What’s Disrupting Worship

Back when Twitter started to gain momentum, I remember seeing dedicated Twitter-only mobile devices. I also remember my reaction: Who would buy one of those?!

It won’t surprise you to know that devices like this didn’t last long. Smart phones with internet access and apps made them obsolete. Would it surprise you to find out that researchers believe smart phones have disrupted at least 27 business models?

On a recent episode of the HBR IdeaCast, Constellation Research CEO R. “Ray” Wang noted this fact from his book Disrupting Digital Business, and he gave a few examples. The one that really stood out to me was flashlights. There is still a market for all-weather, high-power flashlights, but your smart phone works just fine for general use like taking the trash out at night or finding a light switch in a dark room.

Flashlights are dying because people get the benefit out of their smart phone. However, smartphones are not disrupting the pillow industry because no one would rather sleep on a hard, rectangular brick of glass and metal.

When our worship services, our music ministries, our preaching and teaching, or even our churches in general put the majority of their time, energy, and focus on things people can get elsewhere, we leave ourselves open to disruption. If the “worship experience” is attractive because of its production value or the talent of the band, what happens when people find a better show somewhere else? If your teaching is always reliant upon being funny or on thought-provoking ideas, what happens when they discover Radiolab? Or what if they simply find a “better” preacher that they can listen to on their iPhone whenever they want?

When we put our time, energy, and focus into the things that truly make our faith and the Church unique, we are far less likely to be disrupted by the millions of other options. This doesn’t mean we don’t put any time or effort into the other things, but we have to be more than entertainment, more than a show, and more than an interesting lecture.

Image by Flickr user Don O’Brien. Used under Creative Commons License. Cropped from Original.

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