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Audience of One

I know that this is a term that has probably gotten a little worn out in the church world, but it is still something that I think about on a regular basis. What I love is finding something that has nothing to do with church using the same principle.


In the most recent edition of Studio Monthly, there is a great article about Les Stroud, who does a cool show on Discovery called “Survivorman”. I love this show! Not that I fancy myself as any kind of survivalist, but as a video production geek, I just dig what he does! If you’re not familiar with the show, Mr. Stroud gets dropped off into different areas of the world with the scenario of having to survive in hostile environments for seven days with very little in the way of provisions. He will typically have to build himself some kind of shelter, find a water source, and hunt for food. Now, what he is not lacking is cameras and video gear! He packs in a slew of gear to film everything he does on each of these survival lessons… and does a great job telling the story. Not impressed? He does all this with no TV crew! OK, enough about the production geek and a TV show…

In this article, Mr. Stroud is given the opportunity to elaborate on how he first came up with the idea for the show and how he pitched it to the network. He later goes into some of the production techniques. Early on, as he was trying to figure out how to produce a quality program for an audience he has never seen. He compares his new opportunity to his time as a solo musician playing in local taverns. He states:

If I thought the crowd wasn’t listening, I imagined two things: one, that I actually wrote the song “Sweet Home Alabama” and would sing it as if I did; and two, that there was one person in that audience who was totally captivated by my performance. This little trick always seemed to flip on my passion switch and make me rise to the occasion; eventually I’d win the audience over.

Wow. I don’t know if I have ever read something that so clearly states how we who work in ministry should operate! Whether you’re the pastor, the worship leader, the audio guy, the video guy… this is a great formula to remember each time we tackle our church responsibilities! Do our tasks as though only one person is watching… and blow the lid off for that ONE! I firmly believe that Les Stroud could teach some churches about some new aspects of passion. He continues later in the article:

The bottom line is, while I’m out there, stomach growling and light-headed due to lack of nutrition, the only fuel I have in me to make a great film is my desire to do it.

If you watch this show, I think you can see that this is a guy who is quite bent on getting his job done with great excellence. We in ministry should have that same kind of drive. I feel like I tap into it every once in a while, but I am far from consistent.

He finishes with one final thought:

I think my greatest asset as a producer is that I hate most TV. I’m not interested in being a TV producer. I’m only interested in doing the things I love and doing them well. There can be and is still some magic on television and I would like to be part of creating it.

Please don’t misunderstand me here; I’m not suggesting for a minute that I hate most of what the church is doing… I do think that we lock onto certain patterns that seem to be working and then ride them until they are long past dead. When we get too tuned into ourselves and our ministries and forget that there is a world of people that are watching and sadly, shaking their heads in disbelief, we have missed the mark. I hope that we can all continually tap into the passion that only God can give, knowing that He is totally captivated by our performance… and that we will to continue to reach out and show people that without the love of Christ, none of us can survive.

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