Stop Playing God

Tim Balow
October 15th, 2018

I can hardly wait for this year’s National Youth Worker’s Convention!

Great Speakers.
Great Information.
Great People.
It is…you know…going to be great!

God has a way of using “conference moments” to spontaneously, drastically and instantly changing the way we look at our life and ministry.  Let me tell you about one of my conference moments.

Mark Matlock, long time youth minister and one-time Executive Director of Youth Specialties, keynoted a night of a conference I was attending.   He had a perspective on social media I had never considered.  He likened our obsession with our connections to media (social and otherwise) as an attempt to be omnipresent.  Since God is the only one with omnipresent capabilities, we end up stressed, burdened and unable to be fully present in any of our contexts. We are not built or intended to be omnipresent. So, if we want be fully present with our God, spouse, family and friends we need to stop playing God!

Yes, I know.  It hit me as well.  I never considered an obsession with social media as an attempt to claim an attribute of God.  I am, we, are not that important that a night without posting and checking would stop the Earth’s rotation.  Deep inside, all of us know that a night without posting and checking would create much needed breath and space in our already busy and crowded lives.  A breath and space that would allow us to be fully present.

Take this little quiz (totally made up and unscientific-but it helps evaluate your level of media obsession) to see if you are Playing God:

  • Do you ever power down your phone and media devices? Related, can you leave your phone or media devices off at night?
  • Do you check your phone and media devices during meal times?
  • Do you share too many moments or too much information via phone and media devices-in other words, you are often guilty of TMI? (This is a question best answered by a spouse or friend because those who share too much can’t see the problem)
  • Do you reach for your phone every time you hear a ring tone (whether it is your tone or not)?
  • Do you check your phone or media device when in conversation with others?

If by answering these questions you have discovered you are trying to live the life of a god, the answer is simple (I did not say easy): Power Down and Live in the Present.

Power Down. This is self-explanatory. Find the off switch more often.

Live in the Present.  Practically, live more in the present and share less online!  Watch and consider this moment from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  A moment that ends Walter’s adventure filled journey to find a famed photographer (Sean Penn) who Walter (Ben Stiller) finds patiently waiting to snap a picture of an allusive snow leopard. Ghost Cat Scene. Incredible scene, the Snow Leopard appears and the photographer did not take the picture.  Why?  (Paraphrased) Some moments are best experienced and not shared.

Stop Playing God.  Power Down and Live in the Present.   

See you in St. Louis for NYWC 2018!  We are praying for and believing that God has a “Conference Moment” waiting for you!


Tim Balow

Youth Specialties exists to elevate the role of youth ministry and the youth worker to grow the faith of the next generation.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.