Tag Archive for: Phil Cooke

Guest Blogger: Phil Cooke “Media Ministries: Welcome to the New Normal”

Back in the days of only 3 TV channels, there were a handful of monster sized media ministries: Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, Rex Humbard, and Jimmy Swaggart topped the list early, with Pat Robertson and Robert Schuller coming in a bit later. Then, with the advent of religious TV networks, more started growing: Rod Parsley, Lester Sumrall, John Osteen, Fred Price, and others. Today, the leaders are ministries like Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, and of course the networks like TBN and Daystar that give most of them their biggest platform. But now, in the wake of this recent financial crisis, the question becomes, will we see so many religious ministries of that size ever again?

While a few will continue, for the vast majority I say no, for a couple of reasons. According to a July Gallup poll, 32% of respondents said they’re spending less across the board. More telling however, is that these consumers expect this cutback to be their “new normal pattern” for the future. Interpublic Group did a similar study and found that 75% have altered their purchasing in the last year. While some have traded down, most seem to have evolved into a completely new lifestyle. As one major advertising agency executive put it: “People are going to emerge from the recession completely changed.” With non-profit giving, the cycles can sometimes be different, but you can expect their giving habits to be dramatically adjusted as well.

The second issue is technology and changing generations. By 2010, Generation Y will outnumber Baby Boomers and 96% have already joined an online social network. It took traditional radio 38 years and TV 13 years to reach 50 million users, but iPhone applications hit 1 billion in only 9 months. Bob Garfield, author of “The Chaos Scenario” predicts that within 5 years, one of the major 4 TV networks will drop out, maybe two. By this Christmas, TV sets will easily allow consumers to watch broadband video and have imbedded links to the major online entertainment sites.

So what does all this mean for major ministries? While traditional media isn’t going away, you basically have two choices: Evolve, or disappear. If you’re having financial struggles right now, here’s my recommendations:

1. First, don’t be so quick to cut back or fire the people involved in your fund raising or donor development. The fact that your direct mail letters, promotional efforts, TV commercials, or appeals aren’t getting the old response isn’t necessarily because they’ve failed. The money and audience simply aren’t out there like they used to be. The truth is, in this circumstance, the employees, consultants, or vendors you think are failing, may be the very ones keeping you alive. This is a tectonic shift in the giving audience. You can’t compare your response today to your old response. That’s just a strategy for making yourself crazy. People are cutting back, and they’re consuming media in different ways. Get used to it.

2. Start re-thinking your size and your priorities.
The ministry you had 5-10 years ago probably won’t be ministry you have from here on out. And if you don’t make the tough decisions now, the bank will make them for you next year. What are those areas of ministry that seemed like a good idea at the time, but you simply can’t afford anymore? Start cutting the fat, but here’s the secret to cutting: Don’t just cut to save money. Use cutbacks to begin shaping the organization that will emerge from this crisis. Re-think your staff, and focus on the most competent team members. Loyalty is nice, but if that’s all an employee can offer, then you simply may not be able to keep them around. Flush out office politics, and build a team of energetic, strategic thinkers. Stop comparing everything to the “good old days” and start re-envisioning your ministry in the context of a new economic and media world.

3. Change your attitude. I know times are tough, but walking into some major ministries today is like walking into a toxic waste dump. Leaders are hammering on their employees, which just creates distrust and resentment. Don’t feed the downward spiral. Be a real leader. Stop placing blame and start finding solutions.

4. Finally, remember that revolutions can be good things.
While we’re living in a time of unthinkable disruption, we’re not condemned to be mere victims. Get over the embarrassment that your organization may be shrinking, or your lifestyle might be cut back. Embrace the challenge. Historically, times of great peril have often been times of great reinvention. We can lament the good old days, or better yet, recognize that perhaps God is shaking our old ways of thinking for an even greater purpose.

The world has changed. How we respond is up to us.

Your Thoughts?

Phil Cooke is a writer, speaker, filmmaker, & media consultant. He’s appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, and his work has been profiled in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.His production and consulting company Cooke Pictures, advises many of the largest and most effective non-profit and faith-based media organizations in the world. Also, as a founding partner in the commercial production company TWC Films, he also produces national advertising for some of the largest companies in the country – giving him a unique perspective on both religious and secular media issues. TWC Films produced two TV commercials for Super Bowl 2008 and unveiled the Chevrolet Volt in the national broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in China. His online blog at philcooke.com features insight into issues of media and faith, and his book: Branding Faith: Why Some Churches and Non-Profits Impact the Culture and Others Don’t is changing the way non-profit and religious organizations use the media to tell their story. He’s lectured at universities like Yale, University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, and is an adjunct professor at the King’s College & Seminary, and Biola University in Los Angeles.

The Three Pillars of an Anti-Leadership Culture- Personalities, Silos, and Church Politics

Personality-driven (Celebrity culture) leadership styles, fragmented internal communications and relational church politics are “kryptonite” to the empowering and releasing of next generation leaders. How can we reach the world and release young leaders into ministry if we are concerned with the competition down the street or within our own church staff and volunteers? Ministry leadership should not mimic the leadership style of secular politics or Hollywood, and yet somehow it does in some church organizations.

These three items are what I call the “Three Pillars of a Anti-Leadership Culture.”

1. A personality driven culture revolves around a single person or personality. Rather than discipling and empowering leaders to surpass them, this leadership style creates a lid and a world that is centered their ability to lead. Young leaders within the organization requiring mentorship and release will not find it here; instead they will be met with mistrust, gossip, and at times being sidelined. Ultimately the ministry will implode if transformation to an outward and leadership focus doesn’t take place. I encourage you to read the “The Personality Factor” – an Outreach Magazine interview with Brad Abare and Phil Cooke.

2. The silo effect is a lack of communication, sharing of goals and community between departments within an organization. Sometimes, this is seen in larger churches with many ministries, departments, and personnel. Decisions are made that are not passed down to the rest of the organization, or information is only given to a select group. This why building authentic community and trust among staff and volunteers are vitally important. Real community has to be cultivated and nurtured; not executed or treated like an event or church service. When there is deep community among the staff; there is deep community among the congregation. But, when there is a silo effect among the staff; there is a silo effect among the congregation. When it comes to communications and building deep community, the congregation will always mirror what is happening among the staff.

3. Decision-making and implementation often runs into the hidden dragon of ministry:  church politics. Sometimes it’s a controlling leader or second tier leader, sometimes it’s in the flow of communication, or hidden deep in years of tradition. Clear vision and a commitment from all the leaders are essential to eliminating politics within the organization. Politics are meant to mask the truth and cover insecurity. Politics protect leaders from blame or taking responsibility. Church politics are meant to protect tradition and is the enemy of change and progression.

Your Thoughts?

Quotes that Dramatically Changed My Thinking

These are quotes from leaders that helped dramatically change my thinking. My goal is to frame each quote and hang in my office one day. So I will be reminded every day why we do what we do to build Kingdom minded people within the church and in the marketplace.

“Be stubborn with your vision, but be flexible with your plans.”
– Andy Stanley
Pastor of North Point Community Church

“To reach people nobody else is reaching, you’ll have to do things that nobody else is doing.”
– Craig Groeschel
Pastor of LifeChurch.tv

“The next generation product almost never comes from the previous generation.”
– Al Ries
Marketing Strategist
Ries & Ries Firm

“What do I believe is impossible to do in my field…but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business?”
–    Joel Barker
Best-selling author of Future Edge

“People establish a gut-level connection with a person based on their values and perception long before they buy into the person’s message.”
–    Phil Cooke
Best-selling author of Branding Faith

“Everyone is never going to like me…no matter what I say or do someone will always be pissed at me.  That is why I am through wearing myself out in the hopes that everyone will understand and affirm me.  I have ONE master…His name is Jesus…His opinion matters…and I am through tuning out His voice for fear that others may misunderstand and take shots at me.”
–    Perry Noble
Pastor of New Spring Church

“In the minds of great managers, consistent poor performance is not primarily a matter of weakness, stupidity, disobedience, or disrespect. It is a matter of miscasting.”
–    Marcus Buckingham
Best-selling author of Now, Discover Your Strengths

First figure out your partners, then figure out what ideas to pursue. The most important thing isn’t the market you target, the product you develop or the financing, but the founding team.
–    Jim Collins
Best-selling author of Good to Great

“God is preparing you for what He’s preparing for you.”
–    Steven Furtick
Pastor of Elevation Church

“Leaders can do anything, but they can’t do everything.”
–    Tim Elmore
Best-selling author of Habitudes

My Top 10 Favorite Bloggers

Here are my top 10 favorite bloggers that cover different aspects of ministry, leadership, marketing, entrepreneurship and innovation. Go click on the links and get their content. It’s some of the best stuff out there!

1. TonyMorganLive.com

2. ChurchRelevance.com

3. ChurchCrunch.com

4. Craig Groeschel & Bobby Gruenewald

5. Seth Godin

6. Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers

7. Ed Young

8. ChurchMarketingSucks.com

9. Guy Kawasaki

10. Phil Cooke

Branding Faith by Phil Cooke – You Must Read This!

One of my favorite books I read last year was Branding Faith by Phil Cooke. I believe every non-profit organization needs to read this book! In March 2009 he will be releasing his next book, called The Last TV Evangelist: And Why The Next Generation Couldn’t Care Less about Religious Media. I can’t wait to read this one as well.

Watch the video as Phil gives you a complete book review on Branding Faith. Go visit his blog at Phil Cooke to learn more about how you can impact culture.