Christian Media

People on Religious TV Who Don’t Get It

In the cluttered and competitive world of media, the need to be unique and noticed sometimes takes a strange turn.  In my book “Branding Faith” (Now updated to “Unique“) I talk about branding and identity as something that comes out of your nature.  Your brand story is the essence of who you are.  It’s not something you make up or add on, it’s the compelling story about the real you.  But as I watch a new generation of younger pastors and religious TV personalities, I’m noticing such a desperation to get noticed, that they’re often coming up with some really ridiculous things.

Recently, I was watching a pastor being interviewed on a major Christian TV network, and he described his “new revelation” about “atmosphere.” (By the way – whenever someone has a “new revelation” watch out – something weird is about to happen.)  This pastor was all about “atmosphere.”  He said that God had revealed to him that He wouldn’t move unless the right atmosphere was present, so this pastor had begun a new ministry to help people create the right atmosphere so the Holy Spirit could work.

The thought occurred to me that God has worked on battlefields, prisons, drug dens, and lonely city streets.  Miracles have happened in burning buildings, sinking ships, and the chaos of war.  So I doubt the atmosphere has that much to do with it.

My point is that this guy feels so desperate to get noticed, that he really thinks he’s got to come up with something new and big to get people’s attention.  When the truth is, getting noticed isn’t about making something up, it’s about finding out who you really are.

I watch Christian TV these days and hear about money, business principles, positive thinking, motivation, and of course, “atmosphere.”  Or someone will take an obscure scripture out of context and base an entire ministry on what it’s supposed to reveal.

The truth is, I actually miss people preaching the simple but profound message of the Bible.  When they start veering into the wacky, it’s usually more about marketing, than ministry.

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  1. Right on Phil. I know when he says atmosphere, it means the faith that the people are showing… but seriously, what does that do for me? If God told you that, why share it with the world? How does that help a person that is in need of salvation? I believe it does the opposite. I believe that we as a church are forgetting our roots and not learning from the former church leaders. I am not saying that we need to do things the same way they did, but we do need to keep the same principles they did. Thanks for this blog, and thank you for what you stand for Phil.

  2. I must say that a lot of strange things are happening in the body of Christ and 'atmosphere' is just one of many.  I am very worried that we have reached a point where our pastors, preachers, evangelists and all are preaching different messages.  I've heard men of God you respect say, no matter what you do you will still end up in Heaven while I have heard other ministers say, be careful, you just might end up in hell if you do wrong!  Now this is just one example of such, surely this is not helping anybody, certainly not the person who has just received the Lord as Saviour or those who are yet to come.

    We need to get it right, like you have said and preach the gospel as it is.  What can you do though, when someone tells you they received the word in question from the Lord?

  3. Right On Phil,  I am reading your book Branding Faith and it is awesome.  I believe I am freaky these country preachers out here in NC but oh well, that's what Jesus did. 

    It's time to get back to the basics and I truly believe that is what this world is looking for. "Tell me how to live my life on this earth so I can make my home in the eternal one."  I think that so many ministries focus so strongly on the teaching that brought the people to them, that they forget to help the people grow in all areas.  That is how we will have someone that can talk faith, motivation, healing, prosperity but their family doesn't really see the fruit of that same message in their lives.  They have gained head knowledge but not true revelation.

    I have to order more copies of your book to give away cause pastors just don't get it!   

  4. atmosphere…..wait…..I'm getting something in my spirit…..when the room temp hits 72, I will bring it forth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. If only Christian TV would create an "atmosphere" of demanding EXCELLENCE…maybe folks would take notice?  No.  It's the action part of creating the atmosphere that is missed.  Lots of talk….very little action.

  6. I just love your blog Phil, I am not commenting directly to this post, although as usual it is thought provoking and interesting, I also just read about the WOW factor too and it was also good.

    I visiting friends last night and I realised I mentioned you at least twice and spoke on topics found in the pages of your blog often.  

    Thanks for keeping me thinking (and giving me something to talk about)



  7. Good thoughts. It's hard sometimes not to get caught up in the excitement of what other churches are doing and try to replicate that instead pf forwarding the DNA of what God has created in your own church.

  8. The problem is their definition of excellence. If you define excellence as having a set with gold leaf chairs, walls, and big poofy hair then it's an issue if their motive. Perhaps their motive is to make regular people hurl…because that's what I feel like doing when I watch certain Christian television networks and I am a Jesus-Follower to the core baby!

  9. It is our joy and honor to be able to present the clear Biblical preaching of Adrian Rogers.  He was not a wind chaser.  He did not stress and struggle to find the next "relevant" thing to say.  He loved Jesus and preached Him crucified.  One of my favorite things he emphasized was that you can't have Jesus as Savior and not your Lord.  Now that's not a positive, happy, easily digestible concept for many in the church or world, but it is truth. And thanks to God's grace, our friends, and technology we are continuing to spread the hearty Gospel of Christ.

  10. I would even recommend "secularizing" the website. EVERYONE has access to it. and You have to control the outward information.
    It's not hiding God, nothing AT your ministry has to change, but you have to consider the public, non-believers and the media.
    Brand yourself as good, honest, friendly people.
    That's who you are, right? 

  11.  Finding the new thought, revelation, spiritual edge or whatever is a product of how media people approach media. We look for the new story in an old theme. We have in some sense CNNed our church culture. We have applied our understanding of audience to what we do. Is that bad or good? Depends on the use. How we apply those media principles in some cases is troubling to be sure. It all boils down to the heart of the matter. What is the core value to what you do? Why are you doing it? What motivates you? Some people have quietly walked their spiritual walk and in doing so…have cast a long shadow of influence across the world. Mother Teresa. Influence is a by-product of an amazing spiritual journey. Some try to find a unique spiritual journey to gain influence. That's kind of different. But, before we get too happy with ourselves. Stop and think why you do what you do. At times i have stopped fairly ashamed of my own motives. Am I as balanced as I should be in regard to my role in media and faith? We all have our dark corners don't we.        

  12. I love when you bring His word to expose false perceptions or human philosofies.

    Thanks, I enjoyed this article.

    "See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men's ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah). " Colossians 2 (Amplified Bible)

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