Tuesday, March 31

Americans spend more than 1/3 of their day with screens

Thanks to churchrelevance.com, I came across this article from the New York Times. A recent study has found that the average American adult spends 8.5 hours each day exposed to screens. This includes televisions, computers, cell phones, and even GPS units. Put another way, we spend more than a third of each day looking at screens.

One of the remarkable features of this study is that this average time holds steady for nearly every age group of adults. Television remains the most common form of media consumption, but this study proves that computer usage has replaced the radio as the second most common form. However, while the time spent looking at screens is roughly the same, the screens that they look at are a little different. For example, 18- to 24-year olds watch the least amount of television, at just 3.5 hours each day. This means that people in this age range are spending a full 5 hours each day of "screen time" doing things other than watching TV.

I think that there are real implications for the church here. People are using screen-based media for 1/3 of their day. We need to find tools and methods to use screens for minisitry. Too often, churches and ministries use technology for information delivery only. In other words, they have websites or Twitter or other things that serve the purpose of providing information. They are using these tools only to let people know when and where they can show up if they want to participate in ministry.

I think that we need to move beyond this. I think that we need to actually find ways to actually conduct ministry on-screen. We have to figure out how we can use the technological tools available to us so that we can use them to actually touch their lives for Jesus, not just provide information about who we are and where they can find us. When we rely on getting people to come to the church, we 0nly have a few hours each week to reach them. On the other hand, if we can effectively use on-screen culture to our benefit, we have the ability to connect with people during 1/3 of their lives, and nearly 1/2 of the time they are awake. If we don't figure out how to do this effectively, we're missing out on a real opportunity to affect the world for Jesus.

I'm not sure that I have answers to how to do this, but I know I'm actively asking the question.

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