What is the first thing you do when you wake up? What is the last thing you do before you go to bed? Is the time and energy you spend on digital things coming between you and God? During the month of October, Rooted Jr High will be taking on the challenge to “PUT OFF” things that distract us and learn how to “PUT ON” behaviors that draw us closer to God and strengthen our relationship with Him and each other (Col. 3:1-17).
Distractions may look different for each person but here are some examples: social media, video games, YouTube, TV, Netflix, Hulu, or the Internet. First, by examining our hearts and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal where the distractions are in our lives, we will learn how to surrender those things over to Him one week at a time (Matt. 7:3-7, Ps. 139:23-24). We will be going through Colossians and spending time together in small groups to support and receive accountability with one another. Parents are highly encouraged to participate in this challenge together as a family. Let us be reminded that technology should never take the place that belongs to the Lord as the preeminent influence of our thoughts, lives, and relationships with one another.
Any parents who want to know more on what this opportunity would look like and how to implement within their home are encouraged to attend 12:45pm meeting on Sunday, September 25th in the High School room.
Week 1 – Examine (Hebrews 12:1)
· What are some reasons you need to do a digital detox?
o Is it a timewaster for you?
o What do you do when you’re bored?
o What are your current screen time statistics?
· Identify those influences that cause anxiety, make you feel bad about yourself, or cause you to change your character in a negative way.
o “A problem well-defined is a problem half-solved.” (Charles Kettering)
· For Parents: talk to your youth about “blocking people” on social media.
· PUT ON:
o Read Colossians 1:1-29
o Write down realistic goals for yourselves.
Week 2 – Purge
· PUT OFF: Clean your account. Now that you have identified those distractions put off those things.
o Get rid of the explicit music, toxic people, etc.
o People you follow—people you compare yourself to, games you play, music you listen to, movies/shows you watch, and the technology you consume. Be intentional about what you choose to keep.
· PUT ON: See “Put Ons” below to figure out what you need to do personally.
o Read Colossians 2:1-23
o For Parents:
§ How many followers do your kids have?
§ Of these followers, how many do they actually know?
§ Is your kids’ account set to private or public?
Week 3 – Limit
· PUT OFF: Set time limits on your usage of the distraction and commit. Possibly ask a parent to set parameters with passwords.
o Aim for an achievable goal.
§ Example: If you spend 7hrs on your screen daily, reduce it to half.
o Put off one thing completely
§ Delete something! One social media platform, most played video game, most used app, etc.
· PUT ON: Now replace that time to pray and read through a book of the Bible.
o Read Colossians 3:1-25
o Write down things the Lord is showing you through this time.
o Eat around the dinner table.
o Play games with your family.
o Find something productive to take up. Pray about your gifts and ask God to show you a way to use them. Learn how to draw, play an instrument, a new language, etc.
Week 4 – Eliminate
· PUT OFF:
o Put off every form of unnecessary technology now through the end of the month (or longer if the Lord is leading you).
· PUT ON:
o As distractions are dealt with, ask the Lord to continue revealing Himself to you. Reconnect more with Him through prayer, studying the Bible, devotions, worship music, and fellowship with family and other believers.
o Read Colossians 4:1-18 and write down one favorite verse and explain why.
o If you don’t have an area of ministry to serve in, start serving. Talk to a leader.
CAUTION: Do not put off without putting on! If you put off bad habits without replacing them with good and godly behaviors, you will be vulnerable to attack and filling that time again with distractions. It will be easier to go back to the old life.
· Put Offs
o Screentime usage
o Limit time on apps, social media, watching tv, playing games, etc.
o Remove apps or things that are unhealthy
o Video Games-limit time or replace with another activity
o Timewasters that you are aware of
· Put Ons
o Physical Activity
o Parental Accountability
§ parental controls, give your phone to parents on a daily basis.
o Healthy family discussions regarding technology, phones, etc. and the influence it has.
o Follow the church Instagram, Facebook, church app, Bible app.
o Bring your Bible to church.
o Use an alarm clock instead of your phone.
o Spiritual Practices – read your Bible and work your way through one book at a time, time in prayer, church attendance
o Healthy Habits – have healthy + intentional conversations and family time
o Learn a new skill
o Strengthen an area you are weak in (academic, physical, personal, spiritual, etc.)
o Serve in ministry