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Posted 10/21/14 at 9:46 AM | Phil Cooke
From time to time I’m asked “Is anyone doing Christian media well?” It’s a good question, since so many are doing it badly. I often joke that I want to create a Museum of Bad Christian Media, but I can’t find a building big enough. But the truth is, many are doing it right. So from time to time on this blog I’m going to highlight media leaders and organizations that are making a difference. This list isn’t about theological persuasion or doctrinal differences. It’s about people who are making a significant difference through media. Here’s a handful we can start with:
Brian Houston – Pastor, Hillsong Church in Sydney. When it comes to legacy, Brian will have built a pretty serious one, and a significant part of that is media. Hillsong Church created a worship music platform before many knew what worship music was, and from Darlene Zschech to Hillsong United, they’re changing the way the church worships. He’s built a team that’s not only launched churches around the world, but used television, short films, social media, and now feature films to share a message about Jesus. Hillsong NYC’s “No Other Name” campaign in Time Square was seen throughout the world, and the feature film “Let Hope Rise” featuring Hillsong United will be released the week of April 1, 2015 by Warner Brothers Pictures. FULL POST
Posted 10/20/14 at 11:46 AM | Phil Cooke
It started when Fox News broke the explosive story: “The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, or gender identity. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.” The Houston Chronicle reported it began with Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance driven by Annise Parker (pictured above), Houston’s first openly lesbian mayor and approved by the city council in June. A group of Houston pastors opposing the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot. But in a controversial turn the city unexpectedly tossed out the petition in August over alleged “irregularities.” The opponents of the non-discrimination bill (which originally included among other things that men could use women’s restrooms and visa-versa – but that point was pulled early over the criticism) filed a lawsuit, and the city attorney responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors. FULL POST
Posted 10/15/14 at 9:10 AM | Phil Cooke
It’s widely believed that in the digital age, television is dead. But as with many rumors, nothing could be further from the truth. That lesson is supported by recent research from Nielsen Ratings. Plus, you’ll be surprised at who’s watching TV versus spending time online. Here’s some of the findings:
Number of TV channels in the average home in America: 189
Number of channels consistently watched per home: 17
50% of all TV viewing comes from 20% of the audience.
705 minutes – the average time “heavy” viewers watch TV per day.
86% of Americans use their smartphones as a “second screen” while watching TV. But watching TV is their primary behavior.
There’s much more in the report, and here’s a list of Nielsen reports on media and entertainment. My point is that we don’t learn anything from rumor and myth. Understanding behavior is critical to connecting with audiences in the 21st century. FULL POST
Posted 10/14/14 at 10:30 AM | Phil Cooke
In the digital age, there’s plenty of controversy about traditional advertising versus digital advertising and social media (not to mention guerrilla advertising.) But a recent survey from HUB Entertainment Research reveals the truth about how people find new TV programs. The results may be surprising:
58% – Traditional Advertising
41% – Word of Mouth
34% – TV Channel Guide
20% – Facebook Post
19% – Editorial Content
11% – Previews
10% – Recommended by Sites and Apps
6% – Twitter Post
4% – Other Social Media
In the survey, nearly 60% of viewers aged 16-64 who watch at least 5 hours of TV per week and use social media at least once a month say they started watching a new show because of traditional advertising. And according to Variety Magazine, once viewers become fans of a show, about half will engage with the content on social media, but they don’t make it a habit. FULL POST
Posted 10/10/14 at 10:30 AM | Phil Cooke
There’s a flood of self-help and positive thinking books and teaching out there, and it’s infected the church in a big way as well. I’m a positive person, but it doesn’t take much study of great leaders and innovators to realize that life isn’t about what most people call “success.” That’s why a recent devotional from 843 Acres caught my attention. If you don’t receive Park Forum’s 843 Acres email devotional, I highly recommend it, because in this case, I can do no better than simply quote it and ask you to compare it to how you evaluate your accomplishments in life:
Success: On Wall Street, success is measured when the closing bell rings. On Capitol Hill, it’s measured when constituents cast their votes. When it comes to our lives, however, how do we measure success? How do we determine whether a life was well lived? FULL POST
Posted 10/8/14 at 9:39 AM | Phil Cooke
You could probably define my life as being filled with unexpected events. So much so that I believe many of the best things I’ve experienced in life, I discovered on the road to something I thought was better. In this age of hyper-productivity, we set goals and then lock our eyes on the end result until it’s achieved. But in the process, we often miss serendipitous things that occur along the journey. For instance:
- I was a gymnast and track man in high school and competed in both sports at the state level. As a result, I had multiple athletic scholarships offered to me from East Coast universities. But my dad suggested I attend a “college weekend” just to see the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. I went just to make him happy, but the experience that weekend completely changed my thinking about college. At the time, ORU didn’t even have the sports I excelled in. But that seemingly random experience changed the direction of my life when I ditched the athletic plans and enrolled at ORU. FULL POST
Posted 10/7/14 at 4:36 PM | Phil Cooke
In 1925, apparently there were so many distractions in the typical workplace, that Hugo Gernsback – a writer, inventor, publisher, and member of the American Physical Society decided to do something about it. Gernsback was called by some the “Father of Science Fiction.” His writing was well known, and he created the first science fiction magazine. The result of his work on the distraction issue was called “The Isolator” and was published in the 1925 issue of “Science and Invention.”
The “Isolator” is designed to help focus the mind when reading or writing, not only by by eliminating all outside noise, but in a very interesting design, allowed the user to read just a single line of text at a time through a horizontal slit.
So the next time you feel like the distractions of the workplace are getting the best of you, just think about Hugo Gernsback, and remember that for every time and every culture, “distraction” means different things to different generations. FULL POST
Posted 9/29/14 at 3:18 PM | Phil Cooke
My friend Seth Godin wasn’t writing this for pastors, but when I read it, I realized pastors were exactly the right audience for this piece. Read it through and let me know if you agree. And perhaps more important – if you’ve ever experienced one or more of these types of folks in your church or ministry:
“The pedant (that’s what we call someone who is pedantic, a picker of nits, eager to find the little thing that’s wrong or out of place) is afraid. He’s afraid and he’s projecting his fear on you, the person who did something, who shipped something, who stood up and said, “here, I made this.”
Without a doubt, when the Beatles played Shea Stadium, Paul was a little out of tune. Without a doubt, the Gettysburg Address had one or two word choice issues. Without a doubt, that restaurant down the street isn’t perfect.
That’s okay. They made something.
Sure, make it better, by all means put in the time to bring us your best work. But no, of course not, no, the pedant is not our audience, nor is he making as much of a difference as he would like to believe.” FULL POST
Posted 9/25/14 at 10:03 AM | Phil Cooke
Mary Hutchinson, direct response maven from “Inspired Direct” outside Boston sent me this most excellent post that you should forward to anyone considering going on TV or starting a non-profit or religious media ministry:
Five Things You Need to Get a Response on TV
Non-profits, religious organizations, and infomercial producers are still expanding their scope to the airwaves. And why shouldn’t they? We live in a media-savvy culture, one that spends, on average, more than 20 hours a week in front of the television. Competition for our attention – like the Internet – certainly exists, but no other medium has the ubiquitous reach that television does. It’s still the one we turn to most often for news, weather, products, entertainment . . . and, for some, God.
My experience with television response brings to the forefront five fundamental functions every successful one has to have in place before airing its first program. Whether you’re a small church hoping to broadcast your Sunday service each week on a local TV channel, selling products, or raising money for a cause these aspects of response TV are must-haves and will lay the foundation for connecting with an audience. FULL POST
Posted 9/24/14 at 9:57 AM | Phil Cooke
I’ve spent years studying the impact of today’s distracted culture, but I wasn’t quite ready for the results of a new study by Science Magazine. Last month the magazine revealed just how difficult and unpleasant people think it is to sit alone with nothing to do but think. The magazine states: “In the study, participants were asked to rate the pleasantness of a number of stimuli, including an electric shock, and asked how much they’d pay (up to $5) to experience (or not) each stimulus. They were then asked to sit alone with their thoughts, but told that they could shock themselves if they wanted. Among those who thought the shocks were particularly unpleasant and would pay to avoid them, 67% of men and 25% of women nonetheless shocked themselves instead of sitting alone with their thoughts.
“Without such training,” the researchers reflected, “people prefer doing to thinking, even if what they are doing is so unpleasant that they would normally pay to avoid it. The untutored mind does not like to be alone with itself.” FULL POST