Churches as a Media Platform

March 18, 2008 by

Veggie Tales founder Phil Vischer has been blogging about his big dreams for his new company, Jellyfish (if you’re not familiar with Vischer’s departure from Big Idea, you should read his book, Me, Myself & Bob: A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables). So far he’s blogged about two problems:

  • Problem #1 – we need to raise a generation of Christians who know what it means to live out the Gospel.”
  • Problem #2 – Christian kids media is dying for lack of a platform.”

He’s gone on to talk about a platform to address these problems, which he called the “world’s smallest TV network.” God speed, Phil.

But I’ve got another idea: Why can’t the church be the platform?

We’ve talked before about the need for churches to create their own online video. And I think it could be an answer to the dilemma Vischer presents. Churches are a ready-made platform. Some churches have already embraced that role with the movie Facing the Giants.

Imagine walking into churches across the country and finding top-notch entertainment that helped people figure out what it means to live the gospel. Our culture thrives on entertainment, so let’s use the church to create some entertainment that’s more than mere entertainment.

Combine the loosely organized network of churches across the country with creative Christian writers/filmmakers/musicians/etc. and you’ve got a potential answer to Vischer’s #1 problem.

We don’t need more Christian businesses. We don’t need more Christian channels. We don’t need more Christian sub-culture. Let’s use what we’ve got and create something cool and life-changing. Let’s show the world how innovative the church can be.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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7 Responses to “Churches as a Media Platform”

  • Art
    March 18, 2008

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Let’s quit making Christian crap and be Christians making artistic excellence.

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  • MarketingTwins-Randy
    March 18, 2008

    I think you’re on the right track. Facing the Giants was great – but it still lacked the quality to reach the mainstream nonbeliever. But if you are targeting Christian kids, then it has a strong place!
    I’m not sure what you mean by “we don’t need more Christan businesses.” ? If you mean that a Christian business acts as a sub-culture, then I do agree. Let’s just be whoever we are (business owners, artists, etc…) and let our life demonstrate the gospel without having to categorize it as such.

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  • Tom Atkins
    March 19, 2008

    Good thoughts. I featured this on a recent blog entry.

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  • Joel Zehring
    March 19, 2008

    Certainly, there’s no harm in more Christian media (as long as it doesn’t suck). However, it feels kind of 90’s.
    Jesus seems to use people to advance his kingdom, not culture. Our church has a terrific children’s ministry, and the first thing on their wish list is not curriculum. They need committed adults to show up and love-lead children.

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  • Peter
    March 19, 2008

    Concern #1 – Christian media that isn’t poorly done.
    Concern #2 – Conflicts of interest. e.g. I don’t want [insert denomination, church, etc. here] using this media because [they’re heathens, they don’t preach the gospel, I don’t like the color of their carpet, etc]
    Concern #3 – Ties in a little with the above: Churches don’t cooperate for the most part. We’ve lost the attitude of different people doing different work, all for God’s glory. If Church XYZ puts out something great, they often want to receive the fruits for that and not see people going to church ZYX who did very little to help the project.
    I agree with the general concept. Our (Western) world is consumed by entertainment. If we can engage people in their leisure time, we can get to know them and share with them. If our leisure activities never overlap, then we won’t ever see them. That kind of implies that we can produce that quality entertainment that people want to experience – excellence in whatever we do. If someone attends a local church drama and it’s poorly done, they won’t want to come back. However if someone attends a drama that’s well done (even if it’s “secular”), they will be intrigued.
    Look at artists through the ages – the great Christian artists did their work for God’s glory, but it was stuff that could be appreciated by all. I think that’s what we need to regain.
    Personally, I am looking forward to what Phil has in store. I tend to agree with him, especially after talking with some people in Christian retail. It’s disheartening what happens there.
    And Joel, I agree – we do need people who are committed to show up and love children. I’m seriously considering being a coach next year in our Upward program in order to work with the children who attend. Curriculum is important as well, but to me only for sound doctrine and a lot of ideas on how to teach kids and meet their needs.

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  • Mark
    March 20, 2008

    I think a big factor holding all of this back, is if the church is considered a “media platform” it will be considered just another entertainment choice.
    Which is kind of what is happening now. Christian media is considered the “Diet choice” of any kind of media that is shown now. There are so many places where christian media is shown with “well if you like ABC artist or movie then you would like XYZ christian alternative”
    I don’t think this is Vischer’s original dream.
    The questions really are why aren’t people wanting what Christians make? Are we really doing our best to give the best as a church to give out entertainment to the masses (world, non-believers)?

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  • Mark
    March 20, 2008

    Just want to fix the typo on the 2nd to last paragraph. I meant to say “I don’t think Fischer’s dream is Jesus’ original idea”
    this is referring to the “Christian Nick, or Disney channel”
    I love him for what he (Fischer) does with Veggietales and the his other works, I just don’t think we need another “Christian” anything.
    We need Christians to minister to the people.

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Evangelism & Outreach, Multimedia