If you haven’t read the prior articles in this series, it might be helpful to review to give you some context.  This is a continuation flushing out the E.P.I.C. generation acronym.  (Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich, Connected).  The goal is to be intentional with the time we spend with students (or anyone for that matter) so we can maximize the impact we have in their lives.  Jesus was an EPIC intentional teacher and maybe as you read this you’ll recall some ways He engaged His disciples through connectedness in his teachings.

C- Connected

It’s the Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat connected generation, since birth.  Being “connected” describes shared experiences amongst students, even digitally.  Generation Y and Z have grown up in a digitally connected world that has allowed them to read, see, and hear the thoughts, emotions, and opinions of their peers from around the world.  Utilizing learning through connectedness means creating opportunities for learning to be communal, shared, and then personally applied.  Students are much more inclined to listen when they see the connection their learning has on their place in the world and on the people around them.  Our challenge is to create the space and time for them to discuss and connect the learning practically with their personal lives as well as hear others do the same.  Allowing students the space to hear from one another about unique personal application cements new learning in their minds.

What Does this Look Like?

Implementation for a Sunday gathering, Missional Community, or DNA Group:

Action Plans – As part of the closing; ask students to share what was the most impactful thing they learned and how they want to respond to it in real life.  Have them take a moment to write and discuss 1 or 2 action plans with you and each other. An action plan can be simply completing the sentence: “I plan to …” and saying/writing what they plan to do with what they’ve learned. The action plan becomes the learner’s commitment to himself/herself to use what has been learned.

Catch the subtle difference; many people make action plans but students today are uniquely more motivated when their action plans are shared and heard in a connected way with each other.

Processing new learning “connections” verbally to others in the group allows students who may have had trouble making the personal connections can hear how to take action.

Opportunities for parents:

From Tim Elmore at Growing leaders “In our home and also in the homes of countless friends of mine, we initiated a little exercise from time to time. We would have our kids watch the news at night, and choose one story about a problem. (Most news broadcasts are filled with problem stories). Then, together the kids would determine what plan of action they would take if they were in charge of solving that problem. It was invigorating…and transformed attitudes from complaining to solution-finding.”

Tim’s example above is more than just information retention, it’s about growing into healthy adults who think critically and are open to feedback.

Reflection and action-oriented questions:

(Answer to your specific student context)

  1. What concept from the above article did you feel could be immediately impactful for the students you work with?
  2. What’s your next step? “I plan to…”
  3. How could you adjust what you’re currently doing with students to increase the connection to their current life issues?
  4. What could you adjust in your time with students that would increase the level of connection they have with each other?
  5. Are there any inhibitors to your students growing in connectedness? How could you decrease or remove those?  If this is a blind spot – which of your students would give you the most honest feedback about these types of things?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and that it is blessing to you and your time with students.  If you work with students often you’ll love the conversation I had with Author Andrew McPeak from Growing Leaders.  You can listen HERE

How does the reminder of “connectedness” impact the way you approach student discipleship?

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