The Change Revolution
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Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke is changing the way business, church, and non-profit leaders influence and engage the culture. A writer, speaker, & filmmaker, Christianity Today magazine calls him a "media guru." His media company, Cooke Pictures, advises many of the largest and most effective churches & non-profit organizations in the world, and his books and online blog at are changing the way they tell their story.  His newest book “One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do” is set to release in July of 2012 from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Posted 8/28/14 at 9:56 AM | Phil Cooke

Mastering Media is Knowing What Each Platform Does Best

Too many people use media randomly, with no real strategic vision. Perhaps a friend recommended local TV, or a board member suggested billboards, or a church youth director likes social media. All these platforms and others are important, but they question is: Why? While I could write many books on the subject, here’s a short list of what differentiates some of the major media platforms:

Newspaper Advertising:
• An affective way to reach 50+ adults since they are the primary readers of newspapers.
• Newspapers are by definition a local media tool and can provide opportunities to create “newsworthiness”.
• Newspapers are good for more in-depth stories.

• Research indicates the typical household watches over 7+ hours of TV daily. (Some research says 8 hours per day).
• TV still delivers the largest audiences for specific programming.
• Blockbuster movies get more publicity, but the truth is, a popular TV series reaches far more people.
• The growing number of special interest TV channels provides opportunities to target specific audiences and leverage their interests. FULL POST

Posted 8/27/14 at 9:27 AM | Phil Cooke

The Cost of Being a Leader With Last Minute Ideas

The lesson for today:  If you’re ideas are delivered last minute, the execution will be half baked. One of the most frequent frustrations I hear from creative teams, media directors, advertising agencies, copywriters, and designers is that the executive, CEO, pastor, or other leader comes up with ideas at the last minute, but still expects them delivered on a deadline. It’s actually an age-old problem called:

Cheap / Quick / Good

This graphic says it best.

Yes – you think your team works miracles. And the truth is, they’ve probably killed themselves to meet your demands, but I can guarantee you, it’s taken a toll on their emotions, energy level, passion, and loyalty.

Keep it up, and in most cases, two things will happen: FULL POST

Posted 8/26/14 at 9:33 AM | Phil Cooke

How Your Message is Delivered is Just as Important as the Message Itself

Now before you crucify me for heresy, let me explain. My father was a pastor back in the 50’s and 60’s, and compared to today, getting his message out was easy. Church was a big part of life back then, and the distractions were very few. But today?

Here’s a few stats to put it in perspective:
The average cable network has 180 channels – some up to 500 channels.
Facebook has more than a billion users.
Social media is now the #1 activity on the web.
Some researchers indicate that the average person is bombarded with 5,000 media message every day.
You can hardly go anywhere on the planet without receiving some type of signal – cell, wifi, radio, TV, short wave, etc.

The challenge you face today is competition.  Hyper competition. Which means that with so many choices out there for a person’s attention, how your message is delivered is more important than ever. My experience is that it only takes a few seconds to decide what TV program to watch and it only takes 1 second to decide which online article to read.

Delivery matters today – and it’s not just about media.  I have a friend who refuses to visit a dentist. It’s not about the treatment or even the pain. But an incompetent dentist in the past keeps him from ever trying it again. There are millions of those stories related to bad experiences purchasing a product, attending church, and more. FULL POST

Posted 8/25/14 at 10:29 AM | Phil Cooke

You Are Not a Storyteller

This two minute interview with Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is absolutely right on. However I hesitated posting it because of the profanity. But the subject is so good and so timely I decided to post it anyway. If you’re fed up like me with all the people calling themselves “storytellers” out there, then this is for you. He doesn’t mince words, and hence the profanity. If you’re offended, don’t watch. But if you’re not, it’s well worth two minutes:

Stefan Sagmeister - You are not a storyteller

Posted 8/21/14 at 1:00 PM | Phil Cooke

The Longer the Speaker Biography, the Less Experienced the Speaker

Photo: Flickr/Douglas Heriot - Creative Commons

Let me know if you’ve seen this rule in action: Novice or less-experienced conference speakers have the longest bios in the program. I was guilty of this for years because I was desperate to make people think I was worthy of speaking at the event. I wanted to impress people. (I admit it.) But I started noticing major speakers have the shortest biography in the program. Why?

They don’t need to impress anyone.  If they’ve written books, or consulted for years, or have a track record, they don’t need to show off in their speaker bio. And while you’re at it, have a little fun. Here’s the bio for Jonathan Bock, founder and CEO of motion picture marketing and public relations firm Grace Hill Media: FULL POST

Posted 8/19/14 at 10:30 AM | Phil Cooke

Warning Signs of Bad Christian Television

Book cover for The Last TV Evangelist

In my book “The Last TV Evangelist: Why The Next Generation Couldn’t Care Less About Christian Media – And Why It Matters,” I released a list of mistakes that reveal when Christians are dropping the ball – particularly on television. Some readers have called it “TV Evangelist Porn.” While that may be a stretch, it does echo just how out of sync with good taste these “offenses” are:

OFFENDER #1: If you talk in a different voice when the camera is turned on.   Love it or hate it, reality programming has left an indelible mark on the industry. So when you appear on your program with your “classic TV voice” it sticks out like a sore thumb. There are numerous ministry leaders who are gracious and authentic when talking with friends. But turn on the camera, and they become someone else. Be real. Speak normally. It doesn’t make you more anointed or powerful when you try to sound like God. The “over the top” era is done. FULL POST

Posted 8/19/14 at 10:12 AM | Phil Cooke

Be Careful Using a Tablet for Speaking Notes

Photo: Thomas van de Weerd - Creative Commons

I love technology and I applaud speakers, preachers, teachers and others who use an iPad or other tablet for your speaking notes. But as much I want people to know you’re savvy with technology, here’s a few cautions – some issues I’m seeing a lot out there on podiums, pulpits, and classrooms:

1) Speakers tend to hunch over when using a tablet.  I watched a teacher last week spend his entire talk hunched over the podium looking at his tablet like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. You can see paper notes from every angle and direction, but it’s not so easy with a tablet. Hunched over, you look like you’re in your own little world and not interested in the audience.

2) Speakers tend to lose eye contact with the audience when using a tablet.  It’s a smaller space than a piece of paper so you tend to turn pages more often and struggle to keep track of where you are on the screen. As a result, you lose eye contact with the audience, and when you do that, you lose them. FULL POST

Posted 8/17/14 at 8:28 AM | Phil Cooke |


Robin Williams' Death and Why the World Thinks Christians Are Idiots

Photo: Flickr/Eva Rinaldi - CC

It’s already begun.  Just days after the tragic death of actor and comedian Robin Williams, Christians are coming up with the “answers,” and (surprise) pitching their DVD’s in the process. The most widely promoted so far is Robin Williams: The Sad Truth The Media Won’t Tell You from over at “Good Fight Ministries.” In the article it states: “Robin Williams acknowledged that he had opened himself up to transformative demonic powers that aided him on stage.” I’d encourage you to read the quote that statement is based on.

Having worked in Hollywood for more than 30 years, the idea Robin’s talking about in the quote isn’t “demon possession” but a common term actors use to fill a character. I’m sure writer Joe Schimmel is trying to do the right thing, but using that quote as a guide, he would have to (and perhaps does) assume every actor and comedian in Hollywood is demon possessed. FULL POST

Posted 8/13/14 at 9:22 AM | Phil Cooke

When Leaders Don't Enjoy Spending Time With Their Team

lonely man looks at river
Photo: Flickr/robertsharp - Creative Commons

In my consulting work over the last 30 years, one of the most common complaints I get – particularly at churches and nonprofit organizations – is that leaders don’t spend much time with their team.  Understand it’s not just about being busy. In most situations it’s pastors, executives, COO’s and other leaders who simply don’t enjoy spending time with their team. In case that’s happening at your organization, and since I’ve heard it from both sides, when it happens, here’s my advice for both parties:

To the employees on the team: Get on the leader’s wavelength.  Chances are, you’re a specialist and the leader isn’t. For instance, I often hear from church communications and media people that the pastor won’t spend time with them. In most cases, it’s because you want to talk about audio levels, lighting cues, or social media ideas. But the pastor is focused on reaching more people with the message, leading a wide ranging team, and how to be more effective in the pulpit. Get on that wavelength (and start feeding him ideas) and he or she will start spending more time with you than you even want. FULL POST

Posted 8/12/14 at 9:39 AM | Phil Cooke

Does Your Advertising Betray You?

Advertising and marketing are about promotion, and promotion is about making you, your organization, or product look interesting, enticing, and simply terrific. But far too often, we’re not as strategic about our advertising as we should be, and as a result, our feeble attempts at promotion end up backfiring. Sometimes it’s just not paying attention like this auto repair shop:

alignment sign out of alignment

Other times is not being aware of the images you’re leaving in the mind of people:

cracked cement sign

But mostly, it’s just inappropriate or subpar creative. On my Facebook page I recently featured this sign:

septic service sign with bad humor

This advertisement reeks of “Don’t worry boss, we don’t need to hire that fancy advertising company. We got this.”  And of course it shows. FULL POST

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