To trend or not to trend?

You’ll have to forgive me but I feel LED strips are being so overused, they will soon go the way of bell-bottoms. And we will look at these pictures as “wow did I realy wear that?” -Random Angry Commentor on a Facebook Group

In a closed Facebook group for church media professionals a disgruntled church media man posted this statement. There were plenty of unhelpful comments in the thread itself so I didn’t want to add another useless voice to the fray, but it brought up a very good question: as churches, should we follow trends?

Mr. Random Angry Facebook Man is far from alone in this feeling that these modern trends are going to expire so don’t bother with any of them. As I was putting in crazy overtime to get the production elements of our church’s Christmas Eve service ready I had a disgruntled church member (let’s call him Steve) approach and inform me that he had come up with the perfect idea for next year’s Christmas and it would be no work at all. “Times New Roman, black and white screen, nothing on stage. Done.”

Naturally I was thrilled that I could rest easy, knowing that next year was already completed by Steve. The sense of relief hit me like a wave, I wouldn’t have to bother pulling a paycheque next year as it was already finished.

So were Angry Facebook Man and disgruntled Steve right? Should I quit my job as Director of Communications because I’m just trying to follow useless and ethereal trends? Well they are right about one thing, trends fade and eventually die. The trick is that I don’t think they are so much mad at the trend itself, as they are mad that the trend they loved was replaced by one that was different.

If you’re not following the current trends, you’re still following a trend, only now it is a trend that used to be current but went out of style a while ago. Trendy isn’t the same as new, and new isn’t the same as bad. We still do lots of things at our church that are the corpses of trends past (beige stage anyone?) The difference is that we don’t want to give up on change just because it is new and scary; both new and trendy are a lot of work but in the end we continue to try and stay current because we think it is worth it.

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