Blockbuster, Netflix, and the Church

So, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September. Apparently they are strapped with more than $900 million in debt and they’ll end up using a $125 million loan to reorganize in order to compete with rivals such as Netflix and Redbox.

I don’t know what your experience has been in the entertainment world, but I’ve completely abandoned stores like Blockbuster. The fees, poor customer service, and dingy stores are only a couple of the reasons for this. Blockbuster, though, is unfortunately the best of its competition. Every time I walk in a Movie Gallery, I get badgered to join a club so I can save $2 a month (that is absolutely a true story). Ironically, Movie Gallery shut its doors in our city as well. Not surprised, are you?

We recently joined Netflix and we absolutely love it. We watch movies online at that very moment. If we need to get a DVD shipped, it never takes more than two days to arrive. We’re so happy we made the switch. And it’s cheap!

So many churches are kicking back against the new ideas and thought-leaders of today. Many cite these new voices as “abandoning what’s central” or “so relevant that they’re not Biblical.”

Here’s the deal, church leaders: Feel free to “stay the course” and keep doing ministry the way you have been doing it all along. Just don’t be surprised when people don’t come to your church when someone down the road is reaching them right where they are.

After all, I didn’t stop renting movies. I just decided to get them from another source. In the world we live in, we can’t afford for people to go to the wrong source for truth.

Those who fear or reject innovation will risk reaching fewer people while clinging to business as usual.



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4 thoughts on “Blockbuster, Netflix, and the Church

  1. Hey man- I'm very new to your site and have been really impressed by you guys, your thoughts and your commitment to the word. However, I have to say I'm disappointed in this post. The thought that the church must innovate and stay current to culture isn't in any way new. Almost all church leaders would agree with you on this point, even the ones that aren't doing it.

    What I believe the church to be woefully needing is to see people as gifted as your team help to inform the church on is how we can stay true to the most relevant and authentic message of all time, the Gospel, while culturalizing it as Jesus did.

    This just leaves me wanting the next chapter.

    • Scott, thanks so much for your honesty. It helps me gain perspective for future articles. Where I’m from, there are tons of “Blockbuster” churches. I guess the point I’m trying to drive home is that I know of a couple churches who think the “Blockbuster approach” is getting it done, and they’re mistaken. I agree with what you’re saying though. Most of us need help with the approach, not the mind change. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!