God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Why We Don’t Need Church Media

It’s not a typo. The title of this post is both on purpose and blatantly in our faces as purveyors of media in The Church.

The Church is not MTV. The Church is not ESPN. The Church is not Sony Records. The Church is not the latest and greatest and coolest piece of technology to come around.

If The Church isn’t any of these things, then why are we trying to be them?

Our Challenge

Q: Why do we need 50″ flat screens for those in the back?
A: We need it because we must entertain and keep the attention of the masses.

Q: Why do we require HD-everything just to give a talk?
A: We need all of that stuff to be relevant to a generation that is inundated constantly.

Our greatest challenge today is not the currentness of our set lists; it’s not the smoothness of our transitions; it’s not our faux-hawks, designer jeans, faded t-shirts and vintage sneakers.

Our challenge is the same as it was 2,000 years ago: to go and make disciples (not fans) and baptize (not entertain).

If our goal is to entertain, we’ve become nothing more than our enemy’s pawn.

If relevance is topping our priority list then we need to throw the list out.

We have made the gross error of entertaining rather than engaging. This is true because as soon as we stop entertaining, we leave. The minute the music stops and the light show is over or the instant we’ve been there and done that we move on. Sometimes physically, but more often the travel occurs solely in our minds. We check out.

The same is true of our attempt to be relevant. This is pure hocus-pocus. How can we continue to justify making a holy God relevant to anything. He is God. He is holy. He cannot and will not be relevant.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Entertainment vs. Engagment

Entertainment seeks itself. It is by definition self-glorification. Entertainment in The Church is nothing more than spiritual masturbation.

Engagement is quite the opposite. Engagement washed the disciples feet. Engagement gave sight to the blind, sound to the deaf, voices to the mute, strength to the weak, freedom to the possessed, healing to the sick. Engagement is a fight.

Relevant vs. Real

Relevance demands to be appropriate. Appropriate for who? Relevance is smoke and mirrors.

Realness is Truth. Real has no imitation. Real is without filler, void of pulled-punches, and to the point.

Where do we go from here?

Our first step must be one of reckless abandon to Jesus. We must admit that the only way that hearts are changed is by Him. We must remove ourselves from our self-enthroned place and put Him in it.

Abandon our media department? Yes, especially if the only talk after a service is of the entertainment and relevant values in it, and not of the life changing and genuine encounter with God that just happened.

There is a place for media in The Church, but if that media becomes ultimate we are only serving ourselves.
Let’s stop being something we’re not and start being that which we are called to.

What do you think? Is your media in it’s place?

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  1. Matthew Snider (Reply) on September 29th, 2010

    A great post Nick, and some awesome questions. I think most of what you said is true about Media and society making us “need it”

  2. Brad Zimmerman (Reply) on September 29th, 2010

    Amen, I think this speaks to what many refuse to talk about, and the few that are talking about won’t give it all up because it is to costly.

    We all need to step back and say, “Why are we doing this?, What resources does it “REALLY” take to do this?”

  3. Andre' Barnes (Reply) on September 29th, 2010

    Wow. Thanks Nick. You are making me think about a couple of things myself.

  4. Eric Murrell (Reply) on September 29th, 2010

    I think it’s all about the focus, intent and stewardship. Are we baiting the hook with Jesus, or just selling a bunch of cool-looking, feel-good fluff? Like you mentioned, are we building disciples and people that are chasing after Jesus, or attendees craving just the spiritual “experience”?

    To be fair, I think that the best way for us to be good stewards with our resources (in our culture at least), IS to take advantage of technology. Although it’s considered glitzier, it’s much more cost effective for us to interact with folks via our website, mobile web app and Facebook page than it was for us 12 years ago through just mailers and flyers.

    I think it’s a balance between communicating the right things and steering our flocks to a radical relationship with the living God instead of just a weekly show.

  5. Eric Granata (Reply) on September 29th, 2010

    That’s good medicine, Nick. As Brad pointed out, if we paid more attention to the resources it takes to ‘entertain,’ would we be proud of the decisions we’ve made? Could the $15k spent on a better projector be spent on something else that would have more long-term impact?

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