Who or what is “god”?
  • What does it say about how to treat others? Are people “used” or portrayed as a means to an end?
  • What does the media say about what is wrong with this world? Does the media suggest a solution(s) to life’s problems? If so what are those solutions (14)
  • Outside the church walls, the youth are already exposed to media for extremely high hours with many negative results. However, this not a reasonable excuse to stop using media from within the youth group walls. Instead, it is better for youth ministry to constantly be using all types of media in order to train teenagers to block the evil and absorb the good messages presented through media.

Liam Brown

"I believe everyone in the field of youth work needs to know how media

affects teens in both good and bad ways. It impacts, even shapes,

their entire lives. Kids are spending great amounts of time on Internet

sites that have no rating systems or watchdogs. As a youth pastor,

I will never let my guard down."

Denny Burda, Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minnesota


(1) Studying Media Effects on Children and Youth: Improving Methods and Measures, Workshop Summary, Alexandra Beatty, 2006,

(2) Youth and Media Facts

(3) YOUTH: Material World Puts Price Tag on Values , Center for Media Literacy

(4) THE INFLUENCE OF MEDIA VIOLENCE ON YOUTH (page 1), Craig A. Anderson, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University

(5) Archives of General Psychiatry ,

(6) Passport News, Summer 2004,

(7) Dr. William Carter, 1929, Presbyterian pastor from Brooklyn

(8) Muddy River Media, June 11, 2008

(9) Using Popular Media in Youth Ministries, ELCA Youth Ministries Help Sheet, ttp://

(10) Ministry and Media,

(11) Interlinc

(12) Discussion with Youth Minister John McCants of Trinity Church EFCA in Covington, Louisiana

(13) Five Key Questions That Can Change the World, Jeff Share, Center for Media Literacy, 2005,