We've been told that attention spans are getting shorter...and all signs say they are. So, we adjust in the church, right? But at what cost? At what cost is the church creating experiences that are ultra-fast paced with short bursts of content?
Look, I am not anti-fast. I am a firm believer that you should be able to keep announcements to less than three minutes, testimony videos to less than four, etc.
But, we don't need to move fast for the sake of attention spans.
We need to create good art.
We need to communicate better.
We need to tell the Story in a way that captivates.
In a study concluded in 2013, the highest grossing movies are getting longer. 2018 is no different. Avengers: Infinity War is a full-fledged 149 minutes. In 1992, Aladdin was the highest grossing movie at 90 minutes. Hollywood obviously understands that movies don't necessarily need to be shorter, they need to be better stories.
Think about it...if you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings, Nolan's Batman Trilogy or anything by Scorsese, you watch because they are great stories. They are stories that draw us in. Time becomes irrelevant. One of my favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. Total running time? 2 hours and 22 minutes. If this movie is playing anywhere, I will sit down and watch it. I've seen it in some form or fashion at least 100 times, but I still watch it. Why? Because it is great art! It is a great story.
In the church world, I truly believe we need to tell great stories. We need to create art that draws people in to the presence of God. We need to worry less about doing things for short attention spans. We need to do things that create a sense of timelessness. When I watch Shawshank, I lose track of time. Hours no longer matter.
What if we could fashion our worship elements in a way that eliminates time from our thought-bank for a while? What if we could focus our thoughts so much on God that time and attention spans no longer matter?
A tall task, for sure, but maybe it is something we should be focusing on more. Maybe focusing less on being quick-change artists and more on telling great stories will allow us to spend the proper amounts of time on the proper things.
Just a thought...