By: KFA
7 Problems with Only Using Free Christian Entertainment

Who doesn’t love something that’s free? Whether it’s a sample from your favorite ice cream parlor or getting that last hole punched on your rewards card, it’s nice to get something for nothing. In today’s culture, we’re used to receiving stuff we like for little to no cost. From YouTube to church activities, Christian families know plenty of ways to entertain themselves without having to spend a lot of cash too. So, is free always a good thing? Perhaps more so for the consumer, but there are problems that arise when we only rely on things that are free. That goes for food, clothing, and even entertainment. Sometimes it’s better to pay a little money for a superior product. Here are seven problems with only using free Christian entertainment.

Artists Need Money Too

Each of us goes to work each day expecting to bring home a paycheck at some point. Imagine yourself showing up to work at a mechanic’s shop, a law firm, or a grocery store and being told “Hey, we really love what you’re doing, but we don’t want to have to pay you anymore.” You’d probably have a lot of questions! What’s interesting, though, is that we are happy to do this in one way or another when it comes to Christian entertainment. Instead of dropping $10 to buy a great new album you’ve been hearing about, you simply listen to it on YouTube or some music streaming service. Over and over you listen to it, loving the encouraging music that gets you through the day. While artists certainly appreciate that their music is finding an audience, that doesn’t necessarily pay the electricity bill and feed their families. When we limit ourselves to only enjoying free Christian entertainment, we’re telling musicians and filmmakers (and all of the people behind the scenes) to work for free.

We Value What We Pay For

On what are you willing to spend the most money? Your car? Shelter? Giving to others? The Bible mentions twice within the Gospels that “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Money is a finite, life-altering asset in our world, so we’re pretty careful to prioritize what we spend it on. Hopefully you tithe, take care of your family, and plan for the future. What do you do with your other money, though? When we only take advantage of free Christian entertainment and refuse to pay for anything else, we’re saying that those films, albums, books, etc. have no value. Now if you’re someone who literally has no interest in Christian entertainment of any kind, then not paying for something you don’t want is simply the free market playing out. If we do want to enjoy these things, however, we have to be willing to share with others what’s valuable to us.

Patronage Shows That Art is Worthwhile

Not only does paying for Christian art show that it has value to us individually as consumers, but that Christian stories are worth telling. How can we sit back and complain about the secular projects being hailed at the Oscars and Grammys when we are unwilling to present Christian content which could be competitive on an artistic level? If even Christians are reluctant to care for faith-based entertainment which tells the stories of believers around the globe, why should anyone else? By branching out and monetarily investing in these projects, even with just a little money at the box office or the bookstore, we are announcing to the world that these stories are worth telling.

Free Christian Entertainment Has Limits

So, is there anything wrong with free Christian entertainment? Absolutely not. For those who are financially lacking, or those following a strict Dave Ramsey-style budget, finding free stuff to enjoy can be a real blessing. But like a 30-day trial with Amazon Prime or a month long tryout of PureFlix, there are limits to what free Christian entertainment can give you. Perhaps it’s not a limitation of time but simply of offerings. There are only so many things out there which are truly free. You may be able to find free Christian entertainment on YouTube or at your local library, but the selection will probably be lackluster. Break free of these limitations by using your money wisely and finding what’s best for you and your family.

If We Don’t Support Christian Art, It Will Disappear from Culture

Popular culture has a certain ebb and flow to it that moves with the taste of the people. There is a reason why we see very few Westerns being made today despite their dominance between the 40s and 70s. Simply put, people don’t care to watch them. Instead we have science fiction, crime dramas, and reality shows taking up much of our entertainment space. If there is no money to be made in Christian entertainment, then it will simply go away. At best it will return to being a niche section of culture as it was before the modern boom of CCM and faith films. Human beings are always seeking out characters and storylines with which they can identify and be entertained, especially in recent years, so without Christian options there will be nothing but the secular world to offer such pursuits.

Audiences Aren’t Owed Anything if They Don’t Pay

Many people feel as if they are owed something today. It doesn’t matter how big your paycheck is, where you live, or how you worship. The convenience of 21st century life in the Western world has created a sense of entitlement for many people and it even carries over into the world of entertainment. The thing is, though, the only opinions that really matter are those of people who actually have a stake in the matter. If you’re only taking in free Christian entertainment and not putting down money for these artists and creators, then you can’t expect to have a say in how things are handled or what art is made. You aren’t just buying an album or a movie ticket when you lay your money on the line, you’re pulling up a seat at the table.

Free Entertainment Makes the Consumer the Product

There’s one side of “free” things people don’t like to talk about. Whether it’s social media or Google, or some other content creator, these free resources are only just that because they are selling the information from their users to third parties. Have you ever noticed that, after browsing Amazon for new camping equipment, you go over to Facebook and start seeing eerie product placements related to what you’ve been shopping for elsewhere? That’s because many free sites are turning their users into the product by telling advertisers “Hey, he’s really interested in *this* new camera.” When you start paying for your entertainment, you’ll find that the transaction is much more upfront.

We want you to know there’s nothing wrong with enjoying free Christian entertainment. Take advantage of your church library, browse YouTube, and enjoy whatever free trial you can get. Just be sure to not completely turn your back on the many creative people involved in these industries by turning up your nose when they ask for an exchange of money and art. Support the musicians, authors, and filmmakers you enjoy whenever you can so that we can continue to see these projects flourish and grow.

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