One important trend to come to grips with if you haven't is that teens are now spending more time engaging Tik Tok content than even Youtube! Youtube has been the google of videos and the powerhouse leader, only to be surpassed in viewing hours recently by Tik Tok! Tik Tok videos are a relatively shorter 1 minute compared to Youtube's 10 minute average. This is important because teens are consuming more varied, individual bites of micro-content, which changes the game with attention spans and knowing where our teens are being influenced and taught.
Another new artist to feature on this blog, Jordan Smith, has released a new EP titled Be Still & Know. If that name sounds familiar, it is probably because Jordan actually won season 7 of The Voice, the singing competition that features 4 celebrity singers to help coach up-and-coming singers. Amidst all of that recognition though, his passion still remained in Christian music. This is the culmination of years of writing for him, as he's spent much time writing for other artists recently. He describes it as "ripped out of his journal" because it takes listeners through the past several years of his spiritual journey. Here is a link to his Youtube channel so that you can check out his music.
The last game from stuffyoucanuse.org that we'll highlight is called Banana for Scale. There are slides that you can download, and on these slides are different items like school buses or the Empire State Building. Contestants (or teams) have to try to guess how many bananas tall or long the object is. Hint: Bananas are about 7 inches on average. Whichever person/team gets closest gets the point, and whoever has the most points at the end wins.
If you want to add an extra challenge, tell the teams that if they go over, their vote won't count. This will show you who the risk-takers of the group are.
Have you ever been camping? There's lots of noise going on whether it's the crackle of a fire, the conversations around the fire, or the neighboring family setting up their site. It isn't until all the noise stops that you begin to hear the beauty of the wildlife. At night, after others are in bed, you can hear them clearly. Listening to God can work in the same way. Life can be loud. There are all sorts of things that are constantly clamoring for our attention, and some of them are good and healthy things. However, to listen to his voice most effectively, we have to quiet our surroundings and the voices in our heads. That is when we will hear Him clearly. God spoke to Elijah through a gentle whisper in 1 Kings 19, and He still speaks like that today. Be listening for his whisper as you go about your week. You could consider using an illustration related to whispering or trying to hear something in the midst of all the noise while everyone is yelling to help get this point across!
Try to find some time this week, even if it's just 5 minutes to drop everything that you're doing and praise God for a bit. He is certainly worthy of our praise, but also, a shift occurs in us when we recognize God's majesty. We realize just how big He is and how small we and are our problems are. It helps us have an eternal perspective.
Psalm 46:10 - He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.