Christian MediaEngaging Culture

Why Discuss and Debate Christian Media (including TV Evangelists)?

Over the years on this blog, I’ve generated some interesting responses about TV evangelists and the perceived excesses of some.  Many people have read and responded, and many were very passionate about their position.  But since I do get some criticism for my positions, I think it’s very important we look at why I created this blog and why this conversation about media, faith, and culture is so important.

First – I’m not interested in just criticizing. Anybody can do that, and frankly, there are a lot of blogs out there from people who criticize when they have nothing at stake and no real risk.  My goal is to start a conversation about the change revolution that’s happening in media, and how we get our message heard in a media-driven culture.

Second – at philcooke.com it’s not necessarily about theology or financial accountability. Those issues are important, but there a lot better experts and commentators on those issues out there.  We’re not here to discuss word of faith, Calvinism, eschatology, the rapture, or anything else related to theological issues.  We’re also not financial accountability critics.  I wish more religious media organizations were more theologically astute and had more financial integrity, but there are better commentators on those issues.  (And some really bad ones as well).

Third –  I have some risk involved. I’m not a “couch critic.”  I work with many of these churches and ministries, and some are clients right now.  As some readers have noted in their responses, I do have something at stake here – my business.  Could I lose some clients as a result of my positions?  Absolutely.  But I prefer to think of this blog in relation to faith based media somewhat like the movie “Galaxy Quest” was to “Star Trek.”  It poked fun at the Star Trek series, but as you watched “Galaxy Quest” you realized that the creators of that movie loved “Star Trek.”  They criticized and poked fun, but did it out of respect and love.  That’s the way I write.  I’ve worked in religious media for a long time.  I see the impact it can make, but I also see a lot of abuses, excesses, and bonehead strategy.  I don’t write because I hate these organizations.  Quite the opposite, I see their ships heading toward the rocks, and like a lighthouse, I’m trying to point the way out.  That might be a little melodramatic, but it’s about calling attention to problems, so we can get them fixed.  For way too long in this industry, we’ve seen issues and not spoken up.  This blog is that forum.  It’s time to call each other (including me) to a higher standard.

Fourth – This conversation is about the change that’s happening in media, and why we need to respond. It’s about the changes in the digital media world that are having an impact on our message.  It’s about why Billy Graham style movies don’t work anymore, the role media is playing in the emerging church, engaging our culture more effectively, and how to communicate in a media-driven world.  You’ll read (and see) more on this blog about those issues.

Will it offend?  If you’re stuck in traditional religious radio and TV, yes.  If you’re not interested in creativity and innovation, yes.  If you happy with where you are, yes.

But if you’re ready to see a change in the way people of faith communicate their message to he world, and ready to engage this culture, then this is the blog for you.

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13 Comments

  1. Phil, your views (and the blog) are a breath of fresh air in American Christianity today. Keep up what you're doing, you have the spirit and the mindset of a reformer!

    (and I hope we can have you come to Bulgaria soon 🙂

     

     

     

  2. You'll always work with others that are just trying to get by.  That's why I appreciate visiting your blog each day and reading about your experience and joining in (responding) with others trying to make trails into the next step of Christian Media.

  3. One thing that concerns me is how few ministries have “real” boards.

    Other non profits have a board that the head of the ministry actually reports to. They look at results, legal matters, ROI, capitol campaigns, salaries, perks. They are a governing body that serves both the charity and the public that supports it.

    In the ministry world, too often boards are made up of friends, family members, celebrities and long time staff members who have never worked anywhere else. Their role is limited to hearing and agreeing with the vision, rather than helping to shape and manage it.

     That creates a world where this is no accountability. For now, the church world is not required to file the same level of reports as other non profits, fund raisers are not required to register. But as many mega-ministries come under the spotlight of the media, those rights are in danger.

    The truth is, a typical visionary does not want to be held back by a board. I have worked with enough bad boards to understand their concern.

    But there has to be a better way …a way that God would be pleased with…what is it?

  4. Phil, bring it as the spirit leads brother! Keep it real and keep telling us how you really feel … that is why I and others are here and hit this blog daily to see what the latest discussions are. I am encouraged to see people here use their real names, put their work and websites on the line and come out of the closet with their Christian beliefs and “Christian media” beliefs.

    For too long I’ve been the type to criticize complain and hide under an alias of some sort. When I first saw this blog and saw that you were willing to lay it on the line with your associates, clients and such, I was drawn to take part in the conversation and do the same.

    Thanks for leading the way and keep up the good work.

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