Country Church Studio’s Animation Captures Award and Attention

By Kevin Scott Collier

by Danielle Dolin

On the 20th of November this year my wife and I received The Gutenberg Award, presented to St. John Lutheran Church of Jenison, MI, “for embracing and integrating modern communication channels to build community and spread the saving power of the Gospel.” This took place at the All Church Workers event in Grand Rapids, an occasion attended by thousands of guests, hosted by the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

How did this little country church with as few as 50 people attending a Sunday service capture such an award? One word. Animation. Original cartoons created to spread the Gospel.

St. John, Jenison, is the location of Allendale Christian Media, two rooms set aside in the church to create Christian digital media content. Unlike most churches, which turn out videos representing their internal worship functions or Bible studies, ACM Studios wanted to reach out beyond serving a building or congregation.

Jesus teaches us to “go forth and make disciples.” Video that only serves a congregation or that is a vehicle to attract people to visit your church misses a global audience. In Mark 16:15 Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” The internet, rife with video hosting platforms, makes this possible.

Remember, creating Christian digital content should be considered a ministry outreach. Reaching out is making disciples. Capturing a potentially large audience, whether faith-based or mainstream, animated cartoons have always been the preferred entertainment of families everywhere. With Disney’s fall from grace due to its woke direction, the market is opening up their doors to decent, ethical family entertainment.

Most of the Christian animation being produced today retells stories from the Bible, like Noah’s Ark and David and Goliath. That’s fine if Sunday School classrooms are your target, but to be an outreach in the mainstream, original characters and faith-based tales can compete.

I believe faith-based entertainment is slowly becoming “the new mainstream” for society. More and more, families want “safe viewing” for their children. While the culture seems to have changed, this rule remains the same. Families still want “safe viewing.” Jesus is more than safe.

St. John of Jenison’s ACM Studios has released two animated cartoon series, TINY OCEAN TAILS Series  and BIBLE BEA . TOT presents undersea faith-based stories featuring a cast of five main characters and guests that pop in fitting a spiritual lesson. Bible Bea features a bee named Beatrice, who explains Scripture using colorful graphics on a chalkboard. Whether Christian or not, “safe viewing” is the preferred children’s content selection by parents. Thus, a faith-based program slides right into home base.

These two cartoons are heading to Tubi, the largest advertiser supported free video on demand platform in the world. Tubi boasts 74 million monthly viewers worldwide. The Gutenberg Award, which observed these two cartoons, reminds us that embracing and integrating modern communication channels expands the body of Christ by spreading the saving power of the Gospel.

If you have a video production station in your church that is looking to become a global outreach ministry, look into animation. Open up a dialogue in your congregation to attract creatives into the process. You likely have high school or college grads that have technical skills, are artistic, can write stories, create characters, even do voiceover work. Buy the animation software and install it on a computer. At our church, we’ve had elementary school students get involved in making animated cartoons.

What are you waiting for?

Kevin Scott Collier is an award-winning author and illustrator of several hundred books, animator and co-founder of Collier Animation Studio Collier Animation Studio – Home , and co-director of Allendale Christian Media.

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