Adventure or die!

During a recent shopping trip in Irvine, I saw this in one of the retail parks.. Talk about a blast from the past!

Blockbuster Video is possibly one of the closest examples of where the Church is heading at the moment…

Did you know that in 1997, a customer called Reed Hastings was charged $40 for being late in returning “Apollo 13” and, out of frustration, went on to create Netflix – a DVD subscription service without late fees?

In 2000, Hastings pitched this idea to Blockbuster, offering to sell it to them for $50 million. They declined the offer…

10 years later, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy, while Netflix had a revenue of $2.2billion. In 2017, that was $11.7 billion.

Blockbuster did not want to change its model (they enjoyed the late fees too much), and when they realised that they had made a big mistake, they were years behind their rivals when they finally set up an online DVD subscription service.

When Netflix realised that their subscriptions were starting to decrease, they made the move to online and the rest is history.

People still want to watch films. The way in which they view them has changed. Some like to watch movies on the go, others on the sofa. Some like to pause and return to a movie later, while others like to binge watch.

People still want to worship God, but do they want to do it on (often) uncomfortable pews, being talked at for long periods of time and drinking instant coffee from a polystyrene cup after the service? In many cases, this is the only option…

Yes, there are a number of ‘VHS and Betamax’ members, who faithfully and lovingly serve Christ and his Church.

Many younger people and families do as well when and however they can, yet very few churches offer any other options such as streaming online or sermon downloads (sometimes location will make that impossible). Many churches offer CD recordings of services and consider this a great innovation when most new cars don’t even come with CD players now!

It shouldn’t be, but with resistance often being faced from those most fearful of change, innovation is hard. Innovation often comes at a cost, be it financial or otherwise, but we MUST stay relevant and explore our provision of options. It takes time; it will involve painful decisions, but I believe that we have a responsibility to the Church of today and tomorrow to provide a variety of ways of hearing, learning and growing through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that allow for all ages and stages to feel able to be part of the life of the church in a way that is compatible with 21st century life.

I have recently finished reading Tod Bolsinger’s ‘Canoeing the Mountains‘, which is where my title comes from… I am still processing this incredible work and will hopefully post something soon…

In the meantime, thanks for reading!


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