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The Media Man

This issue of Ministry Today is all about using the power of media to effectively communicate God’s message, and it’s as important as any we’ve published in the magazine’s 31-year history. That’s because our society today is increasingly dominated and driven by the media, and for believers to communicate the gospel, we must not only understand the media, but also be ahead of the curve in using it. 

Recently I had the privilege of speaking to a group of students at Valley Forge Christian College in Pennsylvania. Among other things I shared, I spoke on the topic of learning to write for digital media. I actually talked about some of the concepts addressed in this issue, even quoting Hollywood movie producer Ralph Winter and other contributors. 

These were young, eager people preparing themselves to serve in ministry, trying to get the tools they need for the future. Why they wanted to hear from a journalist who learned the ropes of the media industry on manual typewriters and who graduated before the personal computer was invented is beyond me. Yet I am a veteran of learning to navigate the tumultuous waters of change—and when it comes to the media world, things are changing like never before. I never could have envisioned a world of Facebook, Google, iPhones and text messaging when I started my career. But I reminded these students that they’ll likely experience more change in their own careers than I have in mine. 

If you’re young, the same may be true for you. But even if you’ve had decades of ministry experience, you face the same dilemma as someone fresh out of college: Are you effectively communicating the message God has given you? Media—and how you use it—plays a huge role in answering that question.

As followers of Jesus, we have the privilege of responding to the world we live in with the Good News, no matter what the circumstances. Yet Christians have traditionally lagged behind the world in coping with technology and societal change. (That has nothing to do with the gospel and everything to do with paradigms of the Christian subculture.)

Because of this, it’s crucial for us—especially those in full-time ministry—to listen to leaders who are “bilingual” like Phil Cooke, our guest editor for this issue. They are citizens of God’s kingdom who know the language of Zion. But they also know the cultural language expressed through media that the world listens to. 

Phil and I have been friends since he worked for Oral Roberts shortly after graduating as a student at Roberts’ university. We first met when I was a guest on Richard Roberts’ TV show in the 1980s and was impressed by a sharp young producer behind the camera. As I got to know Phil, I could see he had a passion to influence culture through media. I also watched him during a season in which he cast caution to the wind, quit his job and moved his family from “Tulsa-rusalem” to be a type of missionary to Hollywood. Today, though he still spends a significant amount of time working in the Christian media industry, he’s had enough success in the secular arena that people take notice when he recognizes an emerging cultural trend. 

I’ve had dinner with Phil and his lovely wife, Kathleen. I’ve visited his offices in Burbank, Calif. We’ve collaborated on projects, and he’s become our company’s go-to guy for anything having to do with the media. If you’ve read our magazines, you’ve likely seen his byline often in print and online. 

So when Ministry Today General Editor Lindy Lowry suggested him as a guest editor, I jumped at the idea. I knew the material would be good—as good as any we’ve had in the magazine. Whether in his books or behind the camera, Phil’s always produced top-notch content. And his Rolodex of names—including everyone from Joel Osteen to Ralph Winter—adds a richness and texture no one else could do when dealing with the topic of messaging and media.

Given Phil’s credentials, I encourage you to not just read this issue—devour it. Put these principles into practice in your own ministry. Lets start a movement of believers who will reclaim the airwaves—and every other medium—to advance God’s kingdom in our day. Read more...

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Kem Meyer: The Abbreviated Communication Playbook


Communication is tricky—especially organizational communication. So many people are involved—on the inside and out. How do you communicate to help people take their next step toward Christ?

How do you cover all of the following objectives that are often thought of as required elements for effective communication?

INSPIRATION: information that motivates people to action.

OWNERSHIP: mission, vision and values across teams and locations.

INCLUSION: a common vocabulary for diversified audiences.

BALANCE: just enough, but not too much.

LONGEVITY: not just the here and now, but for the ongoing future. Read more...

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10 Reasons Business Leaders Reject Their Local Churches

I have been a pastor for more than 29 years and have ministered to hundreds of pastors and visited numerous churches over the past three decades. During this time, I have noticed often that key marketplace leaders who love the Lord have a hard time connecting to a local church.

Because of this, some in the marketplace have felt compelled to consider their businesses and employees as their local church! In my opinion, this should not be necessary. The following observations are based on interaction with entrepreneurs and business leaders. Here are ten reasons business leaders reject their local churches: Read more...

Is Your Church Prepared for Coming Storms?

Unprecedented ... historic ... record-setting.

These descriptors have become constants in recent headlines, specifically describing the increase in the frequency and severity of natural and man-made disasters throughout the world. Stories of flooding, wildfires, drought, unrelenting heat waves, earthquakes and tornadoes have filled the media.

As a physician, I have spent 25 years organizing and leading medical teams on trips to a number of major world disasters in more than 100 nations throughout the world. Today I sense an urgency to challenge and prepare individuals and churches to be ready for these natural and man-made disasters. My experience responding to tsunami victims, earthquake survivors, refugees, etc., has shown me that by equipping our churches for disaster response, we can demonstrate the love of Jesus as we become salt and light to our communities.  Read more...

100-Year-Old Vision Conveys Sobering Warning to the Church

I try to stay focused on what’s happening in the world as it relates to Bible prophecy—part of my assignment from God. And what’s occurring in the world today all points to the approaching return of Jesus Christ. However, another important part of my assignment is to deal with what God is saying as a warning to His church. Before we talk about a warning to the sinner or to America or to the nations of the world, I believe God wants us to deal with and respond to a sobering warning to the church.

I, and other prophetic preachers, often run into people who scoff at us, calling us “doom and gloomers” and “negative preachers.” When I hear those accusations, my first question is always, “Since when is preaching the return of the Son of God somehow doom and gloom and bad news to the people who are supposed to be looking for Him?”

In 2 Timothy, Paul talks to believers, and especially “last days” believers, who turn away from the truth: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come [a direct reference to the final times] when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:1-4, bracketed notation mine).  Read more...

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Jonathan Cahn Bears the Good Word for America

The supernatural story of how The Harbinger found its way to the nation

Based on your reading this magazine, I assume you’re the type of leader who wants your life—and ministry—to make a difference. Yet if you’re like me, you know that something serious is happening in America today. Rabbi, pastor and best-selling author Jonathan Cahn understands both of these dynamics, which is why I asked him to serve as guest editor of this issue of Ministry Today on ministering in the last days. Rabbi Cahn’s best-selling book, The Harbinger, has served as a national wake-up call. Through its narrative, he connected the dots for us to see that God is warning America in the same ways He warned Israel in Isaiah’s day through prophecies and harbingers of things to come!

I had the privilege to publish The Harbinger. Though having a best-seller like this has been a blessing to my company, I appreciate The Harbinger even more because I believe it’s the game-changer book I had asked God for and believed He would let me publish. The Harbinger came to me as a result of prophecy not once, but twice.

Here’s what happened. In late 2010, I was seeking God for a book to put into perspective what was happening in the world, how God viewed these changes and what Christians should do. I knew a man who had what I thought was this message, and I recruited him to write a book like this. Looking back, my journal during that time is full of references to this book and my wondering if it would impact a nation. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, the book was never written.  

God had a better idea. Read more...

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The Peace of Jerusalem Requires Our Prayers

The Bible instructs us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (see Ps. 122:6). For tens of millions of Christians in America, this admonition means standing for the modern state of Israel and its right to exist in accordance with God’s will and plan. 

Yet on a practical level, some Christians find themselves unprepared when confronted by those who cite Israel as an occupying oppressor of the Palestinians or an obstacle to peace due to its failure to return to pre-1967 borders. I often hear believers respond by saying that God gave the land to Abraham’s descendants, not to the Palestinians, and leave it at that.

While this response is certainly accurate, it’s also incomplete. It fails to refute the frequently heard charge that Israel cares more about land than peace, making war inevitable. As Christian leaders, we have the biblical responsibility to respond in full, and the best way to do that is to intentionally educate ourselves on the story of the modern state of Israel. Below, I’ve provided a broad timeline to help us better understand that story. Read more...

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Q&A with Jonathan Cahn

In January 2012, Jonathan Cahn’s New York Times bestseller, The Harbinger, released to the public and quickly garnered widespread media attention and popular appeal. The book, a narrative revealing ancient mysteries 2,500 years old pointing to 21st century America’s future, sounded a wakeup call and promptly triggered a gamut of questions from readers who realized the spiritual significance of the story. Now, a year later Cahn is releasing The Harbinger Companion: With Study Guide. Filled with photos, drawings, photographs, charts and a section answering the most often asked questions surrounding The Harbinger, the book is non-fiction. Cahn explores each mystery he revealed in The Harbinger, piece by piece, with background information. The Companion also features a 13-week study guide that individuals, small groups and churches can use to go deeper into The Harbinger.

Here in this interview, Cahn talks the nation’s response to his 2012 book, this new work and why it’s vital that church leaders preach prophetically on the end times.

Jonathan, did the overwhelming response to The Harbinger surprise you at all? Why do you think it caused such a stir throughout the nation?

From the way The Harbinger came to me and the way it became a book, I had no doubt it was from the Lord. So I had an assurance that it would go forth to the nation. What surprised me was how fast it all happened. The week of its release, it became the No. 1 new book on Amazon and made The New York Times best-sellers list. That definitely surprised me. I still don’t understand the dynamics of how it happened.    Read more...

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Jonathan Cahn: A National Wake-Up Call

What an ancient mystery means to America’s future—and your ministry

What could an ancient mystery more than 2,500 years old mean to the future of your ministry? To understand its relevance for today, let me set the stage and go back to the last days of ancient Israel.

Before Israel’s destruction as a nation, nine harbingers appeared—nine warnings of destruction in a biblical template of national judgment. These same nine harbingers of judgment are now reappearing in modern America in specific detail. Some have appeared in New York City, some in Washington D.C., some have involved the highest leaders of the land, even the president of the United States. The manifestations of the harbingers involve such things as the Stone of Judgment, the Sign of the Sycamore, the Tower, the Utterance, the Prophecy and more.

The pattern begins with a national wake-up call: The nation’s hedge of protection is breached in some way. Years before the judgment, an enemy is allowed to strike the land. In the case of ancient Israel, that assault took place in 732 B.C. with the Assyrian invasion. In America, it happened on Sept. 11, 2001. After Assyria’s attack, Israel did not repent or turn back to the Lord. Neither has America. In fact, both nations descended deeper into apostasy. And in both cases, the first strike led to further shakings. In America, we saw the second strike as the U.S. economy collapsed. Behind this modern-day collapse was a stream of ancient mysteries, some of which actually identified and ordained the very dates, days and hours of the greatest economic crashes in American history.  Read more...

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A Compromised Gospel Produces Compromised Fruit

"The dawning of the 21st century finds the church of America in a moral and spiritual crisis. Decades of self-centered living and worldliness have taken their toll. Years of compromise and toothless gospel preaching have had their effect.”

Thirteen years ago in 2000, I wrote that admonition in my book The Jesus Manifesto. Ten years before that, in 1990, I sounded a similar alarm in my book How Saved Are We?:

“For years, we have preached a cheap gospel and peddled a soft Savior. We have taught salvation without self-denial and the crown without the cross. We have catered to the unsaved and compromised with the world. Now we are paying the price.”

Tragically, what I and others warned about has now run its dangerous and deceptive course. Read more...

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