I just came across an article entitled, “I Want It Now! The Fierce Urgency of Videogaming’s Future.” The article identified a key characteristic of today’s video game consumer: impatience.  Ever heard of Farmville?  The insanely popular Facebook game’s chief game designer recently pinpointed that many gamers lose interest in a game because the game takes too long to load.  Take a guess about how long Farmville takes to load….

Six seconds.

That’s it.

Here’s a quote from the article by Stephen Wadsworth, Disney’s President of Interactive Media Group: “The 20th-century notion of waiting around to watch shows when they air on television, or saving up to buy CDs, is quickly becoming antiquated as technology makes it easy to consume movies, TV and music on demand. As game development and distribution methods evolve, the same trends are changing the way the videogame industry works.”

Hang around a kid with Internet access and try explaining an old movie to them.  See how long it takes for them to tune you out and look up the movie on YouTube.  They want everything right now.

Here are a couple other highlights from the article:

  • Close to half of children’s television is either time-shifted (through the use of a DVR) or done on a mobile device.
  • While kids are happy to come to (Disneyland) and spend hours in line for Space Mountain, they’ve got a very short threshold when it comes to interactive media.

So kids are impatient, is this really a digital characteristic?  When they start getting impatient after waiting six seconds because they can find something (or anything) in three seconds online, then yes – it is a digital characteristic.  Here are three suggestions Wadsworth offered as a way to engage today’s digital audience (an audience he describes as “never unconnected“):

  • Timelessness of story – is the story and its characters real, engaging, and powerful?  Will they last?
  • Timelessness of technology – Is the world and environment where the story is set, believable?  Is it a world where discoveries can be made?  Is it a world where choices can be made?
  • Shared experiences – Walt Disney believe in the power of an experience shared with other people, so he created the Disney theme parks.  Does the experience isolate people or draw them into sharing with others?

I think children’s and family ministry can certainly learn from these three suggestions and be confident that the Bible is not innately something that creates boredom.  It is the quintessential story of salvation history.  The Bible is the story of our God, the one who made us,  saves us, loves us, heals us, and redeems us.  It’s characters aren’t really characters; they are people who lived.  But how can we harness the power of shared experiences using God’s Word?  Thoughts/Ideas?