Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Never thought I'd post thoughts about Sesame Street and Blue's Clues

1. I'm in the middle of Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point, and came across an interesting thought that really applies to ministry. In the part I am reading, he talked about Sesame Street, Blue's Clues, and a record company who I can't remember. He talked about the research that went into making these shows and companies outstanding. In each case they did rigorous testing on what got people's attention, and then changed the parts that weren't working well to fit the style that really attracted their target audience. In no instance did any of the messages change, they just changed the method to meet their audiences. They were willing change the things that weren't working, in order to do more of what was.

The obvious ministry correlation here - If we see something doesn't work, why do we keep doing it? Are we more concerned about the method or the message? It seems to me that by hanging on to things that don't work, we are hurting our chances of getting the message out. I think we all need to look at what we are doing in ministry and decide if what we are doing is the best way we can find to do it. We should always be pushing to be the best we can, and we shouldn't be wasting our resources (time, energy, money) on things that we already know aren't working.

2. Another thought from this. Sesame Street started way back in 1969, and was an excellent show for teaching young children the basics. Blue's Clues came out about 30 years later. Lots of new research and learning has taken place in the last 30 years, not to mention general changes in the world. While Sesame Street is still a great show, it is not reaching or teaching near the number of kids that Blue's Clues is.

Why is that? The makers of Blue's Clues could have copied Sesame Street and had a pretty nice show, the only problem is that it would have reached the same people Sesame Street was reaching. What about the kids that weren't interested in Sesame Street? Instead, Blue's Clues tried something new, based on the new information that was available to them. They studied their target audience, and created a show that would create interest with and teach them. Both shows have the same goal in mind, to teach kids.

Shouldn't we as a church be doing that? New knowledge is available to us. Why don't we use it? The world has changed in the last 5, 10, 20+ years. Shouldn't the church be adjusting the way we do things to make sure that our target audience (unchurched and non-believers) can get the message? Or, should we just do what worked in the past and reach the same audience that we have been reaching (churched, believers). I really feel like we need to look at why we do what we do. Who do we want to reach w/our message? It is time to think outside the box, and change to meet the needs of our target.

Wow, I didn't know I had that in me. That was so long, I hardly remember what I wrote at the beginning. I hope it all makes sense when you read it.

1 comment:

Mike Jones said...

Great post Tyler! Knowing WHO God has called your church to reach makes a big difference in HOW you do church. Sounds like a good book - thanks for sharing!