Ok, I’ll be straight up. There are things that my kids enjoy, are into or watch that I simply am not into. In fact some of it I don’t get and am completely not interested in. But, my kids and the kids in my church need me to do what I can become a student of pop culture.
What is pop culture? Merriam-Webster, surprisingly, doesn’t show a definition for pop culture, but this is what Wikipedia.org says: “pop culture is the entirety of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, images, and other phenomena that are within the mainstream of a given culture.” (I know. It’s not a reliable source, but it’s the best I have. LOL) Basically the “pop” in pop culture is short for popular. So, it is everything that is popular in a given culture. As a parent and children’s minister that means everything that is popular in the culture of children.
Ok, but why should I care? There are a number of reasons why we should make ourselves a student of pop culture. Let’s take a look at some of them.
To connect with kids. When a missionary moves to a new area he or she seeks to learn the culture of that area. This allows them to better connect with the people they are trying to reach. The same is true when we learn the culture of children. It will allow us to better connect with them so that we can have the opportunity to speak into their lives.
To better be able to speak into the lives of children. Connecting with them gives us the opportunity to speak into their lives. Becoming a student of pop culture can help us do that even better. When you use an example from a game or show that your kids are into when teaching, you will be amazed at how quickly they plug in.
Equip parents. Parents are busy. Perhaps busier than ever before. There are also many more threats in pop culture than ever before in our society. These two facts combine to mean that many parents are painfully unaware of what these threats are and what they can or should do about them. As parents I believe we all have a responsibility to learn what we can about these potential threats. As a children’s ministry leader we can help parents by doing some of the research for them. Learn what you can and then help the parents in your church learn it to.
Pop culture changes quickly. My kids are 7 years apart. The things that my 13-year-old son was into when he was little barely even exist any more and the things that my 6-year-old daughter is into didn’t exist when my son was little. Pop culture changes quickly. For this reason we must constantly be seeking to learn about what is popular now. It’s a never-ending process, but the results of doing it are worth it. Likewise, the possible consequences of NOT doing it are more than I’m willing to risk.
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