Long but amazing day last Sunday in Australia. We started out at Hillsong Church and heard Brian Houston on Mother’s Day, and then went to Christian City Church with pastor Phil Pringle. Both pastors are real innovators, and both are great examples of presenting the Christian faith in a contemporary, compelling way – but keeping their unique personalities. They both understand the power of music and media, and both have made a significant impact around the world. I had an interesting talk with Phil Pringle after his service on Sunday night about media, and the direction he’s going.
He really understands the power of alternative media like Youtube, and regularly shoots and edits his own clips for that site. Although he does a traditional, weekly TV program in Australia, he knows the next generation of media users won’t be like the last, so he’s experimenting to explore the possibilities. Is there a funding model for this approach? Not yet. We’re all still seeking a funding model that will help us generate the finances to make it a viable medium for the future. I’ve often said that the person who changes religious media won’t be the “creative” person, it will be the “financial” person – the man or woman who develops a more effective funding model than the current “paid time” model you see with 99% of religious media.
Later Sunday night I also was interviewed on 103.2 FM in Sydney. It was the “Open House” program with Sheridan Voysey, and we discussed faith-based media, being a believer in Hollywood, and the impact media is having in Australia.
Possibly the single most important fact I walked away with from the day was that in Australia, there’s a remarkable amount of teamwork between churches and ministry organizations. Sadly, we don’t see that much cooperation in the United States. Perhaps it the famous Western “rugged individualism” that America is so famous for, but being a lone wolf certainly has it’s limitations – especially in the digital age. I was really impressed at the level of cooperation for major events and movements in Australia, and the almost non-existent level of competition.
The complexity and technological depth of the 21st century is going to require that type of teamwork, and the Christian community in Australia is certainly ready to face that challenge.