Welcome to Season Two of the Thought Factory Podcast! In today's episode, hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer discusses the topic of fear in students' lives. Fear surrounds us and our culture is driven by fear. There is a lot of money in fear. And some fears are real and justified. But fear can also be apparent and rampant in the minds of the students who are a part of the body of Christ. We discuss where students experience the most fear, how often they experience feelings of fear, and what they fear the most. Are we helping students understand fear and how to grow in faith by confronting fear? Are we taking the time to explain to students the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives when we are faced with any type of fear?
This episode is a live recording of an event that our organization did on December 1, 2016, called “Generations.” Many of you have joined our listening audience, and if you are interested in the background of our sponsoring organization, Never The Same, you can listen in and hear our miraculous story. We are a national youth ministry organization that just celebrated our 7 year anniversary. What you will hear on this episode is our past, present, and future where Jeff Eckart, the founder, will share some stories of what God has done and where God is leading us into the future. Find out more about our organization at NeverTheSame.org.
Does Star Wars matter to students? Do they even care about something that started nearly 40 years ago? In a world that is so splintered, how does something that has crossed the generational lines have an impact on students today? Hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer discuss Star Wars's staying power that has shaped student culture. They also interview a founder of TheForce.net, one of the most popular Star Wars fan website, Josh Griffin.
Social media can be a guessing game when it comes to parents and their children's use or youth worker and their students in a ministry context. At times it can feel like we are at battle with each other, taking shots from opposing sides instead of playing this game alongside each other. Guidelines only assist us so we can all be better together. We want to provide guidelines and suggestions, but parents and youth workers should also ask the question - do these guidelines apply to me as well? - before immediately applying them to our students and kids.
Hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer interview Dr. Craig Detweiler. Craig is a media professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, filmmaker, and author of iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives. What does it mean to hand over a smartphone, a very powerful device, to an adolescent when there is not an owner's manual that accompanies it? We discuss Craig's in-depth research in media and adolescents' relationship to social media, so we can have a better handle on how we can disciple students.
Hosts Jeff Eckart and Jayson Brewer interview Phil Joel from Zealand Worship. Phil is the former bassist for the band Newsboys and he talks about his personal approach to social media as well as his current band's approach to social media. The automatic assumption these days is that if you're going to have any presence in the world, you need social media. But, how can we keep our head's up and see the needs of others when we are so worried about ourselves and about what is going on in other people’s lives?
Social media affects all of us whether we like it or not. It’s not a fad or a trend, that will eventually go away like acid-washed jeans and jelly shoes. What if we could get inside the minds of students to hear directly from them about what they think of it, how they use it, how it is affecting their world, their culture, our world, and our culture? Social media has its advantages and disadvantages. It can be used for good or evil. There are plenty of digital platforms for a student to display what is on their mind and what is going on in their world at a moment. But, when we deal with the root cause of an issue and not the symptom, we can begin to better assist students in navigating the world they live in, especially on social media.
We place a lot of importance on seeing students being spiritually healthy, but there appears to be a lack of discussion on the topic of physical health in the circles of youth ministry and the church in general. Is food a key component to our obedience to God? Should food have more of a central role in our relationship with Jesus? Are we adequately addressing the issue of "physical health" with the students we lead?
We asked thousands of students questions about the topic of politics to see if it's important to them and where their level of interest is about the current political environment. We also interviewed a number of students from around the country about their views and opinions in regards to politics, so we can listen to some of their responses. But the answer to one question that stuck out the most was to this question, "What do you believe is the best solution to today's problems?"