I’ve been reading quite a bit over at Michael Hyatt’s blog lately, particularly his posts about the medium of the book dying. He’s the President and CEO of Thomas Nelson, the sixth largest book publisher anywhere and the publisher with the largest market share in the Christian publishing world. In one of his comments he described Christian publishers as content producers. This got me to thinking. I manage a very small, what the industry terms “hobby” publisher. But, yes, I too am a content producer. I’m well aware of the need to make money so that we can continue to print books. But I also know that in the interest of making money, there’s a temptation to want to say what the reader wants to hear. Here are my propositions
Some propositions for Christian “content producers”
“Meaning of life? Collecting books? No, read them! Reading them? No, think about! Thinking about? No, do something for God and for your neighbour!”
3. The content must serve our Source: Jesus Christ.
4. Get to know the medium, study it’s impact.
5. Move past the content and the medium to serve the humans who use them.
6. Recognize in all of these that our work, regardless of our intention, will be used by humans with ill effect. The content, because it involves frail human communication, never adequately points to its’ intended reference: Jesus Christ. It will always say something about us however, it’s producers.
7. The money made must never really be the “bottom line.” We must be willing to “take a hit” in order to truly be salt and light.
8. The consumer demand will often lead us to alter our content to serve human pride and sin rather than Christ likeness. In these cases we should ask ourselves: “Is Jesus my Source?”
9. We have to come to terms with our expendability as content producers. Jesus did not produce content or call his disciples to do so. Even if transmitting print were to disappear altogether, forcing us into a different line of work, God’s church would still go about making disciples in fulfillment of the Great Commission. We have to have enough humility about our task to admit this.
10. Christian retailing is out of control. When the world beats a path to our door asking how they too can frame “Jesusy content” in order to make money, we should be asking ourselves about our content. Has it lost its radical nature? Is Jesus no longer the stone the builder’s rejected? Far from being an offense, has he instead become the ultimate consumer object? How much of this is our doing?