Does Original Content Really Matter?

I had a great talk with a very creative friend who owns a very successful business. His company works with not only some of the biggest names in the Christian circle, but also some of the largest companies in the world.

As we were talking we brought up a conversation we had previously about how churches seem to focus on all the wrong things. As we were talking this thought donned on me:

“Why are churches so concerned with creating ‘original’ content?”

We put so much time and money behind original content that church people quite frankly just don’t care about. I believe they love the excellence and appreciate the finished product of what we do. But, I don’t think they care about where it comes from or if the church they attend create it.

Then I thought about all that money we put into creativity and programming that could go into meeting real, tangible needs. Or, that money could go towards another pastor who could fill a spiritual formation need in the church.

I love that churches create things. I’m one of the biggest local church advocates there is. Not too many organizations can compete with what Lifechurch.tv or Church on the Move produce.

What if we spent less money with some of the “cookie-cutter” resources that are out there? Do you think congregants would really notice? Do you think they would really care? And, do you think it would slow the growth of your church?

I wonder if the reason we create “original” content isn’t more for us and impressing our fellow ministry friends. I wonder if we enjoy the accolades of our peers, because quite frankly I don’t think the people we are ministering to care.

What say you?

PJ

7 comments

  1. Interesting thoughts, and I can’t disagree. I would say I feel some guilt that I don’t create original content for everything we do to teach elementary kids. My reasoning is that I have neither the time nor expertise to invest in scope & sequence to lay out a 3-year plan.

    Part of the reason I feel guilt if from George Barna’s book, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, where he point out that the churches who are the most effective at shaping kids write their own material. What are your thoughts?

    Jeff

    1. I like what Barna brings to children and youth ministry, but it’s obvious he has never actually been a children’s pastor. Being a children’s pastor is not like writing a message for adults, which I’ve done several times. I think writing a weekend message is much easier than writing curriculum for children because of all the elements and age groups represented. Looking at the big picture, there are not that many children’s leaders who write their own curriculum for the great reasons you mentioned above and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some large churches do it, but they have people on their team who are either paid or have a great passion to do so and are pretty good at it. I always believe that if you have the means and ability to write your own curriculum then you should do it, but if you don’t–don’t worry about it.
      It should feel like a weight lifted off a children’s leaders shoulders to know that there are great resources and curriculum out there so that we can focus on what’s important–people/children and building those relationships.
      -PJ

  2. We do original content and just measured up to 5 Gigabyte of them when someone asked for them recently… but have long given up on having to do it everytime. Now we have a healthier balance of doing what’s best for the kids congregation. It’s more a personal thing to want to do original stuff than a corporate church thing, something every leader has to battle at one point in their leadership development as the Lord leads them.

  3. I think it has more to do with what God is doing in that particular church. A children’s pastor is called to lead his flock of kids and leaders. Sometimes that may require a certain teaching, sometimes that means using pre-written curriculum.

    Definitely if someone does not have gifts in writing, then they should use pre-written material. And if they feel the need for something specially for their kids, pray for someone to come alongside them to write.

    So we can’t say that all good children’s ministries either write their own material, or that they use cookie-cutter material. Good children’s ministries have leaders who listen to God and do what they are directed to do.

    But having the desire to write original material is not necessarily a pride thing. It could be, but it could also be the Spirit of God busting inside of you to WRITE because that’s the gift you have. It’s like Eric Liddel said in Chariots of Fire (wish I could type in an Irish accent) “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”

    If it defines you, then, yes, that’s a problem. So deal with it in the power of the Spirit and do what you were created to do!

    That’s my two cents :).

    1. Nathan, I’m in agreement. Do it if you feel lead to do it and you have the tools/people to make it happen. And, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Great thoughts. Thanks.
      -PJ

  4. PJ

    Great post. It is about time people realise that because you are in kidmin you don’t have to be the most creative person in exsistance. Why put that burden on yourself?

    It is like saying you have to create your own sound systems rather than buying something that already exsists and is proven to work.

    Plus there is a difference from being orignal and adapting something that is already created. Two completly different skill sets. The first one is a more rarer gift but it is not the be all and end all. The 2nd skill is far more useful. Take what is already exsisted and modify so it becomes a product that is designed just for your kidmin

    Have fun

    Fmd

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