I figured I’d post about something I’m really, truly passionate about, and get my thoughts and feelings out there. This subject is also the reason I blog, so referencing it at least once would probably be a good idea. 😉
We live in a culture that is thriving on social media. Our thoughts are on Facebook, our ideas on Twitter, and somewhere in the mix, we’re meant to find church. How can we do that if so many in the Church are failing to recognize the true importance of media? Our congregants are tech-hungry, they’re socially hungry too. So how do we implement media into the Church? I’ll tell you, it really is more than a couple of projectors and a different color of paper for your 16-page bulletins(shudder).
Have you ever thought closely on the word, “media”? What’s a word that sounds similar to it? Medium. Media is but another medium to tell the Story. We shouldn’t be frightened or stubborn about finding other means to tell the story, because if you only tell it one way, you’ll only get the group of people that understand the way you’re telling it. On my Pre AP Algebra 2 teacher’s wall my Junior year, there was a typical motivational poster, the only thing different about this particular poster is the moment I read it, I understood immediately that this was applicable to the Church in today’s society. It read: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” If we as the Church continued without trying to use media to reach out to this society, how can we ever say that we’ve done everything in our power to do the one task given to us by God?
The youth minister at our church recently gave me Shane Hipps’ “The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture”, and so far, I’ve found it to be one of the most thought-provoking and unbiased church media books I’ve read (Now, I’d like to point out that I have Blaine Hogan’s UNTITLED and Gary Molander’s Pursuing Christ Creating Art in my book cue, both of which I heard trump every book I’ve ever read in existence, so this is bound to be updated in the next couple of weeks.) There are very few people that have been able to accurately pinpoint the pros and cons of media in the Church, and he is at the top of the list. In my opinion, everything has the ability to be both good and evil, everything can be taken out of context, and so I find it pointless to feel this way about church media when the exact same things can be said about cooking, driving and the Bible.
Yeah, you read my words. The Bible. In different religions, the Bible can be seen as false and unacceptable, teaching false ideologies and more. Also, there are specific “Christian” sects that have taken the Bible completely out of context in order to push themselves to the front of the line in God’s eyes, or so they think(Seriously, if you didn’t pick up on that, just Google “Westboro Baptist Church”). Churches using media can be seen in the same 2 viewpoints. Some may think that the Church is falling into secular stereotypes to copycat, and some think that the negative powers of social media outweigh the benefits of it, and if the Church starts using social media, it very well be the end of the Church altogether.
We can’t think that the above two thought-processes are the only solution. There can’t be simply black and white to this situation. We have to realize that some of the technologies available to us today are applicable in the Church community and if we don’t utilize them we’ll end up being like the old man(or lady, depending on your thoughts on the gender of the Church) sitting on the front porch with a shotgun and a glass of lemonade and anyone who enters his/her property with different beliefs is shot down immediately(I really hope you get that this is a metaphor and that the Church would never physically shoot someone…..).
The Church must constantly strive to tell it’s Story creatively, and if that involves using media to do it, why not? Why hold back? Even if it impacts only 1 person, why keep yourself from impacting that person? When I think about different ways to convey the message of a particular event, even if it’s not the greatest quantity of people to convey it to, I still find a way to get them involved. We are always on the cusp of something life changing, and as Creatives it’s our duty to take the Church to the next step. Your biggest fight won’t be budget, it’ll be getting the unwilling to accept newness and change in the way things are done in your church.
Take my grandmother, for instance. Love her to death, but she and I have completely different views on media in our church. Well, actually, we differ on any change in our church. Anyway…. Last night our contemporary service came up in conversation. I happen to have very intimate feelings about our contemporary service, it’s always on my mind, I’m always thinking of ways to make it better, and I care for it deeply. It’s not that I dislike the other services at our church, I’m just partial to this one. She, on the other hand, hates it. She calls it the “LaLa service” and thinks it should just disappear. Our contemporary service is the only thing I have gotten terse with her about and it’s probably one of the few things in her lifetime I’ll defend to the end. If you have people like this in your church, you totally know what I’m talking about. If you think you don’t, you do, and you just haven’t met them yet. If we only ever had a liturgical service, we’d never reach the people who want contemporary worship and we’d have a much smaller congregation size. We would never progress, we’d remain in the liturgical era. We need to break the barrier between the lits and contemps, and I mentioned this in a previous post, but this isn’t just applicable to worship styles, it’s imperative that this happens in the way we do print, worship, graphic and web design. If we constantly have to tame our creativity to please the crowd who won’t appreciate it anyway, we’ve lost the point of creativity completely. Not that I’m complaining about taming my work, it’s just I’d rather have to tame my work for an audience that thinks creativity matters in some way. When I have to tame my work to please those who don’t find my job or my calling important, I think we’ve lost sense of why I was brought on board in the first place. If you’re feeling the same way, how have you overcome this? How do you push the limits?
And that, friends, is the only question of creativity.