Power to the Pews: We’re All Content Creators

Power to the Pews: We’re All Content Creators

May 31, 2012 by

This is part eight in our series on guerrilla church marketing, Power to the Pews.

I went to an event recently that talked about how communication has changed dramatically due to the social media phenomenon and other factors. No real surprise there, but the specifics were pretty interesting. What I took away from it was how much everyday people in the world, versus official newscasters, reporters and local authorities, are now the ones responsible for the news. The guy who led our conference showed a picture of the US Airways plane landing on the Hudson River in 2009, which was the first picture of the event and the first time the world became aware of the near-miracle. Then he talked about the recent Super Bowl when fans weren’t relying on their usual commentators for information; they were running their own play-by-play over Twitter.

In both of these instances, major news wasn’t initially broadcast on the 6 o’clock news only for people to talk about it at the dinner table that night. No, something happened, and then someone took a picture of it or said something about it, for all the world to see. From there, as many people who were interested then reacted, commented and made it major news.

I was totally intrigued by this guy’s presentation, nodding my head and thinking to myself, “Wow, yeah, I guess that’s right… crazy!” Meanwhile, the guy who sat across the table from me was in no way moved. “Duh,” it turns out, was what was on his mind. He shared how he’s technically the “authority” of high school sports, working as an ESPN high school sports reporter, but his job is in no way about telling the world what happened at such-and-such football game the way it would have been had he had the job only five years ago. Day in, day out, he converses with thousands of sports fanatics over live chats and Twitter. He talks high school sports; he doesn’t really report on them anymore.

If you think about it, the same is true in the worlds of fashion trends, popular T.V. shows, politics and more. People don’t want to be told what’s going on anymore; they want to be a part of the conversation. They want to talk too.

I wonder what all this says to us in the church. What’s our role in conversing with people? Do we ignore the “ways of the world,” demanding that they listen to “authority,” or do we embrace and follow a new model with the hopes that people might engage with their faith in a new way? I think there’s great potential in doing a little bit of both.

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Erin Williams

Erin Williams loves to write for the church and individual Christians within it. She lives in a fun yellow house in Dallas and enjoys family, friendship, working hard, food and wine, fitness, coffee and ranches.
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2 Responses to “Power to the Pews: We’re All Content Creators”

  • Adam Ranck
    May 31, 2012

    Some initial thoughts I have is that every local church is responsible for this individually based off who is within their community and who they are serving. Ideas and opinions will be shared within a community for sure, but it’s how they are shared that will be different among each community (in person, Internet, phone, forums, videos, potluck lunches).

    Some more specific ways local churches allow conversation, sharing ideas, and participation have been in “small groups” or “life groups” where people share with one another and there is conversation. Sunday School classes, youth groups, and any smaller group outside of what we call the “Sunday Worship Gathering” often allows conversation and everyone has a say in the topics, though it may be guided.

    I’ve also seen local churches ask verbally or used twitter and texting during services and gatherings to ask questions, share thoughts, or go deeper on a taught or discussed topic.

    And also some local churches have people personally share testimonies, experiences, or scripture during large gatherings so people hear from each other and God is glorified through each other’s worship and honesty.

    A question may be how much should we allow this since I feel it does happen within local churches. It just may not happen in ways we think or want. But there definitely needs to be authority, because not everything everyone says is true or beneficial. And so some conversing may be better in different environments (one on one with a leader or small group or trusted friends) but people should always be able to ask questions and share their heart so we can grow together and learn together.

    Do you feel some local churches do well with allowing conversing and conversations among each other and leadership?

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  • Lauren Smith
    June 1, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on being relevant. These are excellent examples and I completely agree we need to stay current with the trends in order to reach the masses. I just finished a great book on this entitled, The iChurch Method: How to Advance Your Ministry Online, by Jason Caston, which helps churches get on board and up to date with social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I highly recommend this one for any ministry looking to grow their outreach. http://www.theichurchmethod.com/

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