If you knew you could reach the entire world for Christ on television, would you?
What is Streaming Television?
Streaming television and device use has doubled since 2011, with 14% of U.S. broadband households using products like a Roku device in 2013. In a nutshell, a Roku is a small box you plug into your Smart TV to gain access to streaming television. With an internet connection and a Roku device, you have access to almost 800 channels, most of which are free.
TV, Kids, and Spiritual Warfare
Television consumption is a hot issue for concerned Christian parents. How do you make sure your child isn’t watching something inappropriate? Where can you find a source of Christian content? How do you ensure there aren’t going to be any surprises in a show you’ve allowed your child to watch? We do not view this ministry as just creating innocuous children’s videos. Because children’s media has the power to reach a vast number of people – children and adults – and because Satan wants to mold malleable minds, children’s media has become a new battlefield.
DIY Christian Television
In February 2013, there were 50 streaming television channels that were religious, though none were Lutheran, let alone programs specifically for children. My husband, Kevin, and I decided to act upon the opportunity streaming television presented. He, an artist, and I, a marketing director, put our talents and gifts together and began producing religious programming for children. Our living room in our tiny apartment became our “studio,” and the church, at which I am now secretary, St. Matthew, Spring Lake, as well as parks and other local sites, became our “sets.”
Our top priority is spreading the truth of Scripture as espoused in the Lutheran Confessions. Our first ROKU channel, devoted entirely to children, aired in February 2013 alongside 50 other religious channels. Today, there are almost 300 channels with religious programming, making it the most popular category. It costs almost nothing to create a channel, and keeping it online is $5/month. Currently, Christ Clubhouse Channel and Lutheran Youth Network are the only Lutheran stations on the ROKU. The Christ Clubhouse Channel provides children with the building blocks for a Christ-centered life. The Lutheran Youth Network is designed to be a visual teaching aid and at the same time entertaining, while reaching the world for Christ. All shows can be downloaded free. Churches, schools, and homeschooling parents can use the shows as visual supplements in lesson planning. Kevin’s Martin Luther animation also aids in memorization of catechism elements such as the 10 Commandments, Lord’s Prayer petitions, and others.
If you have an XBOX, I encourage you also to consider Ameba TV, a video streaming service for kids age two through 12, as an option for parental peace of mind when allowing children to watch TV. The service has thousands of hours of wholesome, pre-viewed, appropriate content for kids, including a section of Christian shows that teach Bible lessons, Christ-centered morals, and church history.
A Challenge to Churches and Ministries
Each week, at over 380 congregations in the Michigan District, preparations are being made for worship, music, sermons, children and youth ministry, lesson plans, drama, puppet shows, and the like. Could your church harness that immense creativity and begin to produce streaming video? Streaming television is a huge opportunity to introduce the truth of the Gospel as taught so faithfully by The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Taking into account the potential to have access to 77 million households (via Xbox) and additional households on Roku and the Internet, we challenge congregations, organizations, and members of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod to explore how they can become involved in streaming television as well. Check out http://www.instanttvchannel.com/ and start today! Soli Deo Gloria!
How have you seen your congregation or others using new technology in creative ways? We’d love to hear about it!
Images courtesy of Roku, Christ Clubhouse Channel, and Kristen Collier