Phil Cooke recently wrote a blog (www.philcooke.com/should-churches-produce-tv-programs/) regarding whether or not churches should produce TV programs. It got me thinking… There is no more pervasive media than television. Television creates awareness like no other medium. Properly produced, television motivates response.
I always say there are four elements to a television program…
1. CONTENT – You have to have something to say in a unique way. If the quality of the content is lacking, nothing else you do will compensate for it. If the content is the same as others, there is no differentiation, and the message is lost in the sea of sound.
2. PRODUCTION – The program has to be produced at a quality level that will gain the respect and attention of mainstream TV viewers. Poorly produced TV has been the plague of Christian television for years. One of the Christian television pioneers once told me, “Hollywood takes what is fake and makes it look real – Christian TV takes what is real and makes it look fake.” Be committed to making the real look real!
3. DISTRIBUTION – There are more distribution options now than ever before and churches are using them. From streaming video on your website, to video aggregation sites, to IPTV, to local broadcast to national broadcast via cable and satellite. Choose the distribution method that fulfills your objectives. We have clients that focus on the local market – because that is their calling; we have clients that want a regional outreach of several hundred miles; we have clients who want to reach America – and clients who want to reach the world. Each of these objectives requires a different mix of distribution channels.
4. FOLLOW-UP – This is often the most overlooked area of video broadcast ministry. It is not as glamorous as the other three, but just as critical. If you have great content, a quality production, and strong distribution but weak follow-up – then your outreach is in vain. How you follow-up with those who respond to your broadcast determines the fruit your broadcast ministry will produce.
Should churches produce television programs? Absolutely – but they must do so strategically with clear objectives and realistic expectations. We live in a video culture. Most Evangelical churches even have video screens in their sanctuary. To ignore video is to miss out on a powerful opportunity to change lives for the Kingdom. But to produce TV programs is a commitment that should not be taken lightly. It is a choice every church must make for themselves. However, whatever you choose to do – do it with excellence!