In 1975 something prophetically important happened, virtually at the same time: three uniquely qualified Christian leaders were given the same vision by God.
All three realized through prayer & devotions that God was speaking spiritually to them. The leaders were Loren Cunningham (YWAM), Bill Bright (Cru) & Francis Scheaffer (L’Abri). When they compared notes, they were stunned (pleasantly) at the similarity of their God-given visions.
What was that shared vision? That our world today is fundamentally influenced by 7 Spheres.
Family. Government. Commerce/Science. Religion. Education. Media. Arts & Entertainment.
The majority of leaders I talk & speak to these days are involved primarily with RELIGION. But far too many have blinders on, only seeing what’s right in front of them. They don’t notice what’s to the side or what’s on the horizon. Only what’s straight in front. In addition, many see media & entertainment as sinful and decadent, rather than spheres that can be harnessed, used and leveraged.
Media & Entertainment need to be engaged positively for cultural change…influenced by Christ & the Gospel. And His Church.
We have the tools. Where’s the vision & creativity?
So, what’s my calling? To be an influencer in Media. A thought leader. I have travelled to 149 countries of the world; produced on-location in 108 countries; taught media strategies & techniques in 24 countries. Worked professionally at the network level, cable channels, advertising, marketing, faith-based, missions, humanitarian. Produced & directed entertainment, reality, music, sports, news, public affairs, spirituality, travel, commercials, fund-raising, documentaries. Taught film, tv & media @ 4 Christian universities & colleges. More than 100 seminars & workshops across the world on 5 continents.
My following is very small. Like Gideon in the Book of Judges with his band of 300. No overwhelming force. But armed with divine strategies? Conquerors.
I won’t kid you, though. There are many challenges with those I meet: Lack of Vision. Commitment. Purpose. Too many invitations where funds are lacking, organization is poor, promotion almost non-existent. The road is tough.
Back to the 7 Spheres. Over and again, pastors have told me they have little vision for using media outside of their churches. Their only goals are the sermon, video announcements, song lyrics, worship team. Maybe a video report from the men’s bbq or the kid’s missions trip. Nothing more. Media is just tech. Microphones. Sound system. Video projector. Turn on the church lights.
May I suggest an alternative? Use the Sphere of Media. Spend 50% of your media time telling redemptive stories and upload those short (2-4 minute) clips onto YouTube, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram (1 min), and your website. (Do you have one?) Don’t have resources or time? Identify young people to help you create, shoot, edit & upload the video clips.
You’re rarely going to reach people inside the 4 walls of your church. Get outside your ministry and walk into the marketplace (just like the Apostle Paul in Acts 17). Again, that’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, web site.
Media is Missions. Evangelism. Outreach. You don’t have time for this? Really?
“Go out into the Highways & Byways & compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” – Luke 14:23
The other 50% of time is for inside your church…message, announcements, singing. You need balance.
Finally, if you truly want to reach young people? Then you need to find a way to land on one of their three screens: Cell Phone. Tablet. Computer. Engage them where they spend time getting their info, entertainment & connections. A Sunday sermon won’t do it. Or church announcements. Storytelling will.
If your vision is to change the culture of your town, city, state or country, then your ministry needs to break out of living only in the sphere of Religion.