Know Thyself and Thy Audience: Media Ministry Program Format

by Mark Dreistadt | Jun 1, 2012 | Church Growth, Media

Okay, so you want to launch your media ministry by starting a television program? What program format will you choose? A talk show?  An up-close-and-personal teaching show? A videotaped church service? An all-music format? Or a variety program that includes a little teaching, a little music, and maybe an interview or man-on-the-street segment?

It’s a lot to consider — and you haven’t even gotten close to setting up a camera yet! Plus you need to keep in mind the potential avenues for media placement and media buying. We have one simple piece of advice when it comes to choosing the format of your program: Know yourself and your audience. Think about what makes you … well, you! What are your greatest strengths? When are the times that you know you command people’s attention — and why? And what about the people you are trying to reach — your audience? As you think about this, you’ll have a better understanding of what format you should choose:

  • Talk Show — This can be an inexpensive format. It allows you to interact with guests and continually present fresh and interesting material to your audience. Of course, a lot depends on both the host and the guests to keep the show lively and moving forward.
  • Teaching Show — This is a program in which the teacher is speaking directly to the television audience, rather than a studio audience, although a studio audience may also be present. If you’re charismatic enough to carry this type of format, then it can be incredibly effective. Otherwise, you may come across as a droning talking head.
  • Church Service — This variant of church media is also an inexpensive format, and if you’re a pastor, it can be a great fit because you’re already right at home behind the pulpit. Plus, you’re already speaking to those who know you best — and who come to hear you speak. However, a church-service format may not be the most effective way to reach a broad audience, especially the unreached who have no interest in church to begin with.
  • Variety Format — This can be one of the most effective formats if done properly. The interaction between the main speaker (host) and/or co-host and guests is a great way to keep viewers tuned in. Plus, it allows you to feature teaching segments, music, human-interest stories, and many other segments that speak to your audience in different ways.
  • Other Formats — You can also consider formats such as all-music, documentary, and even drama. The all-music format, of course, would be reserved for anyone with musical gifts that could possibly mix in some talking as well. Documentaries work well if you’re spotlighting specific issues or events — or maybe on-site exploration of specific locations. Drama may not be thought of when considering options, but it’s one of the most popular types of programming on television.

Whatever format you decide to move forward with, remember that it’s still about engaging storytelling: You’re presenting your story to an audience who wants to hear it.

This is all part of a bigger strategy that includes nailing down the specifics for media placement, media buying, and media production.

Mark Dreistadt

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