Media is Connecting the Church
For years, when I had the joy of visiting different churches I would see the little media rooms (or tables, literally folding tables) in churches and ministries. Media teams rarely had a leader or pastor, and certainly received much less attention (and budget) than other departments.
Media was the department that most churches had because they had to have it - but not because there was any real vision empowering or equipping it. And without any real connection between the media department and the power churning in the church alter, this often led to a passionless experience for the media team and the people they were trying to reach.
Then the word "pandemic" became front page news and instantly transformed the way we do life.
After riding the first waves of disbelief, we quickly hit the wall. Literally, the walls of our houses that had to contain every aspect of our busy lives.
Businesses, organizations, individuals - and even churches - found themselves diving into the often uncharted ocean of technology. Whether we had previously had our toes in the water or not, we had to dive deep and get used to remotely working, socializing- and worshipping. From one Sunday to the next, pastors and leaders around the globe realized that those purchases on media equipment, training, or salaries had not been just necessary expenses, but critical investments.
I watched while, in a week, thousands of ministries world wide had to reinvent themselves and the way "church" was experienced by their attendees. Media tools such as live streaming, podcasts, and e-learning services became a necessity. A wave of creativity overflowed our ministries with an urgency to master new tools and a clarity to re-prioritize our agendas. Pastors, their spouses, en in thousands of cases even their children became media tech staff. And now here we are: experiencing church through mobile devices, social networks, and webpages, doing small groups with video conference tools - and having the opportunity to be seen by thousands of people who are looking for new ways to be taught, supported, and connected.
Many of us were caught of guard. Without much technology, equipment, or even volunteers to jump into action and help us navigate this digital season. What to do, then? Do your thing. Work with what you have. Stay focused on pastoring and caring for people. No one will look back this season and will praise technology, they’ll remember the care, love, and mercy received through technology. There will be time to change the shaky shots on the live transmissions, the more-dark-than-desired videos, and those unpolished edited services. Don’t fall for the temptation of becoming a "broadcasting entity" , a source of “content”. There will be time to build and invest on media resources, and please when the time arrives, do it. But for now, every time you use a digital platforms to connect with your people keep in mind this questions.
Who are you pastoring through this medium?
Who is your audience?
How can they engage with you?
How can you make sure they know you are seeing them and loving them through the crisis?
How can you translate that virtual experience into tangible expression of love?
The crisis will pass, and my prayers are that this season will teach us how relevant media has become and how crucial it is to pastor, envision, direct, inspire, train, and launch those with a calling in this area, so those called to take care of the flock can focus on that. Work with what you have. Use it to love people. The time to build will come, and dear one, I pray you do build. Build for His kingdom and His glory.