Engaging Culture

The Future Of The Church

Steven Siwek and the team from Glory Unlimited did an interview with me on media, culture, and the future of the Church.   I’d love to know what you think:

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  1. The only piece I disagree with is the idea that without “production value” you’re “ultimately going to fail”. One of the more troubling aspects of christian media is how all the substandard shows just keep living on. Not because they’re good. But because they’re just good (popular, profitable, etc) enough that the producers look at that as a confirmation that they should keep making more of the same.

    1. I don’t think that conflicts with my point Scott. I don’t consider “substandard” shows a success – even if they get a lot of viewers. They might make a profit, but they don’t impact culture in the way I’m talking about.
      But it’s a good point of discussion!

      1. Yes you worded it much better. You and I might look at something and say “Wow, that’s not good.” But because the content is still consumed widely enough. They keep making more of it. So in “their” mind , they have an absolute success. And so the consumption is what actually drives the continuation of production instead of it’s ability to impact culture.

        1. …and that’s a REAL problem in Christian media. Because people “in the Christian bubble” like it, the producers keep making it, no matter how lousy the production value or lack of impact.

  2. I loved it! Really challenging and well put. One thing I noticed from the first time I went to an NRB conference is that there has been some confusion over the difference between “broadcast media” and what’s become known as “church media”, which is the in-house stuff. Circa 1999 I went to NRB and no one there could fathom that I helped churches learn how to do in-house production without being on TV – or even having cameras in the room. “And then they broadcast it?” would be the response. “No – they just show it in-house.” I repeatedly got a blank response. These days NRB has a specific “Church Media” track for that kind of thing. But so much has changed where, as you said, kids can create some amazing stuff – and yet the in-house production value is still stuck in the 90’s. So many churches can’t produce something that is broadcast-worthy (even though many think they are). And the smaller churches who wouldn’t even think of being on TV are still settling for mediocre in-house production even though they have finally, albeit slowly, accepted visual technology into their “sanctuaries”. So, where is the line between broadcast-quality storytelling, like you produce – and what your average church *could* produce for in-house use while taking into account its limited time and resources? Or do you think it’s a blurred line at this point? Should smaller churches even try? Maybe the “church media” side of production needs a reboot? I honestly don’t know. I’d love to get your perspective because I’ve seen people in NRB circles go through a “process” of realizing that not everything has to go out over the air. You’ve probably seen that process more clearly being in the position you’re in. How has your perspective changed over the years? You seem to see the big picture – pun intended. I’m interested in knowing how you’ve evolved to where you are now and if your contemporaries have followed suit.

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