We live in an era when phones are the most distracting item in our lives. If you’re like me you’ve been to out to lunch with someone and every couple minutes he’s looking at his phone, his iWatch, or some other tech device. Within your small group, do your best to encourage people to turn their phones off. That’s the facilitator tip for this week. Here’s how to go about doing that.
TURN YOUR PHONE OFF
Your focus needs to be on your group and guiding their discussion, so turn the phone off so you can concentrate.
As the facilitator you need to set the example. Keep your phone put away and don’t look at. Set a positive example for the rest of the group. A good way to do this is at the beginning of your meeting say, “Hey, well it is time to get started, but first let me turn my phone off.” Set a good example for the group.
Gently and kindly remind people in your group to put their phones on vibrate or to turn them off. You might want to share with your group from time to time that the small group is a different type of “face time.” Instead of the digital “Facetime” on a tablet or phone, the small group is “face time” where we spend time in community talking to each other face-to-face.
Encourage People to Bring a Paper Bible
One negative byproduct of people using their phones to look up Bible passages are the potential distractions that phones have. When someone uses his phone to look up Bible passages it is tempting to take a glance at Facebook, to look at the text messages that have been sent, or to sneak a peak at the sports scores. Personally, I was visiting a small group once where my phone vibrated in my pocket during the middle of the small group. When I glanced at the phone later, it was someone in that small group that I was visiting who was sending a text message to a group of people, and I happened to be in that group! Instead of using phones to look up Bible passages, encourage your people to bring a paper Bible with them to group. Or even better, encourage them to bring their study Bible as a way to help guide the discussion of the group when people have questions.
You will need to also exercise some grace when it comes to the idea of “turning phones” off in a group. There are young families that need to keep their phones on in case a babysitter has an issue and needs to contact them. Others might have parents that are older and require more care, therefore they might need to keep their phones on. And of course, some people will just forget to turn their phones to vibrate.