Why I Hate the Top 10 List

By April 2, 2014Church Media

A few years back I was at a conference with a few other visual worship leaders. I don’t remember exactly how it came up, but I made the statement “I hate the top 10 list on WorshipHouse Media.” Before I jump in, let me be clear… I love WorshipHouse Media and I’m a huge fan of the team of behind it.

My statement wasn’t to bash or slam WorshipHouse (or any other church media provider who displays popular content this way), but rather to point out an issue with the ways in which people buy church media. You see the list in it of itself isn’t where the problem exists, rather how people use the list.

Too often I hear stories of people who think of worship media as merely a way to fill the “void” of a blank screen. Media becomes a functional item rather than another instrument in the band. Instead of media becoming the storytelling device that it can be, we allow it to just be a “background” on the slides or lyrics we display.  This thinking changes the value we place on the media we use in our worship environments.

When choosing media is just a functional process, we create systems and routines that make life as easy as possible. I understand the time constraints on weekly ministry and I also full well know that your job far extends the area of your focus. Those who work for a church don’t just have a single role on the team. It’s more likely that you have two or three jobs, if not many more!

So we resort to shortcuts wherever we can, and herein lies my issue with the top ten list. I think too many people use it as a crutch to find media that they think is good only on the basis that others are buying it. Thus, causing a spiraling loop of media that continues to be used in the church merely because others used it in their church. But what if a great majority are only using it because others are using it. Do you see the endless cycle here?

The top ten list is a tool, a beneficial tool. It’s a resource to help you find great media faster. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only way to find media. We must do the hard work to find the best media for our communities. It may not be on sale. It may not even be in the first few pages of whatever site you get your media. For me, the “best” media has less to do with the number of time’s it’s been sold and instead more of it’s ability to speak truth or tell a story that connects with my community the best.

  • The best media isn’t what sells the most and it’s not always on the first page.
  • The best media is what tells a great story.
  • The best media invites people into a deeper encounter with their Creator.

So I need to make an apology for my statement at that conference because it was wrong. I can’t get mad at the top ten list… and I’m absolutely not mad at WorshipHouse Media… I guess I just don’t like the way people use the top ten list on WorshipHouse Media.

There is some incredible media out there that’s never been seen and never been downloaded… don’t let that tell you that it’s not good media.

Your turn… What are some strategies you use to find media?

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Luke McElroy

Luke McElroy ImageLuke McElroy is the founder of Orange Thread Media and author of The Wide Guide: Blueprint for the Multiscreen Movement. Through his leadership, Orange Thread Media’s work has been associated with American Idol, Atlanta Falcons, Bill Engvall and many more. Luke has a heart to equip and connect the visual worship tribe and launched SALT Nashville in 2013 as an annual conference for this community. Orange Thread Media is also the parent company to TripleWide Media Aside from all of this, Luke loves student ministry and loves serving at Fellowship Bible Church in Nashville, TN.
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