Christian Media

Should TV Stations and Networks Re-run Telethons?

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen more and more religious TV stations and networks re-running their fundraising telethons. Is this ethical?  Especially since so many comments made by the hosts have to do with the immediate moment (lot’s of prophecies about money), is this something that’s OK?

The stations and networks say that “If it worked 2 years ago, it will work again.” But with people praying for healings, reporting on the callers and money that’s supposedly coming in at that moment, are we pushing the ethical boundaries?  What do you think?


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  1. Every station and network will always need the same thing…money! So I think its ok to reuse parts of it….but as far as the prophices and things like that..No way take them out in post!!!!!! Anytime their is a word it is for that specific time…and yes i do believe that a word of knowledge can be given over the airways…but for that specific time…so by the time you send it through post and take out the majority of the time you need to fill anyway…heck! Just do another telethon!

  2. If they run a disclaimer across the bottom that clearly states that the telethon people are viewing is a re-run then I think they are fine. Stations re-run programing all the time. But if they are running it as though it is happening right then, they aren't pushing ethical boundries, they've crossed over them. They are essentially asking people for money to meet a need that was addressed by the donors when the telethon originally aired and that pretty much looks like fraud to me and it would causes me to question their integrity.

  3. For many, the motivation for watching Christian Television is based on "The Great Commisson" to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel". By and large, we baby boomers are the ones supporting Christian television because we feel it is import to present the gospel to the world…just like the WWII generation did when Christian TV started in the 70's. As someone who has made Christ the Lord of his life, I don't want to open my spirit to the new age, libral & alternative lifestyle programs presented on PBS. As a producer-director, I come to work every day trying my best to create programs that will lift Jesus up to the world. And if I do that, the bible says, "HE will draw all men unto Him." Do I care about production values? Absolutely! But I really care about telling stories that lead people to Jesus! 

  4. I'm hoping you meant the motivation for PRODUCING Christian television is "The Great Commission".  I'm hard pressed to find the motivation much of the time for actually WATCHING christian TV…and I think it has much to do with the point you've attempted to make in your last post.  I'd LOVE to see Chrisitian television relate to something past the boomers.  You are absolutely right…the boomers and older generations watch and support Chrisitian TV.  Unfortunately viewership and support will end there as well if the product is not brought into the 21st Century.  I'm not disagreeing with your observation regarding the content of PBS.  But I'm at least hoping you'll "open your spirit" to the creative ways in which they attempt to get their message out, truth notwithstanding.  Alternative lifestyles are very prevalent in today's media because they've embraced a 21st Century approach in the delivery of their "message".  Your role as a producer-director is a very important one.  Can we at least be open-minded enough to realize that the "this is the way it's always been done" mentality will result in (if it already hasn't) Christian Television being irrelevant on today's multi-media, multi-channel stage?  I'll be honest.  I was a producer/director in Christian Media and have moved, for the time being, back into "mainstream" media.  It's been a refresher course in "getting the job done" for me.  I'm trusting there will be a day that this experience will lend to helping change the delivery of God's word through TV…for the better.

  5. I guess what I was trying to say is that whatever you produce – sacred or secular – there is a return on the investment. You and I, as a believers, bring an anointing to every project. If I am producing an infomercial or special, the ratings are my barometer for success and the show was the vehicle. Get low ratings, or little response for the product, and the client will not be happy – no matter how beautifully it was shot or lit! There are several new shows being created for Christian Television that are not aimed at boomers – Travel the Road, Drive Thru History are a couple that come to mind. Ed Young & Hillsong are geared for younger audiences too. Matt, my "spirit is open" to new and creative ways to present the gospel as I strive for excellence. In fact, as I travel this week to shoot stories, I will constantly look for ways to raise the bar in both content and production values. I'm not shooting for my reel, I'm telling stories that will bring people to Christ…which has been the call on my life for the past 30 years. You have the same ministry call on your life in "mainstream media" as I do. The hardware is important, but the software [creative ideas] is critical. 

  6. I guess we will agree… agree.  Your last post is dead on.  It doesn't have much to do with the topic of this thread (replaying telethons), but nonetheless, it's dead on.  I agree there are several news shows in the making…but my point is that they are not being "used" to raise further dollars for the networks on which they air.  I think these quality shows and the heart-warming stories you are shooting and producing are MUCH better vehicles for both impacting lives of viewers as well as helping to raise funds for further production.  Christian telethons, as they are currently presented, do not do that.  THAT was my "PBS point".  THey are very good at presenting their quality programming as a reason for supporting them.  Instead, Christian TV (by and large) would rather do another sermon with some canned musical numbers, and even worse, canned applause.  I understand it's the cheap way to go. Unfortunately it also comes across that way.

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