I’ve got a little personal dilemma going on in my life. The free trial to one of my streaming services is coming to an end, and I don’t know whether or not to renew. I know this isn’t the most pressing issue going on in my life, but it does have me thinking about the power of streaming.
There have been multiple times when I’ve told myself, “When this show is over, I’m cutting the cord.” But that’s when I find myself falling in love with another show. I try to convince myself that I don’t need it and that maybe down the line, I can resubscribe and catch up. Unfortunately, I just can’t do it.
Streaming content has become a huge part of our lives. No matter the service you subscribe to, there is something comforting about having digital content at your fingertips at any moment. No longer waiting for summer reruns to catch up on the episodes, you missed. Long gone are the days of heading to the video rental store to find that evening’s entertainment. All you have to do is turn on a device, scroll through endless options and pick.
It’s fascinating and it’s got me wondering:
DOES CONTENT STREAMING HAVE A PLACE IN FAITH FORMATION?
What if Directors of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry looked at forming their small groups around video streaming resources instead of books or boxed content? How would that change the way you grow disciples?
This is only an idea, something that has not been tried in our parish. How it would work, would involve:
STEP 1: FIND A STREAMING SERVICE
To get started you would need to find a company that actually does streaming. There are services like FORMED, Pureflix and Right Now Media that have been offering movies, Bible studies and small group content for years. While they all offer excellent resources it might not be enough. Recently, I was introduced to the Playlister App. It’s a resource that allows churches to upload their video curriculum. No matter, how you do it, you’ll need to find a place to upload and stream your videos.
STEP 2: TRAIN YOUR TEAM TO STREAM
Every year we take our team through the content, showing them how to use all the resources provided by the curriculum company. You would not have to change much of your strategy to move to a system where you stream content. Teach your leaders how to utilize the software and provide them direction on how to pick the right content for the group.
STEP 3: GET TO KNOW YOUR MISSION FIELD
One of the problems with boxed curriculums or books is that they are a one size fit all. We all know that not all the kids and youth in our faith formation come to us at the same point of their faith journey. Some are starting and others are fully committed; when we try to cater to all of them through one piece of content we either overwhelm one group or bore the other.
Instead of basing groups solely on age and grade, streaming allows you to build small groups on interests and faith maturity. Train your leaders on recognizing where their group is in their faith and help them pick the right content. Groups will become more personalized and focused, which will lead to larger growth.
In addition to personalized content, it creates flexibility and works with medium younger generations are used to consuming. Streaming content should not replace in-person teaching or large group events because it has a different purpose. It’s taking the burden off of your leaders to form authentic and personal relationships with the kids and their families. It’s taking away the pressure to find men and women who not only love the faith but can share it engagingly.
This year we’re going to BETA test it in our youth ministry and so far the response from the team has been positive. I’m not sure how outside the box this idea truly is, but it’s helping us to look at things differently as we head into a new frontier of ministry.
What are your thoughts on streaming content as opposed to a fixed curriculum?