December 2020- January 2021
Passing the Faith
Is Your Church Netflix or Blockbuster?
By Ron Hunter Jr.
Disclaimer: The following article was written prior to the ongoing Netflix controversy.
I acknowledge Neflix's misstep into extreme depravity with the release of the movie Cuties. However, the principles of the article still hold true, and we can learn from the two different mindsets of adaptive leadership.
When your kids interrupt a conversation, you teach them about patience and manners. Culture, on the other hand, displays little restraint in disrupting our norms. Disruptions produce changes in our culture. Seemingly overnight, a disruption changes habits and makes previous items of value nearly useless.
A classic example is the invention of the iPhone. Can you count how many devices the iPhone replaced? Other notable disruptors include Redbox, Netflix, and Uber. History offers countless examples of disrupting events that shape how we think and act today: the Protestant Reformation, Gutenberg Press, Internet, 9/11, and yes, for sure, coronavirus.
Each of these events, almost overnight, changed people, policies, and practices. Although you may dislike and avoid such changes, recall how much you loved rewinding your VHS tapes before driving back to Blockbuster to pay your late fees. Try as you may to avoid it, some disruption sweeps through, and you must find ways to keep sound principles alive even when methods change.
It is said a crisis is an accelerant that speeds up negative trends or exposes structural cracks. We can see how accelerating trends have affected our churches. You can’t control people’s behavior, but you can help them think differently about how to respond.
Netflix changed how people view videos and television. It’s important to remember disruption changes habits, but not the actual practice. People still watch movies, but they access that content differently. What does that mean to our changing church landscape?
If a large number of parents feel apprehensive about sending their kids back to school and opt for homeschooling or remote learning, those same decisions affect the church’s ability to disciple families. Providing the Sunday adult worship service online is not enough for the family’s other generations. Zoom LifeGroups peaked the first four weeks and fell off as fatigue and frustration set in.
Which do you want to be: Netflix or Blockbuster? Look around. Do you see any Blockbuster stores? The command to make disciples of all ages remains in effect, even during a pandemic. So how do you adopt a Netflix approach to discipleship?
The pandemic has caused many not to venture out to church for discipleship and worship. For many years, we have emphasized the building isn’t the church, people are the church.
The family is the original small group. Equip them to disciple within the safety and community of their homes. D6 At-Home Bundles provide everyday discipleship, a lesson Mom or Dad can teach to their family. The best way to learn is by teaching. At-Home Bundles make it fun and easy to disciple the family at any age.
Encourage and engage with other families by modeling this with your own family. Every age will be reading daily devotional books—part of the D6 At-Home Bundle—learning together. Conversations flow from individual reading, making the weekly lesson taught by Dad or Mom an interactive experience. No more Zoom meetings for adults only.
Blockbuster had a chance to buy Netflix. No one wants to be the CEO of an organization that stared opportunity in the face, only to let it slide by because habits mattered more than principles. It’s time to accelerate your discipleship experience with D6
At-Home Bundles. Bundles include an age-appropriate
devotional magazine for daily use and one teaching guide with a weekly Bible lesson.
We recommend each family select a teaching guide closer to the age of the youngest or two youngest kids. Have fun with the materials as you engage the whole family in your new small-group experience. See what can erupt from this current disruption. Your families will never be the same.
About the Writer: Ron Hunter Jr., Ph.D., has been director/CEO of Randall House since 2003. Learn more about D6 EveryDay curriculum: D6Family.com.