One of my favorite movies is “Antitrust“. In the movie, the hero, Ryan Phillipe, challenged the Bill Gates-type character, played by Tim Robbins, by offering software and code for free (open source), instead of giving it to the big company to sell. Now please know, I have nothing against companies, churches or independents that sell their resources on sites such as WorshipHouse Media and SermonSpice. I could argue strongly in their favor and know they have valid reasons for supporting their time, effort and money they invested into their projects via online sales. However, when I see examples of those that are challenging the system and doing something different, I think they are worth noting and discussing. I, Greg Atkinson, have a “Top 10 Most Innovative Churches” in America list that I keep in my head. Two churches that are on that list (in my head), as well as on other people’s list such as “The Church Report” and Tim Stevens and Tony Morgan’s list of Top 10 Innovative Churches in America are doing something different based on the open source model.
The first church is LifeChurch.tv, which I visited 2 weeks ago and blogged about last week. LifeChurch.tv is now offering FREE creative content for churches. Here’s a quote from their website: “At LifeChurch.tv, we are passionately motivated by the desire to see lives changed, across as many miles and in as many places as possible. In our pursuit of that goal, it is our intention to maximize the effectiveness of the resources with which God has trusted us. Therefore, this website is available to pastors and churches worldwide to provide access to and usage of an entire library of LifeChurch.tv creative materials, at absolutely no charge. Materials include outlines from a wide variety of message series, with corresponding promotional design graphics and videos, broadcast-quality opening videos and more. And every bit of it is free, all you do is browse through the site to find any resources that might be helpful to you and set-up a login to download those resources. In return, all we ask is that content is used in a non-commercial application in which the overall mission is to lead people to Christ. That’s absolutely it.” – Wow – that’s definitely worth your time to check out!!!
The second church is Seacoast, which I have watched since 12 years ago when I lived in the same city as the mother church. Here’s a quote from their website: The Seacoast All Access website is a collection of resources, links, and other materials produced by and for Seacoast Church. As a Pastor or church leader, we want to make sure you have access to all of our message materials, including streaming video, MP3 downloads and small group study notes for free. If you would like a hard copy or DVD that includes the Long Point campus worship service, we will have to charge you a little for that, but we will try and keep that cost as low as we can!
Open Source Philosophy: We have adopted an open source philosophy and decided to give away free stuff to other churches. If you are a church leader and know a church that might be interested in using our artwork, worship backgrounds, or our messages, please let them know about this site as well. This is another way that Seacoast would like to continue to make a difference around the world. We hope you can use these resources to help your ministry communicate the love of Jesus.” – Again, WOW! Check it out.