Why Should You Be on Television?

Why Should You Be on Television?

by Phil Cooke

As media continues to evolve, pastors and ministry leaders are presented with more options than ever for spreading their message. While digital platforms have become increasingly popular and effective, the long-time appeal and wide-reaching impact of broadcast television still make it a strategic option for pastors looking to expand their evangelism efforts.

But even in cases where a pastor feels that television is a great opportunity, that pastor is often surrounded by a team telling him that TV is dead. But after spending decades working in film, video, and digital media, here’s a handful of reasons traditional broadcast television still matters: 

1) As new platforms emerge, old platforms adapt but don’t disappear. The invention of movies didn’t eliminate 3,000 years of print communication, the radio didn’t eliminate movies, TV didn’t eliminate radio, and now the Internet isn’t eliminating television. Everything finds a new level and adjusts. The key is knowing how it adjusts and how to maximize that platform. 

2) Television still has remarkable reach. If the broadcast age was over, why do they still broadcast the most significant events of the year on television? The Super Bowl, World Series, NBA finals, the Academy Awards, Grammys, and much more still choose to stay on broadcast TV because there is a vast audience out there. 

3) Television remains a ubiquitous and accessible source of information and entertainment for a wide variety of audiences. TV audiences cover every demographic group, and while switching channels, it’s easy to “stumble” onto religious programming. In fact, you probably wouldn’t believe the number of letters, emails, and other communication I’ve seen from people who had their lives transformed after randomly finding a Christian channel while looking for something else. 

4) Despite the polarization and growing bias, broadcast television still offers a greater sense of authority and credibility, and many viewers perceive content aired on television as more vetted and reliable. This is why we often turn to TV during a natural disaster, major emergency, or other crisis. This credibility can be particularly impactful in reaching individuals needing more support to engage with religious content through alternative channels. 

5) TV is America’s last great campfire. Online, people are watching millions of different websites and social media pages. However, research indicates that on traditional broadcast or cable TV, there’s a handful of channels the majority of the audience watches. This means that incredible numbers of people are sharing the same moment, which makes it a communal viewing experience. Pastors utilizing this platform can tap into that experience, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared spiritual journey among viewers. 

6) In the realm of evangelism, the visual and auditory appeal of television enhances the delivery of messages. The combination of spoken word, visuals, and music creates a multisensory experience that resonates deeply with audiences. Obviously, some churches and ministries lean too far into entertainment, but every medium has its positive aspects, and when used well, television can be powerful, engaging, and memorable for viewers. 

The bottom line is that despite what you might be hearing out there, TV isn’t even close to dead. It’s still a potent tool for pastors seeking to amplify their evangelism strategy. Its remarkable reach, perceived credibility, communal nature, and multimedia capabilities make it a compelling choice in the mission to share your vision and message with a diverse and widespread audience. 

My advice? Before you automatically shut the door on TV, either because of the financial expense or its abuse by some pastors and leaders, take a deeper dive. There are millions of people out there watching who need to hear a compelling message of hope. So don’t walk away until you’ve seen that potential for yourself.


Phil CookePhil Cooke, Ph.D., is co-founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles. Phil has produced media programming in nearly 70 countries and created many of the most influential inspirational TV programs in history with a client list that includes Hollywood studios, major nonprofit organizations, and many of the most respected churches and ministries in the world. His latest book is: “Church on Trial: How to Protect Your Congregation, Mission, and Reputation During a Crisis.” He’s been called “one of the most innovative communicators of our generation.”  Find out more at philcooke.com.

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