I think I first ran across the video resource Chuck Knows Church on a friend’s Facebook page. After just a few clicks, I bookmarked the website as a handy resource for engaging congregations in topical and humorous instructional videos. In my course at Luther, Money & Mission of the Church, we analyzed the Chuck Knows Church stewardship video called “The Committee: Stewardship.” I’m grateful that a student in the course, Dan Pennington, has offered the following review. Next week, I’ll consider a resource published more than a hundred years prior. Faithful stewardship leadership requires new tricks as well as old standards.
Adam J. Copeland, Director
Center for Stewardship Leaders
Chuck Knows Church Goes Long on Stewardship
by Dan Pennington
When I watched the Chuck Knows Church video “The Committee: Stewardship” and a related one called “The SUB-Committee: The Slogan” for the second time for this review, my wife overheard some of each and asked the critical question, “How much of these stewardship videos could we actually show a congregation — or are they just for church leaders?” This really is the crucial issue for those who might consider sharing this multimedia experience with their congregations in regard to stewardship practices. As a seminary student, my answer has to be “context, context, context.” But first, a bit about Chuck Knows Church and the stewardship video.
Chuck Knows Church claims that its online videos, “help interpret complex subjects and issues in a fun, yet informative, way” through two series of short productions published on YouTube and available for download at https://www.chuckknowschurch.com. I agree with their self-assessment.
The “Original Series” contains videos which are normally 2-5 minutes long and focus on explaining churchy stuff — words, symbols and objects. “The Committee” series contains longer productions, the stewardship video running almost 14 minutes.
All the videos feature actor Josh Childs as “Chuck.” He may come off sounding like a down-to-earth pastor or a very well informed lay leader, but his presentation is inviting, and in the shorter clips he encourages his viewers to speak with their pastor or priest if they have questions.
As far as “The Committee: Stewardship” is concerned, the actors offer up their characters’ developing ideas and attitudes about stewardship, including:
- how and why we give to the church,
- what this says about our relationship to God,
- the role that joyful giving can play in our lives,
- how this might positively affect our relationship with God,
- and some interpretations of “The Widow’s Mite” and “Rich Young Man” stories from the gospels.
At one point they even define stewardship as “the joy of generous giving” through the “aha” moment of the most judgmental and duty-bound member of “the committee.”
“The Committee: Stewardship” is a funny and helpful video which shows how regular church folks can have real discussions, push back against each other a bit, and still keep a family attitude towards renewing their sense of mission. Much of the levity in this particular video is set up by using characters of a given type which most of us will likely recognize, often resemble, and hopefully find funny enough to alleviate the tension.
I also caution, however, that using these Committee videos could offend a sensitive viewer who feels singularly lampooned. The little side shots about typical human behavior may shoot a little too close to home for some, or offend those with opposing views on stewardship. Of course, the video self-lampoons Chuck and his faithful listeners, too.
As a self-confessed Christian-under-development I enjoy having a good laugh at myself, especially in this video which expresses opinions I may have held at one time about matters of giving. Any group that is reasonably confessional may have no trouble laughing at themselves in this mirror, so in that case enjoy the videos together. As for using the videos for your congregation, you know your congregation best. I ultimately recommend the videos and the accompanying study guide as good starter tools for learning healthy stewardship concepts.
Note: only use “The SUB-Committee: The Slogan” video for the deeply confessional group, and in tandem with (and following) the stewardship campaign slogan exercise in the study guide. This video is a hoot, but if it hits a bullseye someone might really resent it.
Dan Pennington is a Senior Master of Divinity student at Luther Seminary, recently called to Bethany Lutheran Church of Star Prairie, Wisconsin pending his imminent graduation. His wife Katherine is a pastor.
All funding for Chuck Knows Church videos was provided by Discipleship Ministries, an international agency of The United Methodist Church. As the website suggests, “If you are a United Methodist, your generous support of The World Service Fund helps support Chuck Knows Church.” All Chuck Knows Church videos are yours to view anywhere, post anywhere, duplicate, and giveaway.
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