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.
Jack Graham / PowerPoint Ministries. As a leader, Jack has probably inspired more ministries and business launches than anyone I know. Somehow, just listening to Jack’s messages motivates people to go out and accomplish great things for God. And his TV facility is a great thing indeed. State of the art in every way, his team – led by Executive Director Scott Seal and COO Jason Graham – is effective through broadcast TV, social media, publishing, and live events. TV director Tim Kelley has built a great crew and to see a treat, watch the production of the Prestonwood Christmas program – it’s as big a production as you’ll see anywhere in Hollywood. And for the record, through it all, Jack has never comprised his message or taken a shortcut to reach an audience.
Joel Osteen Ministries. Joel Osteen’s television program is second to none in quality, production values, and reach. It may be because Joel started as a TV producer and director himself, but reaching millions through television has always been a priority. Now, Jon Swearingen, his Director of Media has pushed his team to the very limits of what TV technology can do. From purely a technical perspective, watching his team record a Sunday service is not that different from watching the Emmy or Oscar broadcasts.
Joyce Meyer Ministries. From the earliest days of her ministry, Joyce understood the power of television, and now she has a remarkable worldwide audience. Years ago, Dan Meyer, COO of the ministry took her to an early Hillsong Conference where she caught of glimpse of reaching the next generation through media, and she’s never looked back. Ginger Stache leads her media team, and today they use state of the art equipment to create a ministry that’s seen throughout the world. And it’s not just her teaching through TV that connects with people. They’ve built a remarkable creative team that’s doing amazing work through commercials, promos, short features, and documentaries.
YouVersion.com. There’s not much left to say about Bobby Gruenewald’s team at YouVersion. 155 million+ installs on mobile devices, 1037 Bible versions – and it’s only the beginning. This team is one of the most innovative and creative in the country, which is probably why he was named one of the “Top 100 Creative Leaders” by Fast Company magazine. One of the most interesting things about Bobby and digerati leader Terry Storch is that they are church leaders first. Both are also leading the digital team at LifeChurch.TV in Oklahoma.
YesHeIs.com. Created by the global team at Christian Vision, Yes He Is, is one of the most sophisticated methods for sharing short films about faith online. Early on, they understood the evangelistic power of sharing your faith through video, and designed a brilliant site that not only helps you share short films about Jesus, but helps walk that person through the salvation experience. With offices in 22 countries on 6 continents, not only producing short films in multiple languages, but they’re creating radio content, and exploring new ways to reach people in today’s digital age. That content averages more than 50,000 unique visitors a day, and delivers radio contact to 460 FM Affiliates in 25 countries. They’re also passionate about using YesHeIs.com to help the local church.
SAVN.com. The first “Digital Street Corner” for the Salvation Army, the Salvation Army Vision Network is dedicated to telling the Salvation Army story online, and linking it’s 77,000 employees worldwide. It’s not just about short films, but SAVN is pioneering online recovery, Bible study, and other groups as well as offering online TV channels to outside groups as well. Plus, led by Executive Producer Guy Noland, they just completed production of a feature length documentary called “Hard Corps” which exposes the connection between pornography and global human trafficking.
IAmSecond.com. You know you’ve made an impression when hundreds of other producers copy your distinctive look. Using the iconic “white chair” they’ve done in-depth interviews with major celebrities, sports stars, and other leaders and produced national TV commercial, billboard, and online campaigns. A brilliantly creative idea, it’s all about the surprise that people who have accomplished so much, give all the credit to someone else – God.
Stay tuned and in the upcoming weeks we’ll look at others, including international producers…