Screen Time Discussion Guide - Week 1

CoreGroup Guide | Screen Time - Part 1

Written by Denee Bowers and Parker Patton

Dualistic thinking, or black and white thinking, is a common type of reasoning where we see only two distinct options. For example, we may think something is entirely good or entirely bad, and there is nothing in between. This can easily be the way we view technology. In the Bible, though, Jesus regularly invites his believers to consider a third option. Some things in this world like money, sex, and even technology are neutral, and their value comes from the way we handle them. Throughout this series we will consider the benefits and the struggles that technology brings into our lives

Opening Prayer
God, we thank you for your ongoing work in the world. We give you thanks for the many good gifts you give us, and this week we are especially grateful for the technology you have given us. Thank you for the ways it has improved our lives and our world. We ask for your guidance as we attempt to navigate the endless stream of information and never ending noise of media. Help us to seek your voice above all else. Amen.

Ice Breaker
What is your favorite media to binge? What is a show you can’t stop watching, podcast you can’t stop listening to, or music you play on repeat?

The Head
One theme you will notice throughout this series is that the Bible never directly addresses our relationship with technology, primarily because, well, most of it wasn’t invented yet. But don’t worry, this is when we get to put on our thinking caps to see what we can learn from the principles for healthy living that are laid out in scripture.

Matthew 4:1-11
Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.”
Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”
After that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down; for it is written, I will command my angels concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.”
Jesus replied, “Again it’s written, Don’t test the Lord your God.”
Then the devil brought him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said, “I’ll give you all these if you bow down and worship me.”
Jesus responded, “Go away, Satan, because it’s written,You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him.

  • Matthew 4:1 says that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. What do you think of the idea that God didn’t just allow Jesus to be tempted, but arranged for it to happen?
  • How would you describe Jesus’ responses to the temptations he is presented with?  
  • What stands out to you about the specific commands the devil uses to tempt Jesus? 

1 Corinthians 6:12
I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful. I have the freedom to do anything, but I won’t be controlled by anything.

  • What does freedom mean in this context? Are we really free to do anything?
  • What does it mean to be controlled by something? How does this compare to the concept of self control?
  • How do you discern what is helpful or not, especially when it comes to your relationship with media content?

The Heart
There has never been a time in history when humans have had more access to information than we do today. This is one of the great gifts of living in 2024, but it comes at a cost. The endless stream of content coming at us has an impact on our hearts, minds, and souls. In this section you are invited to consider how the digital media all around us makes you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  • What role does media consumption play in your day-to-day life? Is it a way to relax, learn, connect with other people, or something else? 
  • Are there certain times or situations when you struggle to turn off the stream of content? What does that look like in your life?
  • Oftentimes we overindulge in one area because of a sense of scarcity in another area. When you find yourself spending too much time with screens, what perceived area of lack or insufficiency are you trying to address (or avoid)? 

The Hands
The spiritual disciplines we find in scripture are some of our most valuable tools in addressing our relationship with technology. When we set boundaries we are able to keep everything in its place and create margin for God in our lives. As you discuss, think about a discipline you could try out this week in relationship with technology.

  • Do you currently have any boundaries set up around media consumption? Share what works for you with the group.
  • Sabbath, or an intentional time of rest, is a practice that can include our use of technology. What would it look like for you to plan intentional rest time away from technology?
  • Have you ever invited someone else into your media consumption habits? How could someone else help you stick to your boundaries in order to reach your goals? 
  • This week, try picking one app, platform, device, or type of media to fast from. What is something you could cut out for a period of time to help you refocus on God? 

Closing Prayer
God we thank you that in the face of constant change you remain the same. Your wisdom still speaks to us in a world so different from the one Jesus lived in. Help us to have grace for ourselves as we practice self-control. Surround us with people who can support us and hold us accountable. We ask for your presence as we try to untangle our relationship with technology. Amen.

Additional Resources
Focus modes! Our devices keep getting smarter, and some of them are even adding tools to help us set boundaries with them. This video is a super quick introduction into focus modes on iPhones, but a quick Google search will probably help you find tips for managing whatever device you use.

From Pastor Charity
Coming Soon! This summer we are starting Summer Hangs, which are a fun way for you to participate in creating the community we each desire. Summer Hangs are activity-based social hang outs around interest and/or location. They can be one-time or recurring and are available in June and July.  Summer Hangs can be anything from bike riding to service projects to fire pits to potluck etc.You get to create and host them! Stay tuned for more information coming soon.

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