In the new age of technology people who create content can be compensated for their hard work easier than ever before. While content creators have long worked for tips (think of the musician on a street corner), social media platforms have now brought this concept to anyone. Patreon does it well by allowing creators to provide exclusive content to paying subscribers. Twitter also recently added a ‘tip’ button for followers to give money to accounts they enjoy.
No platform does this kind of rewarding better than Twitch. A video streaming platform, Twitch allows creators to livestream themselves playing a game, performing, or simply talking to anyone who is willing to watch. The creator only needs a computer and a webcam to instantly connect themselves with an audience.
It is free to anyone to watch the creator on Twitch (albeit with a few advertisements) but viewers can also support the streamer via donations. This system is put in place so that the creator can be on Twitch as much as possible instead of working a normal 9-5 job. During a Twitch stream the creator can be playing a game while thousands of people interact in the comments. People who donate during the stream will get “shoutouts” from the creator when they get a chance to glimpse at their comment section.
Twitch has figured out a system where loyal fans can interact and support their favorite creators in ways that are beneficial to both sides. Maybe there are some things that churches can take away from this system of “donations.”
Churches provide worship services to anyone who is interested in attending and nowadays they even livestream the content to an ever-widening audience. Churches have long provided great content, and people voluntarily give in support of the effort. I would say churches are the original Twitch! Loyal followers donate or tithe to the cause so that the people who put so much effort into the production can be compensated accordingly.
The experience is not cutoff to just members though, services are open to anyone who wants to explore what church has to offer. These people are not pressured to pay for what is provided, but if they appreciate it can be given the opportunity to give. More importantly, they can be turned into the dedicated members that are inclined to ‘subscribe’ or give on a normal basis.
The primary takeaway from the comparison of Twitch and the church is that it is the content that ultimately drives the success. Creators and churches alike need to focus on the content and message they are pushing. Churches have a built-in advantage with an exceptional message. Combined with staying authentic and true to themselves, the “subscribers” will continue to grow as a byproduct of the great content and hard work.