I read yesterday that Flip Video is shutting down. (news report) While I’m certainly not happy to see another company shut down, or 500+ employees lose their jobs, I’m not surprised. I asked for and received one of the flip cameras several years ago for Christmas. It’s small, inexpensive, does a fairly good job of recording you-tube quality video, and is easy to use…and it’s been sitting in my desk for three years. Occasionally my seven-year-old daughter will borrow it to film a “movie” acted out by her dolls or stuffed animals. I think I recorded one or two actionchurch services after we launched at Fat Daddies…but other that that it sat unused.
My problem with the Flip video camera is that I NEVER HAD IT WITH ME. It simply wasn’t important enough to carry with me, and my blackberry and iPhonecould also record (better quality) video. The Flip Video camera was a nice idea. It had some nice features. But I never once recommended it to others, because it never became essential to me.
I’ll try not to turn the failure of flip video into a sermon, but I think there are definitely things we can learn from it as a church. Church in America has a lot of great “features”. We play some good music, we are a nice place to meet people and experience community, we serve others, and we have (hopefully :-)) entertaining and motivating communicators that speak each week. It’s tempting to make any one of those “features” our focus.
Here’s the thing though:
You can hear music at a club while you have a drink and not have to get up on Sunday morning.
You can experience community and meet folks at the gym, bar, or bingo game. (don’t think Grandma is just going for the $7 pay-out)
You can serve others in any number of charity and social organizations away from the church.
You can definitely hear better/funnier communicators than the preacher at your church of choice on comedy central.
All of the “features” of church in America are fine…important even. But they are simply not ESSENTIAL. Only Jesus is essential to everyone…and can be replaced by nothing. If we focus on Jesus he promised that we would never fail.
“I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” Mathew 16:18b
If we focus on our “services or features” we will some day fade away and be just another “nice product that failed” like the Flip Video. The sad thing is, if we haven’t introduced people to Jesus, I’m not sure that many people will actually miss us…