Screen Time Discussion Guide - Week 3

CoreGroup Guide | Screen Time - Part 3

Written by Denee Bowers and Parker Patton

Technology has made our world more connected today than it has ever been in the history of civilization. The pandemic helped us improve and embrace the ways we can communicate virtually. If your job suddenly became completely remote or you were supervising a kid in Zoom school, you also experienced the shortcomings of virtual interactions. There are both tangible and intangible parts of in-person interaction that cannot be duplicated online. The challenge for us as Jesus followers is to find balance between embracing screen time and knowing that an in-person interaction may hold deeper meaning.

Opening Prayer
God, thank you for bringing us together again. During this series we have been talking about all of the distractions technology surrounds us with. Help us, for the next hour or so, to center our minds and hearts on you. Help us to connect with each other in a meaningful way and fill our conversation with your spirit. Amen.

Ice Breaker
Have you ever experienced a meaningful connection with another person, or group of people, that was facilitated by technology? Share the story!

The Head
The ministry of Jesus was incarnational. In other words, Jesus was present, up close and personal with his followers. Rather than remaining distant and away from humanity, God decided to become human and live among us. This characteristic of God is important to remember as we consider the promise of technology. So much can be gained from virtual connections, but there is also value in getting in a room together, walking down a road together, and breaking bread together.
Luke 24:13-35 (CEB)
13 On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him.

17 He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast. The one named Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?” He said to them, “What things?” They said to him, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. 20 But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him.

21 We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. But there’s more: Some women from our group have left us stunned. They went to the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body. They came to us saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who told them he is alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women said. They didn’t see him.”

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about.  Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets.

28 When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”

33 They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread.

  • In this scripture the disciples are on a journey. How would you describe their journey?
  • This story has the fascinating detail that the disciples were “prevented from recognizing” Jesus and later “their eyes were opened.” How do you interpret the disciples' shifting ability to recognize Jesus? 
  • Why do you think the moment of breaking bread was the moment when Jesus’ identity was revealed to the disciples?
  • The disciples express their disappointment at perceived misplaced hopes (verse 21). How does this story impact the way you view your own disappointments?
  • What else stands out to you about this story of the disciples and Jesus walking together?

The Heart
Have you heard people using the phrase “touch grass”? It’s a relatively new bit of slang that you would say to someone who is being unreasonable or unrealistic because they are spending too much time online. The idea is that even with the incredible reach of the digital world we still need simple things like nature to keep us grounded. In this section we will explore some of the reasons we turn to screens for connection and how that impacts us.

  • How do you feel after you spend a long stretch of time only looking at and talking to screens? What impact does it have on your mental and physical health?
  • Do you think screens have had a positive or negative impact on the amount of loneliness you feel? Share some examples with the group. 
  • How do you feel after in-person interactions with people in your life (especially in church or CoreGroup if you participate in those activities in-person)? 
  • Does your screen time impact your time spent connecting with God? In what ways? 

The Hands
The challenge is simple this week, how do we need to adjust our relationship to technology in order to deepen our relationships? These may not be easy changes to make, but talking about them and keeping them front of mind can go a long way.

  • What is one type of virtual connection you could pursue in an effort to get outside of yourself and connect with people in new and creative ways?
  • What online connections could you take offline in hopes of deepening the relationship?
  • What are your favorite apps or platforms to help you connect more with people? 
  • Any apps or platforms you need to ditch so you can be more present with your people? 

Closing Prayer
God, thank you for being a God who wants to be in relationship with us. You have created us for community and we are grateful for the ways you use others to help us get to know you better. We ask that this week we are able to take our online and in-person relationships to a deeper level. Amen.

From Pastor Charity
ICYMI- More than 250 people gathered for the One CoreGroup Event last week. Here’s a link to the follow-up email with the video recording, slide deck, and pictures from the evening. Enjoy!
One CoreGroup One Day
Also, as you know, 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.You get to create and host them! Click here to Host a Summer Hang.

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