Incomplete Igniters: Drawing Conclusions and Providing Answers

As a company, we’ve produced more than 70 videos since we got started in 2003. In that time, the feedback we’ve received has covered the entire spectrum, from effusive praise to unfettered disdain. And hey, art is subjective so everyone is entitled to their opinion. Generally speaking, we’re content to let people feel how they feel about a specific video -- it’s our job to create media, not to influence how you react or respond to what we create. But there is one thread of feedback we would like respond to. I’m paraphrasing here, but it usually goes something like this:

  • Come on, guys! This video stops short of answering the questions it raises. Where’s the conclusion?
  • This video doesn’t contain any scripture references, so I don’t think it’s appropriate for use in our services.
  • It’s a nice story, but the video is light on spiritual application.
  • This video focuses on only one aspect of Jesus’s teachings, but he also taught on other topics. Why didn’t you make mention of those?
  • The video is a nice introduction to this topic, but I would’ve liked to see you dig a little deeper.

We don’t resent this kind of feedback. I promise. We’d just like to address it by sharing our philosophy and some practical considerations. Hopefully, if you’ve ever felt this way about one of our videos, this will give some insight into our creative choices. First, let’s talk about our philosophy.

From the very beginning of Igniter, our goal has always been to supplement teaching in a church setting, not to supplant it. Through our videos we want to illustrate, enhance, or even ignite (I couldn’t resist) what you’re going to talk about. We want to get the conversation going, provide visualization for one of your points, or serve as a conclusion to your message. What we don’t want to do is take the place of your message. We want you to talk about the answers or contextualize the spiritual application for your audience.

That’s why some Igniter Videos feel like they can’t stand on their own -- they’re not meant to. They’re meant to be surrounded by the dialogue you’ve prepared during the week. Our goal is to partner with you in delivering a meaningful message to your congregation, but our part only lasts a few minutes. The rest is your opportunity.

From a practical standpoint, we think we serve you best by creating videos that avoid overly specific messages. For example, there are lot of different ways you could take a sermon about the problem of evil and suffering in the world. And we want you to have the freedom to develop the sermon to you feel led to develop. That’s why a video such as “Chaos” (pictured above) only introduces the the problem of evil and suffering in the world while the soundtrack declares that God is still in control. How you resolve that tension, and the specific Scripture passages you use in the process, are up to you. With an open-ended video like “Chaos,” we feel like we’ve helped introduced a topic and then we’ve gotten out of your way. There are other examples of course, but I think you get the idea.

Ultimately, how you use an Igniter Video is up to you, and we’re okay with that. After all, you know your church, your community, and your message better than we do. God has placed you there to serve His body with your unique gifts, talents, and passions. We’re just here to help.