What The Church Can Learn From Marvel

Endgame dropped this weekend.

If you don’t know what that means you have been either living under a cinematic rock or you were snapped out of existence by a mad titan. (Sorry that was another Marvel reference).

I was reading about the release of Endgame and it’s pretty impressive what Marvel has done.

To be fair; as of writing this, I haven’t actually seen the film, so I don’t know that I can or would recommend it. But the franchise Marvel has built is still impressive.

The day AMC theaters released ticket sales for Endgame their entire website was crashed!

Why is that so impressive?

Because it was over 10 years in the making.

A franchise who’s source material was comic books has changed the way many studios are looking at storytelling.

What’s fascinating to me about the Marvel franchise is that in an age where we are being bombarded with the idea that everyone is losing their attention spans and no one wants to watch anything longer than 15 seconds; Marvel has compiled a whopping 2,700 minutes of content.

Every movie works together to tell this over arching, mammoth story.

What’s my point?

My point is that Marvel has proven that while our culture may have a dwindling attention span they also have a craving for epic storytelling.

A larger, grander, over arching story, of which, they feel a part.

Here’s the great news.

The church has a monopoly on this.

Because we have the grandest, most epic, over-arching story, ever told and it’s 100% true, and the God of the universe is inviting people to take part in it.

So what lessons can learn from Marvel?

  1. Have fun. The truth is fun and humor are great ice breakers. Marvel is okay with having fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Just like a talking raccoon or an arrow wielding, robot slaying hero doesn’t really make a lot of sense, there are times that parts of the Bible really don’t make sense unless you remember their original context. Remember Balaam’s donkey? So be honest about it in your storytelling and don’t be afraid to have fun.
  2. Make ONE Point. If you try to tell the entire story of the Bible in one Sunday School lesson you may glaze a few eyes. This to me is one reason the DC comic book movies haven’t done so well. Trying to capitalize on Marvel’s success, they’ve tried to launch a big, over-arching story. But they can’t seem to get it off the ground. Rather than focus on the story they are telling, many of their movies simply became 2 1/2 hour commercials for their other, upcoming movies. Don’t make that mistake. Understand the Bible is completely foreign to some people. So spend time on the content you are presenting so that you can boil down what you are trying to say to one great point. Remember when Jesus told a parable many times it was to help his audience understand one question or concept.
  3. Connect it to a BIGGER story. It doesn’t matter where you are preaching from in the Bible you should be able to connect it to the life saving good news of Jesus’ redemption of mankind for God’s glory! So while you should land on a bottom line, help your audience understand there is a larger story at work. Whenever we start off a story in our #kidmin we always make sure to tell them the book of the Bible it is coming from. We also tell them that their Bible isn’t a book. It’s 66 books that all tell one story and that story is about Jesus. The story of the Gospel is the most amazing story ever told. Most amazingly? The story is big enough that God is inviting them to be a part of it. Which is one thing that the Church does that no entertainment titan can do. We get to invite our audience to literally step inside God’s epic story and become a part of his story, his church, and his family.
Photo by: Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash

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