Why is it difficult to create effective content for Christian spiritual formation?
Because people creating the content are not aware of the answers being sought.
I recently read an article in Wired Magazine about Demand Media and the way that they go about creating content. This excerpt from the article gives an idea of Demand Media’s model of commissioning pieces of content to be developed:
Pieces are not dreamed up by trained editors nor commissioned based on submitted questions. Instead they are assigned by an algorithm, which mines nearly a terabyte of search data, Internet traffic patterns, and keyword rates to determine what users want to know and how much advertisers will pay to appear next to the answers.
What if a similar model was used within the church? The focus would not be on how much money could be made by creating particular articles. Christian content creation based on a model similar to that of Demand Media would create text and video content that would be tailored to where people are hoping to grow. Significant progress would be made in meeting people where they are in their experience of God’s grace and helping them take the next step as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Would this Christian content creation model lead to useful tools for helping people grow in their faith or anesthetize and distance content creators from those seeking to grow in their faith?
4 replies on “Christian Content Creation Model”
I think this works in a world dominated primarily by a concern for what will sell/what is marketable. But it becomes problematic from a christian spiritual formation perspective – in that much (if perhaps not most) of what it means to become spiritually mature revolves around learning to deny our own wants/needs and desires in order to focus on the will of God and the needs/desires of others. In other words I think this might be useful in gathering a large audience, but could tend to re-enforce our cultural narcissism rather than challenges us to come and die that we may truly live.
I agree with Chuck. The challenge is to help people grow in areas where they don’t even know what is needed. Developing an automated process, though complicated, may help. However, you will still need regular human interaction to cut through to what is really on the hearts and minds of the people. Let’s help people see where God’s grace is already at work in their lives.
“Would this Christian content creation model lead to useful tools for helping people grow in their faith or anesthetize and distance content creators from those seeking to grow in their faith? ”
Yes. (Or No.)
I think, like most forms of communication and relationship inside and out of the church body, it is a complex issue and the answer is not an “either or”.
I have been studying communication methods, electronic and otherwise, for a number of years(my field is history, but much of my study is in the area of communication and how historians record the past and provide access to that record; many parallels in the way the church operates and I have emphasized that in my study.) I have found that there are many examples that support nay-sayers and enthusiasts for most new (or traditional) methods of reaching the unchurched, offering Christ to the unbeliever, and supporting and assisting in the growth of the body. This will be just what some need, while it will be a stumbling block for others, I suspect. But then, my reading of scripture does not show Christ or his followers always dealing the same way with those they touched. At times Jesus would place mud on a man’s eyes and require it to be washed off before he could see, at others he woould tell someone their faith had made them well. He would sometimes travel to a person’s home to heal while at other times he would tell someone to go home and find the patient well. Seems to me that there is both a need for letting people decide what they want and helping them to see what they have.
Regardless, that human interaction we want requires our listening not just proclaiming. I agree that many of those trying to help people grow in faith are unaware of where the “student” is and what he or she may wish, rightly or not, to grow into. It seems to me that such information would be a requirement for success.
Jim – I very much appreciate your comment. Particularly the reminder that Jesus and the apostles used various methods to be in ministry for and with those who surrounded them. I agree with your assessment that there “is both a need for letting people decide what they want and helping them to see what they have.” or, I suggest, what they need.