A few nights ago I was watching a TV programme that was titled ‘YouTube – The Future of TV?’
There was a certain irony about the content watching it on TV. The main premise of the programme was that last year for the first time 13-24 year olds spent more time online than they did watching TV and YouTube is having a massive effect on them and culture creation. As a channel, YouTube has over one billion users a month.
The programme went on to explore how TV content is difficult to produce. It’s expensive, has very exacting standards, it is inflexible and it isn’t very accessible for people who want to broadcast. TV is dominated by a relatively small number of celebrities, who are the expert entertainers.
YouTube on the other hand makes it easy to broadcast. ANYONE can do it. It isn’t exclusive or elitist. It is unpolished and authentic. It can quickly reflect the pulse of the nation. Those who broadcast themselves can have anything from a handful to millions of subscribers. 22 year old Charlie McDonnell has been broadcasting himself for the last 6 years and now has over 2 million subscribers and has amassed nearly 300 million views!
‘If TV is a monologue then YouTube is a conversation’
As soon as a video is posted it attracts comments and a dialogue is started instantly. The user is invited to participate, to shape, to comment and is made to feel more involved.
What if the future of mission looks like YouTube and less like TV?
That would mean more authentic, honest broadcasting of lives in friendship with God on a massive scale. It may also mean less polished and expensive mission events run by professionals. It would see more, many more on the ground disciples (YouTubers) and less expert preachers and teachers (TV presenters) as a proportion of mission activity. Most Jesus followers may only have a handful of subscribers, but maybe a few will become leaders in their generation with many more.
What if mission depends not on the next planned and financed event but on your daily life broadcast?
What if you were more fully aware that you are broadcasting now?
Here’s to the next season of grassroots mission inspiring a generation, going viral and creating culture.
PS - have you seen our latest YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qLl2WdJziI?