In 1989, the film Field of Dreams opened in a mere 22 theaters with the expectations of success set low. Starring Kevin Costner, it quickly became a runaway hit and was nominated for Best Picture that year. The film’s tagline became a part of popular culture vocabulary: “If you build it, he will come.” This meant all Costner’s character had to do was craft a baseball field out of his Iowa cornfield, and the long-dead Shoeless Joe Jackson and his teammates would show up to play.
We’ve all seen the “Field of Dreams” Syndrome in media ministry. It happens when a church makes their services available online, and assume that just by streaming their services people will watch. But when they don’t, the church’s leaders either pull the plug (“It just didn’t resonate with our people”) or deemphasize it and miss a great opportunity to connect with members, prospective members, their community, and a potential global audience. What we need to realize is that the movie’s premise is fanciful. In real life, just providing a place for people to go does not in any way guarantee that he (or they) will come.
Success in Digital Media Ministry is like any other ministry endeavor – It is the result of planning, executing, producing quality content, creativity, and promotion. Deciding to do it – the “If you build it” part, – is just the beginning. You need to have a plan, a digital media strategy, and then you need to execute.
In 12 years of working with churches and ministries to maximize the effectiveness of their digital media ministries, we have found that the ministries who are the most effective are those that put as much planning, preparation, promotion, and prayer into starting an online campus as they would if they were launching a new brick and mortar location. Those who suffer from the “Field of Dreams” Syndrome most often see disappointing results.
It is important that you choose a provider that understands both the technology and the ministry side of the equation. At Piksel Faith, our team walks with you every step of the way, helping you with the how-to technical aspects, and continually discovering and implementing ways to more effectively reach and engage your online audience.
Get in contact with us today and let’s talk about how we can assist you!
About the author
Alan Riley is the General Manager of Piksel Faith, committed to working with church leaders to master new digital mediums. A self-confessed nerd, photographer, writer and guitarist, Alan also currently serves as the Interim Worship Pastor at Towne View Church in Metro Atlanta. Connect with him on Twitter @AlanRiley or on Facebook at Facebook.com/alanriley