idea spotlight banner preceding student cell phone basket idea description and tips

This week’s idea spotlight is from Wes Buckley, Student Pastor at Truro Anglican Church in Fairfax, VA. Student cell phone use can be a distraction and barrier to relationship building during youth group time. The Cell Phone Basket is a simple but effective technique to encourage students to voluntarily take time away from their phones while they’re at youth group!

Student Cell Phone Basket Technique Description:

At the beginning of the night, set out a large container; this could be a basket, a bucket, a storage cube, or any other containers you have on hand (feel free to get creative). As students walk in, give them the option to check in their phones, which are then placed in the designated container.

As the night progresses, choose a time to draw one student’s phone out of the bucket. Whoever’s phone is chosen wins a prize! Students are able to pick up their phones at the end of the program.

Student Cell Phone Basket Tips:

1) Choose Prizes With Your Audience in Mind

Because this method allows students to choose whether or not they want to participate, they will naturally weigh the costs and benefits of giving up access to their phones. Choose prizes that will be attractive to the groups of students that you really want to encourage to participate.

Prizes could include:

  • Event registration discounts
  • T-shirts
  • Gift Cards
  • Free food or drinks from your cafe (if applicable)
  • So much more (again, this is a great time to get creative)!

2) Don’t Plan on Incentivizing Participation Forever

The goal of giving away prizes to students is to encourage initial buy-in as you work toward shifting the culture of your youth ministry. As students begin to realize that they actually enjoy the night better without their phones, student cell phone use during your program will naturally decline and you can begin to transition away from doing giveaways.

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