Tiger King, Outer Banks, Blood & Water, and Narcos were watched more than any other Netflix show during the COVID-19 Stay-At-Home order. But it doesn’t stop there since the streaming service offers over 13,900 titles from which people may choose.
With over 182 million subscribers, triple that number of those watching from a shared password account, Netflix reaches over 60% of American homes. Netflix single-handedly accounts for 12.6% of all downstream internet traffic worldwide.
And all of this started from a venture start-up company that allowed you to rent DVDs by having them mailed to your home. The big chain movie stores laughed at the idea in 1997. However, the Blockbusters of the world weren’t chuckling when consumer demand shifted in favor of Netflix.
DVDs faded as the company developed the concept of streaming movies and shows from the internet. Almost every TV channel and major media outlet is replicating the now king of streaming services.
Like the media titans before them, Netflix has found a way to tap into the human desire to escape from reality and to be entertained. Through the medium of art, the company inspires and challenges masses of individuals. Through an online streaming service, Netflix sparks conversations among friends and coworkers; do you think Carole fed her husband to the tigers?
Are people as excited about the church as they are about watching and talking about Tiger King? I know it sounds like a silly question, but the answer is quite revealing when you stop and think about it.
Before you think this is an indictment on an individual’s passion for the church, we might want to stop and consider if the church is functioning in a relevant and life-giving way with its members.
Is what we are doing here worth being excited about and inviting others to participate? Are we challenging and inspiring our people? Are we creating opportunities that invigorate participation and invitation?
When we come out of this crisis, and we will come out of this crisis, the church and its people have to decide who we will be and what we are going to do. Will we choose to offer and engage a worship experience that honors God and invigorates our souls? Will we choose to participate in meaningful spiritual formation that shapes our lives to look more like Jesus? Will we choose to meet the needs of our community in real and authentic ways? Will we choose to enter into a life-giving and genuine community with one another?
But probably a far more critical question is, will we choose to invite others to encounter Jesus and his community?
If the answer to that question is met with discomfort and disinterest, then I challenge you to consider what you can do to help build a church that you would be excited to invite others to encounter. What does that look like practically and culturally? What does that look like for worship, spiritual formation, ministry, and community?
If you would be bold enough to ask yourself these questions, might you be open enough to share your thoughts with our ministerial staff? Reach out to Justin, Deb, Eric, and me about the kind of church you would be excited to invite others to encounter.