Okay, so you probably clicked on this title expecting me to say something crazy. Just to let you know upfront, the title is total clickbait.
“Clickbait” is a term created for crazy headlines that are so dramatic or crazy that you find yourself clicking on it just to see if it can promise what the title claims. There are some very common titles used for this. Lines like, “What happens next will surprise you.” Or “This one food could save your life.” One study showed that almost 20 percent of headlines are click bait.
This type of hyped branding works on some of our most basic instincts. We want to be shocked and moved out of our routine, and we are fans of certain types of drama.
Men and women respond very differently to click bait. Men are more likely to watch someone get hurt in a comedic or even serious way while women are more interested in fitness and food trends.
Oxford Dictionary defines clickbait as “content whose main purpose is to attract attention to a particular website.
This means that the goal of these types of titles is not to actually educate you on the topic promised but to simply increase the amount of traffic to their site. The more traffic they have, the more money they make from advertisers.
In order to compete with each other, websites have had to create more and more outrageous titles. I once saw one that said, “Man tries to hug a wild lion, you won’t believe what happens next!”
The popularity of clickbait titles tells us that we currently value entertainment more than content. It’s not as though nobody knows the intention these titles; most of you can automatically tell what is and what isn’t clickbait.
Yet, we still slide our mouse over the title and press the button. We have become so entertainment driven and so used to things being devoid of good solid content that it has found its way into the church.
I know it’s possible because I have seen it happen. A pastor creates a sermon series with a crazy title and then delivers content that could just as easily be found in a self-help book. There may be a Bible verse scattered here and there, but the main result isn’t godliness; it’s people being entertained by music and funny stories for an hour.
I have nothing against self-help speakers, well-crafted music or catchy titles, but I do think we suffer from a lack of solid biblical content in many churches.
The upcoming generation of believers is going to need more than catchy slogans. They will need to be able to articulate their beliefs in schools and universities that are hostile to Christianity. They will need to be able to contrast their beliefs against other faiths to show the truthfulness of Christianity.
All of this can be accomplished simply by teaching biblical truths at a deeper level. We must help the next generation understand Scripture in a fuller way than we currently do, or we will be enticed by clickbait churches who are more about entertainment than truth.