Online entertainment has been taking the world by storm. Homestar Runner. Ask a Ninja. lonelygirl15. ZeFrank. For the most part these were projects started by small groups of people with small amounts of money. They are media empires on shoestring budgets. They can be created by folks in their pajamas and they have incredible impact.
While watching Ask a Ninja co-founder Kent Nichols talk about his rules for success in this new entertianment world in a video from Pop!Tech, I wondered where the church is in this new online entertainment phenomenon.
Now before you even say it, I’m not looking for a Christian version of lonelygirl15. I don’t want to see an ‘Ask a Pastor’ series (OK, that could be hilarious, but something as funny as “Baby Got Book” doesn’t do much to spread the gospel). We don’t need another Christian sub-genre that’s sub-quality. We don’t need a GodTube. We don’t need choir-preaching and insider lingo.
What we do need is Christians willing to use the new economies of entertainment to spread the gospel. And I think local churches could have an amazing role in bringing people together and making that happen. Creative people in churches can connect and take advantage of this new entertainment world. The church no longer needs a massive Passion of the Christ to be heard. We need our own, original Ask a Ninja.
It could be something as simple as the Father Matthew Presents series. It could be a youth group creating their own high school dramedy series. It could be a laugh-out-loud flash cartoon that manages to introduce people to Jesus without scaring them away. It could be using Legos to teach people about the Bible. (Update: OK, so maybe Brick Testament isn’t the best example with their graphic interpretations–admittedly some are literal and that stuff is in the Bible, but others are more sexually graphic than they need be. As a commenter says below, all the more reason for a church to do it right.)