The recent buzz around new Marvel projects such as Shang-Chi and Loki got me thinking: “What does Marvel do so well? And how can we, as the Church, learn from their success?” The answer? It all comes down to storytelling. Over the years, Marvel has learned how to contextualize decades-old stories, captivate audiences, and keep us coming back for more year after year. I’ll be diving into each of these points in separate blog posts, but let’s take a look at the first one now: contextualize.
Contextualization is a common word around OneHope. When my dad launched OneHope in 1987 in El Salvador, he knew that a full text Bible from Genesis to Revelation was not the best solution for school children to engage with God’s Word. The Book of Hope was created to present timeless truths from the Bible in an easy-to-understand and appealing format. We continue to contextualize our programs based on the country, culture, age, language, and need it is designed to reach.
In a similar fashion, Marvel takes characters from decades-old comics and reframes them for today’s context. Captain America debuted in 1941, but still lives on in today’s culture. Marvel comics provide excellent backstories for characters, but we can find even more robust source material in the stories found in God’s Word.
My constant challenge for OneHope, and for the Church as a whole, is this: how can we continue to re-contextualize Bible stories for the next generation? Not changing the fundamental truths, but rather re-packaging them in a way that today’s children want to engage with.