I’m not going to fact check what I’m going to write (here, we endearingly call that being Fox News). And I’ll probably totally mess up and write stupid, nonsensical things (we call that being CNN).
Now, I’m not that well-versed of a fan boy. I know enough to make me a geek or a dork. I don’t know enough to cross that line that makes you so geeky, you’re kind of cool (Joss Whedon, that’s my guy. And Kevin Smith — to a lesser extent).
Don’t underestimate the risk that Marvel took to get to where they are today in the movie business.
They had a vision and they stuck with it, regardless of the risks (and hundreds of millions of dollars) it might’ve involved.
They started their own studio (Marvel) to launch 3 phases of the cinematic Marvel Universe.
And to kick it off, they did it with Iron Man. Sure, Iron Man is a household name today, but he wasn’t that well known when Robert Downey Jr. (and what a great casting that was! Also a risk!) don the iron mask. He was a dark character, dealing with alcoholism.
Then to tie that movie to a bigger picture by introducing Nick Fury at the end?
I mean, what if Iron Man was going to be a bomb?
But it wasn’t. And they stuck to their plan — eventually leading to Avengers to end Phase 1.
They announced that Phase 2 will include a movie called Guardians of the Galaxy which included characters like a talking raccoon and his friend a “talking” and walking tree. I had to google who the Guardians of the Galaxy were. Then they announced the casting. Chris Pratt? Like Parks and Recs, Chris Pratt? And Bautista? The wrestler? I never liked him in wrestling! But man. That was an awesome movie. It blew me away and made me bitter towards George Lucas because Episode I, 2, and 3 could’ve (could’ve) been this cool and good.
In November, they announced an even more ambitious Phase 3.
They’re going to tackle the Civil War storyline, along with the Infinity War (!), while introducing Doctor Strange (Yay Benedict Cumberbatch!!!!), the Black Panther, Captain Marvel (yay a female lead that’s not Wonder Woman!) and the Inhumans (had to google).
And of course, ending each phase with an Avengers movie.
By now, Marvel has earned my trust in what they have envisioned. Most of the movies have been great (Iron Man 2, Thor 1, Captain America 1 do not exist in my Marvel Cinema Universe — other movies that never happened in my world: Jurassic Park 2&3, Back to the Future 3; Jaws 2, 3, 4; Star Wars Episode 1, 2, and parts of 3; Spider-Man 3; Amazing Spider-man 2; X-Men 3; Godfather 3; Joel Schumacher’s Batman movies; there’s more but next time…) And it’s been exciting to see what’s coming next and has me anticipating how they are going to tackle Civil War and Infinity Wars and the eventual cross over between Guardians and Avengers.
Then there’s the DC response. Man of Steel was mixed at best (I actually liked it — but I’m biased because you know, it’s Superman). Because of the success of the Avengers, it felt like DC rushed to put out a Justice League movie. They announced that the next Superman movie would be Batman v. Superman. Then they announced that Wonder Woman is going to involved. As well as Lex Luthor. As well as perhaps Aqua Man. And Cyborg. Maybe Green Lantern. And Flash. (I also like to note, while Marvel owns the movies, DC owns TV. Arrow and the Flash are great, great shows. But I also said that about Smallville — and I felt like I wasted 10 years of my life when Smallville was done). It just feels like they’re being reactive rather than proactive (a la Marvel). While every fiber of me is anticipating the Batman v. Superman movie, I’m weary that they’re trying to do way too much and it’s just going to be a disaster. Zack Snyder (director of Batman v. Superman) is no Joss Whedon (writer/director of Avengers).
I feel like a lot of churches embrace the DC method (being reactive) rather than the Marvel method (proactive and planning and visioning and sticking to that vision).
Marvel went in assuming that this could all blow up in their faces. But they had a vision and they believed that vision would work and went forth with it. DC rode on the waves of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and envied the success of Marvel’s cinematic phases — particularly the worldwide success of the Avengers.
Churches that are effective have a vision, are willing to take risk, are willing to be proactive (in keeping in line with their vision), and stick to that vision — from the leadership to the attender. The rest of us look at the success of other chuches and say, “They’re doing that. Let’s try that!” Sometimes it works. Most of the time it doesn’t. Because we may not have the resources or human power for that ministry. But mostly because what works for one church doesn’t mean it’ll automatically work for another. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to programming/ministry.
Vision is important.
But so is sticking to the vision. As Andy Stanley says, “Vision leaks.”
We need to constantly remind our folks what God’s vision for our church is. And be faithful and live out that vision.
We need to be intentional in our ministry aligned with what we believe God has called us to do.
Otherwise, we’ll be wasting time and resources by either trying to play copycat church or employ the Let’s-throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks method. Neither, in the long run, are effective.
Where there is no vision, the people will perish. (Proverbs 29:18)
BTW. 2015 is going to be an awesome movie year. Avengers 2. Star Wars Episode 7. Oh man. I’m so excited and I can’t hide it.