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Texting causes creeping informality

Texting-on-Cell-PhonesI saw an article in the Seattle Times this morning that made me immediately think about Youth Ministry. In the article teachers speak to the positive sides of students using blogs, texting and collaborative online tools.  In the opinion of teachers students got high marks for how the organize their thoughts, use style and tone and put together their papers.

But the article points out problems too.  “Creeping Informality” is slowly taking over. Teachers recognize it when it students begin to abbreviate words and use text slang style in their written assignments.   This informality has begun to erode the positive side of the texting movement as students are beginning to show signs of inability to process information outside of bite size chunks and longer projects are a major struggle.

This article made me think about how I interact with people and communicate.   I text a lot.  It’s my primary tool for staying connected to my family ministry team and to a number of students.  It’s an easy way of passing on information quickly and having a discussion but it isn’t the best way.  I find so many times that I have to write out how I am “feeling” as I text that so that the receiver of the message can know how to best read what I’m saying.  And informal conversation like this can get us into trouble as we are way more likely to fire off something quick that we don’t really think through before sending.

Creeping Informality has plaged  the Youth Ministry world for years.  I’m a fairly informal dresser (said while wearing a camp t-shirt and sweats) and often find myself just a little bit too underdressed for situations.  I like to put my feet on my desk too because I find I just think better leaning back.   But I think all of us realize that we need to be careful about how informal we are.  Texting your senior pastor when there is a major youth ministry crises is probably not the best route to go.  Sending a passive aggressive e-mail to a parent is both wrong and likely going to just push off the problem so it’ll blow up in your face later.

So here’s just a couple of quick thoughts to push us all:

1. How much do you use text to deal with issues you are uncomfortable talking about face to face?

2. Do you feel that you have been too informal in conversations with co-workers, parents or students?

3. How has being overly informal in what you wear hurt you?

4. Are there ways we can help students engage faith study in longer chunks breaking them free of their bite sized texting thoughts?

There you go. I’m thinking through these questions too.

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2 thoughts on “Texting causes creeping informality

  1. I remember about two years into my internship during college, my two overseers had to sit me down and say I’d been getting too informal with the rest of the staff, and that I needed to go back to showing the respect I had been showing. Definitely a humbling conversation, but one that needed to happen! I can definitely see the effects of this, but I hadn’t thought about it before I read this.


    What is the meaning of calling on the name of the Lord? Many assume that believing in Jesus and saying a form of a sinner’s prayer constitutes, calling on the name of the Lord. The problem with that theory is none of the conversions under the New Covenant support that assumption. Not one time is anyone ever told to believe and say the sinner’s prayer in order to be saved.

    The apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost quoted the prophet Joel, Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (NKJV)

    The apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon under the New Covenant. Peter did not tell the 3000 converts to believe and say the sinner’s prayer.

    Peter preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He preached Jesus as both Lord and Christ. When they heard this they asked Peter and the rest of the brethren what they should do?(Acts 2:22-37) Peter told them what to do. Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

    How did the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost call on the name of the Lord and become saved?
    1. They believed that Jesus was both Lord and Christ.
    2. They believed that God raised Jesus from the grave.
    3. They repented. Repentance is a change of heart. Repentance means to be converted so that God may forgive your sins. Repentance is to make the intellectual commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God. (Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38)
    4. They were immersed in water (baptized) so that their sins could be forgiven.

    How did the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost not call on the name of the Lord?
    1. They did not say a sinner’s prayer.
    2. Not one person was asked to pray for forgiveness.
    3. Not one single man was told to be baptized as a testimony of his faith.
    4. No one was told that water baptism was a just an act of obedience.
    5. No one was informed they were saved the very minute they believed.
    6. Not one person was told that water baptism was not essential for the forgiveness of sins.
    7. Not one person was told to be baptized so they could join a denominational church.

    Jesus said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. (Mark 16″16) Jesus did not say he who believes and says a sinner’s prayer shall be saved.

    You are invited to follow my Christian blog at: or you can google search stevefinnell a cfhristian view

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