Is your time in the Bible and your time with a screen in the proper proportions? The contrast can be embarrassing and convicting.
By Chuck Peters
Your phone is an amazing device that you’ve completely and totally come to take for granted.
There’s more processing power in your smartphone than NASA had in all of Houston when they launched the Apollo missions. It’s a camera, a computer, a web portal, a video recorder, a music and podcast player, a step tracker, a TV, an app operator, a calendar, and, lest we forget—a phone!
Whether you’re checking your social feeds, texting a friend, answering an email, or ordering something from Amazon, your phone is likely the first thing you reach for in the morning and the last thing you put down at night.Only about 1 in 3 U.S. Protestant churchgoers read the Bible every day. Evangelicals are twice as likely to check Facebook today than read their Bible. Click To Tweet
We carry our phones everywhere. Always. There’s an addictive aspect to them. Behavioral scientists tell us we get a dopamine rush every time our phones ping and ring and chime with social likes and message alerts.
We panic when we can’t find our phones. There’s a psychological condition associated with the fear of losing your phone or not having connectivity: ‘nomophobia,’ which is an abbreviation of “NO MObile PHone phoBIA.” Yep. It’s an actual thing.
Studies tell us the average person touches their phone 2,617 times per day. That’s a lot more than I’d like to believe.
Titus Before TikTok
Like our phones, our Bibles are an astounding and powerful resource we’ve come to take for granted. But unlike our phones, we don’t seem to be nearly as attached to them or concerned when we can’t find them and lose our connection.
As I evaluate my own habits, I have to admit my time in the Bible and my time with a screen aren’t in the proper proportion. The contrast is embarrassing and convicting. Studies from Lifeway Research indicate that it’s not just me. Evangelicals are twice as likely to check Facebook today than read their Bible. Only about 1 in 3 Protestant churchgoers read the Bible every day. That’s a lot less than I’d like to believe.
Church leaders, we have to fix this.
What if we, as ministry leaders and influencers, were determined to defy that trend and faithfully spend time in the Bible? What if we carried, accessed, and referenced our Bibles throughout the day like we do our phones? How might we think differently? Walk differently? Talk differently? See differently? React differently?Let this summer be the season where your Bible replaces your phone as the ‘first’ and ‘last’ of your days. — @_chuckpeters Click To Tweet
This summer, as you take steps to review, revamp, and refocus your ministry in preparation for fall, I’m challenging you to make active and intentional decisions to place Scripture before screens—in your own life, for the volunteers who you lead, and for the kids, students, and families you serve. Challenge yourself (and all of them) to open a physical, paper Bible. Highlight things and make notes on the pages in your own handwriting.
May we be people who read Timothy before Twitter, Philemon before Facebook, Titus before TikTok. Let this summer be the season where your Bible replaces your phone as the ‘first’ and ‘last’ of your days.
Chuck is the director of Lifeway Kids and co-author of Flip the Script: Disrupting Tradition for the Sake of the Next Generation. Before his role at Lifeway, Chuck had a prolific career in television and video production. He is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer, director, writer, and on-screen talent. A graduate of Columbia Bible College, Chuck, and his wife, Cris, have served in student and children’s ministry for many years.