Christian Television

A Brother from East Africa asked for my advice about him trying to create a Christian TV Station….

Thank you for trusting me to answer the question about Christian television. I actually have very strong opinions about it!

First let me say that God is using all kinds of people and ministries – even when they are deeply flawed – because He so much wants people to come to Him and enter His Kingdom. So there ARE people who meet Jesus and grow in Jesus through TV.

Second, I think Christians are getting better at using media for drama and music presentations. Christian movies for many years have been an embarrassment because of their poor quality. The world has laughed at them! But now there are a number of high quality films being made that have a clear biblical perspective and message. And, if we want to share Jesus through film, it MUST be high quality as the standards of our world are very high. Of course, high quality means HIGH COSTS!! It is very expensive to make an excellent film.

But I think it is WRONG for Preachers to use TV for the typical preaching of the Gospel.

First, the Biblical message should be HEARD and not SEEN. The God of Israel forbade idols and images because they cannot fully capture His majesty and wonder. They make God small, but He IS BIG. Look in a concordance how many times Israel is told to HEAR the Word, they are never told to SEE the Lord or His Word. One reason for this is because HEARING makes for deeper reflection. When we SEE we immediately gain an opinion – He is handsome, ugly, she is cute, fat, black, white – and then that opinion becomes a FILTER for our Listening. If he is FAT and UGLY then he has NOTHING to say! But God is merciful to use fat and ugly preachers like me to deliver His Word with truth and power.

God wants our reaction to His Word to be THOUGHTFUL and not just EMOTIONAL. Seeing plays with our emotions. And seeing carries a lot of OTHER images that are unrelated to the message. We get worried about the make-up the preacher is wearing or not wearing, their clothes, their mannerisms, the backstage, the lighting, the venue. But you can listen to a messenger AUDIO ONLY and not worry about any of those non-essential things. When you watch a video and the preachers Hairstyle or Clothes Style is OUT-DATED we laugh at their style and do NOT LISTEN to their message.

This is probably the reason the Bible very rarely goes into any detail about how people look. God never chose to give us pictures! Only Words! There are small hints that Paul was not good looking or powerful in appearance (Galatians and Corinthians). But Paul’s words, 13 New Testament letters, remain to be powerful and life giving NO MATTER how Paul LOOKED!!

Today is very common to LOOK AT Newscasters, Politicians, and Preachers. We judge many things about their appearance. But I think this is a weakness of our SUPERFICIAL SOCIETY we need to help people to become better at LISTENING and THINKING!

Second, Television is exceedingly EXPENSIVE. Like I said earlier, high quality means high COSTS. Studies around the world are showing that most television watchers simply click past the “Christian channels.” Most of the people who watch are already believers. The ones who have THE MONEY to pay for Christian TV are mostly the PROSPERITY Preachers who are Scoundrels who have taken money from poor people who put their faith in men and their False Promises. There have been many studies of how these leading Preachers are using money in corrupt ways, Joyce Meyers, Copeland, Hinn, Osteen….

Third, the message of MOST preachers on TV is NOT faithful to the Bible. When have you ever heard them say that the Christian life is one of suffering and struggle? Instead, you hear false promises that Jesus takes away all pain and problems. Truthfully, following Jesus will INCREASE your pain and problems. The world will hate you when you follow Him.

Fourth, Christian Television is not Reproducible. Young leaders (including you!) are influenced to think that if you really want to reach the world you need to go on TV! Then you need to get HUGE amounts of money to do so, and you will face the problems, 1,2,3, that I mention above.

Money for Gospel work IS limited. I believe we as a Church are going to have to ANSWER God someday why we have spent so much money on Christian Television – making PEOPLE RICH! – AND taken this money away from feeding the poor, housing the homeless, helping teach life/learning skills for people to survive, helping people find sources of clean water, etc.

Those are the MODELS of ministry that we should show to the Church and the World. We are stewards of the Lord’s money to advance the Kingdom, support Gospel-spreading around the world, and helping the needy. NOT creating and supporting ANOTHER Money-Draining Television station.

You asked! And this is my strongly felt answer.

Serve faithfully! IF the world wants to use THEIR Money and put you on THEIR TV to preach the Gospel then let the World PAY the bills. Like BBC invited Martyn-Lloyd Jones (

Let God worry about how FAR your ministry will travel, let US work at having a FAITHFUL ministry!

We are called to preach/teach/sing/share free of charge to the poor!

Love and blessings, Mark