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Making connections is super important for our high school youth group. In fact, building a community is a fundamental reason for having a youth group at all, and it is really important to build a culture of intentionality on Sunday nights. That's why we're not going to use our cell phones during XL.

Last fall, we spent time in the scriptures looking at the early Christian Church, and we saw there what we want our community to look like. In particular, we want XL to be an intentionally inclusive space; a place where everyone can come and feel welcomed and included in the fun, and a place where we can sit and really be with each other. Toward that end, we thought it would be a good idea to put away our phones.

Our students are actually really good about not being glued to their phones when we gather together, so this isn't a reaction or a punishment, but an intentional step toward deeper community. Physically putting all of our phones in a safe place is a powerful symbol of our commitment to being together at XL. It says to each other that connecting on Sunday night is important enough for us to disconnect from text messages, phone calls, and social media. 

And so we've all agreed, leaders and students, to put our cell phones in a basket when we get to XL on Sundays. During the evening, the basket will go into a safe place so they are not disturbed. As we talked about with the students on Sunday, it is not okay to take or mess with anyone else's phones when we go to collect them after XL. Hopefully, this will help students to not be anxious about leaving their phones for a few hours. We gave it a trial run this past Sunday, and, from my perspective, it was a great success. As the weeks go on, I'm sure this will become a natural part of the flow of our nights.

That does mean, however, that communicating with your student during youth group will be more difficult. So, if you have an emergency or need to convey ride information to your student, feel free to call or send a text message to me (send me a message if you need my phone number). My phone will be on me the whole night. Alternatively, you can call the church office's phone, at (508) 226-6221.

Please contact me with any questions or comments you may have. I'm committed to crafting a wonderful, fun, and inclusive experience for our high schoolers, and you all are important in that effort. Awesome things are happening, and I'm excited about the future!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Chris

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