Friday, September 23, 2011
A Brave New World
Most of us understand the power of today’s media and its ability to influence and shape public opinions and perspectives. But how has the Christian church dealt with the issue of media in a ever changing world?
As the Internet became more popular, content was repositioned to be used online for other purposes. Today we’ve seen a major shift thanks to Sherwood Baptist in Albany, Georgia, more churches are moving into feature film production. We all know about the success of Facing the Giants and Fireproof. It seems like now everyone wants a little Hollywood. But is this a good model for outreach? Alex Kendrick, the producer of both films, would probably tell you that his films are aimed primary at a Christian audience. In other words, he’s preaching to the choir.
However, there is another strategy that most churches are probably unaware of. As I have said countless times on my blog, we live in a visual society. Images now define our reality and drive our behaviors and worldview. As a result, I believe in empowering every member of the church in the new brave world that we face. It’s not enough that a few key media professionals who work in the Church create and distribute all of the content. Today, we all must become visual storytellers. We now have the technology that everyone can become a content provider. Think about it. What if the majority of the church congregation were using social media, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, YouTube and Vimeo to communicate Biblical principles to their friends and family? Is that possible? Absolutely. In fact, it’s the future.
What if the Church embraced the same strategy and saw the congregation as a creator and distributor of media content that help to reinforce the message of the Church? Where would you start? First you would have to make this a priority by communicating the importance of visual storytelling to every member of the church. You would need someone to direct the program, probably someone already on your media team. Second, you would need to create content as well as video elements, templates, graphics, and web pages the congregation would have access to as a resource. And finally and perhaps more important you would have to provide training. I can see a course on Social Media and Facebook 101. Churches that embrace this new strategy will be well positioned for growth in the future. It’s cutting edge. It’s the direction our culture is headed.
Everybody will become a content provider. The truth is the Church can no longer afford to be behind the times. In this new brave world, that’s no longer an option. We must embrace change, not to change the message, but how we deliver it.