Yet again I am finding inspiration from Star Wars. I noted quite a few things with the release of Episode VII. The trailers, the merchandise, and the movie were all very interesting. So what can digital ministry teams learn from this movie franchise re-launch? Here is a spoiler-free take on what you can learn from the various entities in charge of the Star Wars universe.
This article was inspired by the Star Wars franchise, and my previous article on Star Wars. The fact that this is my second article on this subject displays my affection for this universe. I love the original trilogy. Of course I had plenty of issues with the prequel trilogy. And I had high hopes for this new film. I took the day off of work just so I could go to an early showing of the film. But most of these ideas came to me before I saw it. Rest assured, this is not about the new plot's story as much as it is about the build up and presentation of the story. So one with my points.
The marketing prior to the release of this new Star Wars movie is unlike any other I have seen. The integration of women's apparel is unprecedented. This is not to say that there are no female science fiction movie fans out there. But the extra push to include women was noticeable. A walk through a department store revealed Star Wars themed apparel. Most of which were even appropriate for business casual work environments. In my opinion, it was an incredible push to make female fans comfortable with liking the new series.
Remember that not everyone that likes science fiction movies is male. In connection, not everyone that enjoys and uses technology is male. Do not write content or create features that are only geared to males. I would contest that most of members sharing your content on social media are female. Help them engage their circles of friends with great content to share.
Star Wars toys were predominantly meant to entertain young children. Yet many adults collected them as well. In fact, the biggest early insights fans gained was not from the film teasers and trailers. It was from toys. A film series that spans thirty eight years will involve multiple generations. Many parents taking their children to see the movie, were children themselves when the original films came out. Star Wars is a phenomenon that involves multiple generations.
The story of the Gospel is over two thousand years old. It should encourage adults and inspires children. Your youth ministry will want to reach out to parents about how to engage with their children. Yet we cannot forget about the people taking these kids to church. Couple student announcements with information for parents. Invite them to events that give them a break. You can offer activities for the entire family. Or possibly watch their children while they enrich their marriage. Create events that include and enhance multiple generations in your church. Build a foundation for years to come with happy and engaged families.
Distance from the Negative
Since the last movie was released, the Star Wars franchise underwent a few changes. Disney bought the rights to the movies. Plus they used a new film director. They made these changes to help distance the new series from the prequel movies. Many fans disliked those films for a myriad of reasons. Bad acting, poor writing, or overuse of special effects; just name your gripe. The new movie was to be a re-connection to the original story and a return to "better" films. Thus, the merchandising only alluded to those original movies. For better or worse, characters from the newer series were left in the dust.
There is plenty of negative press about churches. Social media outlets have no shortage of people sharing examples of Christian hypocrisy. The best way to distance yourself from those stereotypes is to showcase the opposite. Tell the world that you are a congregation that reaches out to the world in love. Be that refreshing voice that your followers can point at to combat those negative stories.
Enhance your ministries with the points I gleaned from Star Wars. I am not stating any revolutionary in my ideas. They are just things that this latest volley of movies has done very well. I will also ask that you continue to find inspiration all around you. You can even get ideas from a science fiction movie franchise. Take in your surroundings and see where you can use them for ideas to improve your digital ministry experiences.
Photo courtesy of Star Wars