Newpapers are struggling. Magazines are falling on hard times. Bookstores are reshaping their business models. People don’t read the way they used to.

It’s not that illiteracy is breaking out. It’s just that so much of what we do read comes in short bits on the internet (this post, for example). Text messages in the thousands a month. Short tweets about everything and nothing.

The rest is audio and video. YouTube is prolific. MP3 players and iPods are everywhere. Internet TV keeps us updated.

Churches need to be aware of these trends toward visual and verbal communication.  Fewer people will read long passages of scripture. Almost no one will study up on a theology text during the week. Instead, they will check out WikiPedia and search for a video illustration.

What all this means is that people want to hear good stories, and are turning to vignettes to get the point across. I’ve heard that the ideal length for a video is 3 to 8 minutes. It’ll take a couple of minutes to build a point, but TV has programmed us to take a comercial break 8 times an hour.

A good lesson includes video interruptions to illustrate a thought. Several styles will be used in the telling. (fast to slow, pause for effect, then a chase scene.)

It will take some doing to make the switch from lecture to storytelling, but that’s where the culture is.

Orality – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orality

Advertisements