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My Conspire 2009 Thoughts – General Session 1 with Phil Vischer


(photo taken from Kidz on Earth.com)

The first general session at Conspire was entitled “Discipled by Culture” and was presented by Phil Vischer. You can check out my live blogging of the session here. You can also check out Matt Guevara’s summary on the Conspire blog.

Soon after Phil began his talk, I was pretty frustrated because he kept spouting off statistic after statistic regarding the amount of media saturation that exists today in contrast to that in recent history. You just felt like you were bombarded by numbers and facts without the chance to absorb it all… let alone write them down. Luckily, I was sitting next to Larry Shallenberger who informed me that Vischer was quoting from a Kaiser Family Foundation study on media in the lives of children. After all the statistics you definitely realized how much media kids are exposed to.

My A-HA moment was when Phil commented on what he called HBO Envy. With the growing common use of cable television, networks are having to compete with the likes of HBO and the award-winning programming like Sex in the City, The Sopranos, Entourage, and Oz to name a few. So networks are pushing the envelope in violent and sexual content. Add to that something else Phil called Compressing Childhood where children’s programming is being targeted younger and younger and you have a gap in appropriate programming for kids after they graduate from shows like Hannah Montanna, iCarly and Suite Life.

What Phil said at the end I’ve heard him say before. It stuck with me then and it was nice to hear it again. It’s not our job to compete with all the media out there. Churches don’t have the resources to do that. We don’t need to compete with it all, though, because we can do something media can’t. We can love the kids in our communities, and we need to make sure we are doing just that.

  • How are you loving the kids in your ministries?
  • What do you think of the statement that we don’t need to compete with Media?

3 Responses to “My Conspire 2009 Thoughts – General Session 1 with Phil Vischer”

  1. Jill Nelson April 10, 2009 at 4:33 am #

    I think we're doing a good job at loving kids at my church. I'm always so blessed to watch the relationship between our small group leaders and their kids. My favorite moment of witnessing this came at a sleepover we had for our 4th & 5th grade girls. A girl who had only been attending for a few weeks shared some struggles with her leader. While talking, she looked at her leader with complete adoration. It was beautiful to watch the way she intently listened to her leader's advice, fully trusting her. This relationship was developed by having a leader who truly cares about the girls in her group, showing them that she knows and understands them, and is gifted at working with kids. I think loving kids is how we can compete with media. But as Larry Shallenberger said in his session on culture, “To love someone is to know their culture.”

  2. Jill Nelson April 10, 2009 at 4:33 am #

    Media is so much of kids today’s culture… I agree with Phil that we don't need to try to compete with media itself (meaning match the media we create with what's out there), but we do need to appeal to kids. I have several kids in our church who only attend with their mom. If they throw enough of a fit, they can stay home with dad and watch cartoons or play video games. We need to be creating a program/environment that they'd rather be at than in front of the TV. Loving them includes knowing what they like, what's fun to them, etc. and using that to show them that God knows them and understands them.

  3. Nathan Firmin April 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    I remember Phil talking about how Christians are not much on funny. I agree. That is one reason I use two lamb puppets called Lambeaux and Boudreaux to tell Bible stories and for children's message in worship. The puppets get to say silly things that create learning moments. Kids laugh while really listening to Lambeaux and Boudreaux. Lambeaux has done one video and we're going to try to do more to reach kids.

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