Ripped open the packaging for Not a Fan earlier this week. For me, not many small group studies are as eagerly anticipated as anything new from Kyle Idleman and the crew at City on a Hill Productions. The first production that I ran across was H2O and it was really groundbreaking. Not at all a talking head, it was a much more cinematic experience. H2O was followed by the Easter Experience…again a beautiful production. I wrote a review of the Easter Experience right here.
Much like their two earlier projects, Not a Fan is a very dramatic effort. Great storytelling keeps you engaged in the core message: Jesus is not looking for fans. He’s looking for followers. Followers who understand that:
- There is no forgiveness without repentance
- There is no salvation without surrender
- There is no life without death
- There is no believing without following
Each of the 6 episodes follow the life of Eric Nelson, in a kind of contemporary version of a gospel story. For example, the story of Matthew unfolds in the telling of a modern day failure. Gary’s life is a mess. He comes to the place where he figures out that his life of regret is killing him. Interspersed with Idleman’s narration, the 25 minute segment flies by, setting up a great discussion. And a key to this study might be, once you start watching…it’s very hard to stop. You’ll be drawn into a very familiar story. There will definitely be many very recognizable situations. And you’ll find yourself thinking…that could be me.
After making the distinction between a fan and a follower in Luke 9:23, the series takes a look at Matthew, the Rich Young Ruler, a series of might be followers who needed to “count the cost” in Luke 9:57-62.
One challenge for many churches will be the cost. The base price of $69.99 per DVD is expensive when compared to most of the other DVD-driven curriculum. Although there is a discount with larger purchases (a purchase of 10 DVDs reduces the price by 15% to $59.99 a DVD), it might be prohibitive for some congregations. Still, when you consider that a DVD can be used more than once, it could be a great investment.
Another challenge might be the level of leadership required to really pull off the kind of discussion that leads to personal action. Believe me, there will be discussion. In that sense, this series will ignite conversation and passionate discussion, much like a great movie will leave people with a genuine desire to talk about it. At the same time, the level of leadership will determine whether it was a great 6 weeks or the beginning of a new and different lifestyle; whether the members of the group remain fans…or truly begin to move toward follower.
Despite the challenges, this is a great new DVD-driven curriculum and there are definitely going to be raging fans of Not a Fan. Better, this is a series that will mark lives. Not a Fan, maybe like an Alpha experience designed to produce fully devoted followers, will help fans become followers.
You can find out more about the series right here. You can even watch a little bit of a sample. I think you’re going to be captivated.