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Would the Apostle Paul have a YouTube channel?
I totally think he would. And here's why.
First of all, let's think about God. God's creative. God loves creating. And one of the things that we're called to do is to create. One of the things that we can do as church leaders is create great content. Part of our job as church leaders is to take the scriptures, take the Bible, expound within the context of the verse, and make it come alive. Tell those great stories and build great analogies that people can relate to in their everyday life. That's part of the calling of who we are. Then you think about the medium.
Would Paul have a YouTube channel?
He didn't have the technology to do that, but he did what he could with the technology of the day, and that was this. He wrote letters—they're called epistles. And they were read publicly within small little house groups, which were 1st-century churches. They would take Paul’s letter, they would transpose them, they would copy them. They'd take them all over the Roman world and read them aloud to people. Can you imagine being in a house church—30 people, 40 people—hanging out and you had word that there was a letter from the Apostle Paul and it was going to be read? You've got the leaders there. The word has come through. One of Paul's guys has come all the way to this remote city in Galatia or Ephesus and the leader shouts: "We've got one! We've got a letter. Gather everyone together."
Everyone gathers into a home and you could've heard a pin drop. They open that scroll. They begin to read the letter to the Ephesians, and then the letter to the Philippians, etc. That was the YouTube of Paul's day.
My children are young 30s. If you talk to anyone under 35 and ask them if they subscribe to cable TV, the vast majority have “cut the cord,” as it's known in the business. They do not watch network television. They stream content on Netflix, or Amazon, or Hulu. But what even younger people are doing—Gen Ys, Gen Xs, Millennials—is they're watching YouTube. GenZers are getting more than 70% of the content they consume on videos.
I had no idea what a YouTube star was—a YouTube celebrity. I start reading about this recently. YouTube is the preferred medium of the younger generation. If you're going to reach younger people today in this generation, you’ve got to be like the Apostle Paul. You've got to use what's available to you to reach the people that God's called you to reach.
YouTube is one of those powerful gifts that God has ever given the church to be able to use that technology to reach the generation who is not looking on television. They're not looking in any other places. They're looking on YouTube for content. Get on YouTube. Produce great content. Start simple. Start easy. You don't have to have a highly professional setup to begin. Just get on there and let your voice be heard, because that's where the people are watching. Get on YouTube.
The first thing you can do is you can take those sermons and get some 14-year-old kid in your church with the best iPhone, put it on a tripod, and maybe plug a little mic into it. You can get this setup for under $100. You can record your sermons and publish them on YouTube. People can start listening to them. But you know what's even better than that? Just riffing, pontificating.
Get a video camera and just start talking to people. Give them your thoughts, open the Bible, and be very authentic. The less produced, the more real it is (especially for Millennials). When they see everything with overproduced editing and titles, they tend not to be as interested in the content. Make it real. Make it from the heart. Tech doesn't have to be over-the-top. It has to be decent. And we've got at our disposal now everything we need. Just talk to the camera. Talk to the people that you're trying to reach. They'll appreciate it and you'll reach more people.
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