The word is out. LifeChurch.tv is offering free videos, graphics, and message notes to anyone who wants to use them in their churches. If you haven't already checked it out, go ahead and visit LifeChurch.tv Open, their free content area.
Some bloggers I've read have heralded this as an amazing gift from a kingdom-minded church. A few others, Anthony Coppedge in particular, have asked some good questions about this offering. He also got some of the most helpful answers directly from staff at LifeChurch.tv.
The discussions about this free content, however, illustrate a question I have for the American church today: are we more enamored with media than the message we are called to communicate? LifeChurch.tv has been praised repeatedly for giving away free content, particularly because most of their sermon series packages have several media elements including graphics, video, and sermon notes. But I have seen nothing written identifying whether or not LifeChurch.tv is giving away Biblical content that will actually build up the church. (If you have read reviews that I've missed, please post a comment because I'd love to take a look at them.)
My fear is that we've begun to believe that MEDIA IS GOOD simply because many growing churches use media extensively. But the fact is that only God causes a church to grow, regardless of the media they choose to communicate their message. Is the silence on the content of LifeChurch.tv because we are idolizing "quality" media?
Now, please know that this is not a criticism of LifeChurch.tv or their content. I am grateful for their selflessness, and I hope that their material is worthy of repeated use.
I am more concerned for the church in general, which seems to categorically laud the use of media without much consideration of whether that media is actually communicating something of true value. As believers, we must be discerning about the content of the media we use in church.
Let's be careful to "be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil." (Romans 16:19)
Over the next few weeks, I'll be checking out LifeChurch.tv content and posting some brief reviews here. Explore their material. If you have ideas for use or concerns about doctrine as you do so, please fill me in on what you learn and think.