Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The dilemma

Being on a roll of “crossing lines” I guess I’ll throw another thought to you wizened owls out there.

Some of you know that I’ve been trying to put together a c.o.C based show based on documenting the work of missionary groups across the globe.

So I talk to a c.o.C based TV network in Chattanooga and they would air a program based on this idea which is wonderful but they have a few stipulations. The Gospel Broadcast Network is run by a few elders from the Highland c.o.C in Dalton, GA. Their whole thing is to create a TV network, run by elders as sanctioned by the Bible, to provide the Word for other c.o.Cer’s.

When I’ve suggested my show idea I mentioned a group called Healing Hands International, http://www.hhi.org/ because they were interested in working on this project. (As a footnote one week worth of shooting would cost them $26,000. This would in turn produce a number of shows to be broadcast on at least GBN.)

It turns out they, GBN, don’t want anything associated with HHI because they are not an “elder based” group, being run by a board and thusly “not a work of the church.” I’m a bit shocked by this really.

So HHI calls me and they want a meeting because 26K is a lot of money to give to a person for a non-profit.

Here come the twisty parts. I’ve contacted a dozen or so “other faith” networks that would be interested in getting some content like this, most recently the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I can’t think of a network that I think could be more damaging to Christians than TBN but they do pull big numbers and one of the thrusts of the show I’ve developed is that it’s used as a platform so the featured mission groups can find an audience to garner financial support, which is the key element of any mission. I dare you guys to ask Chuck how much money AP needs to do what they want and how beneficial it would be to place their name in front of a global, well funded audience.

HHI gets donations from major corporations and others not associated within the “Church” so this is not an issue as much for them, but GBN is a key point to operating within the faith.

So should I move forward on meeting with HHI and try and get placement on TBN and a handful of other networks or should I scrap the whole thing because GBN doesn’t want to be associated with the one group that is willing to front the money to get the whole thing moving for me?

PS I realized this morning that GBN is producing a show written by Chuck’s Apologetics Press, which is NOT elder based!!! To me this is going against their own standard… I feel that I have to call them on this but would I chop off the hand that feeds me because I’m calling them out on hypocritical rhetoric?


bigsip said...

AP is elder based as far as I know. The elders at a church in Montgomery are the "board".

Mullins, I don't really know what you should do. I'm not familiar enough with broadcasting to tell you.

But, I can relate a passage to you.

Acts 5:34-39

But one stood up in the council, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, honored by all the people, and commanded to put the apostles out for a little while.

He said to them, "You men of Israel, be careful concerning these men, what you are about to do.

For before these days Theudas rose up, making himself out to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were dispersed, and came to nothing.

After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the enrollment, and drew away some people after him. He also perished, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered abroad.

Now I tell you, withdraw from these men, and leave them alone. For if this counsel or this work is of men, it will be overthrown.

But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow it, and you would be found even to be fighting against God!"

Go with God, Mullins. Pray hard and study on this and use a good conscience. He'll do the rest.

I hope and pray the best for you and your family always.

Jamison said...

go with the money. I am suspect of GBN more and more.

Diana said...

Why not go with TBN? The network doesn't exactly spread the truth, so why not get some truth on there. I think that's a good idea!

Something about the GBN is odd to me. I can't put my finger on it. One of the guys came to our church and I know we're giving money to them now.

bigsip said...

The only thing about GBN that I can say is "off" is their production value.

Their shows don't look very interesting or appealing.

But, I think their trying to do something good and within Biblical bounds.

It sounds more and more like the difference between the easy way and the probably more scriptural way, though.

Hard to know, though. But, I don't want to just say, "Go with the money." Seems too easy somehow...

Jamison said...

i wish we didnt give them money. Look, it is run by old men and teenagers, neither of which know anything about TV.

I agree with Di, INFILTRATE! Who knows? Maybe youll get to meet Kirk Cameron.

bigsip said...

Do you have any type of assurance that you'll have complete creative and contextual control of the show/shows?

Of course, you might not get that anywhere, but they might want you to do some things that are not even close to scriptural...

It's absolutely true that GBN sucks from a "good" TV standpoint, but I think their desire to do good and do right comes from a better place than most media outlets.

Reminds me of when in 1 Kings 12 Rehoboam chose the advice of his young friends over the advice of the elders at the beginning of his reign. It led quickly to his downfall.

Old men might be slow to do things a certain way, but they have wiwsdom and a depth of love and understanding of God's Word that we all could learn from.

bigsip said...

Didn't mean to sound discouraging btw. I'm just saying to watch your step.

Sometimes, things start off sounding rosy, but end up on the other side of bad.

Brewster said...

I'm taking it that HHI is CofC based in some way? I've heard about some churches getting ticked off at groups like that which aren't supported by one set of elders or some such.

There is some disaster releif group that is run out of a church but run by a board. I've read articles against them because of that fact. For some folks any good work must be ran by a local congregation and not by an individual board or it is not scriptural.

I'd probably nix the Trinity stuff simply because they are big enough they will most likely botch your creative control. Suddenly your good show could turn into a support Oral Roberts mission program.

HHI looks like a good place, but I don't really know anything about it. I don't know anything about GBN either.

What's the problem with HHI? I don't see any problem working with them as long as you have creative control and keep any falsehoods out of your program.

bigsip said...

HHI might be good. I have no idea either. As long as you control the content, it should be fine.

mullinz8 said...

Part of the appeal of trying to go with TBN and the other smaller broadcast outlets is that it would be putting the c.o.C out there among the wolves so to speak.

I totally admire the folks at GBN but I think they are a bit misguided as a whole. Their Biblical soundness is fine but their production philosophy is for crap. If they want to get coverage they are going to have to pull away from the pulpit and do something different.

Their Digger Doug show written by AP is good because it’s different but that’s it really. They are using a third party distribution company to try and get their network out and that’s fine but when those people try and sell the network to cable providers what is there to sell them aside from a bunch of conservative farts behind a lectern?

Just the notion that Jamison knows that Kirk Cameron is ON TBN points to the fact that the network “reaches” people. You may turn after 30 seconds but then again that face might keep you there until the next program.

Plus there is the chance that GBN is going to fall flat in five years once they have to start paying the taxes on themselves.

In the broadcasting world you’ve got five years to start making money on a “network’ project before you have to start paying for it. Every five years Scripps starts a new venture so they can roll over their losses onto the new project keeping it debt tax free.

So if this happens all of the projects will be dead in the water, including mine unless I go with something like TBN.

I just don’t like slumming with the enemy to get the point across but then again this is why Jesus hung with the sinners and not the saved…

bigsip said...

Well, no matter which way you go, I'll be praying for you, my friend!

mullinz8 said...

Healing Hands was started by a guy who wanted to do more, (Dr. Randy Steger - Chairman and President - Nashville, TN) to help those who couldn’t help themselves. He’s an instructor of marketing at Lipscomb. The majority of the board are Doctors of some sort, I think mostly professors though I know some are medical types.

They are all c.o.Cer’s. and their mission statement says the “Work in the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace with churches of Christ and their church related ministries.”

There is also the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Effort in Nashville they work with that does wonderful things through out the body but are not lead by elders.

There are tons of things that we could gather together and do to help without the need of elders and that is somehow bad?

One of the key elements of the show, no matter where it goes is that I retain creative control. Any network worth their salt is going to want to give you notes and such but that typically is based on contextual and technical issues. I don’t think they would shape the religious flavor of the program just the delivery. Plus the show is about spreading the word, all special thanks and links would reflect the c.o.C obviously.

From what I’m understanding getting an eldership to cover your arse to do what you want might be the norm, still that would make much larger hypocrites of all of them, for using and allowing to be used, than my little issue of spreading the word over everyone.

bigsip said...

I think the main issue is that there's a pattern about how the church is supposed to handle things.

Elders are there to shepherd the flock. So, if you have thee guidance of those shepherds, you're less likely to get eaten by wolves.

As human beings, we often forget that we are merely sheep in need of guidance. If you've ever worked with sheep, you know they are pretty stupid animals that need guidance.

That's why elders are there. They're shepherds who help us young, stupid sheep out.

Not trying to be insulting. My point is really to just not discount the pattern in the Bible. There's a method to God's madness...not that He's crazy...I'm gonna get struck...

mullinz8 said...

I don’t take what you’re saying as insulting in the slightest. But wearing the title of elder does not make one impervious to sin.

I think we can all recall elders and preachers who have fallen into just as incendiary situations as any first class sinner.

The eldership is in place to guide us stupid sheep and I’m glad they are there. There is also a point where they could say we have no idea what’s going on or how this works and we think you would do better to find professionals in the given subject and continue on.

My point is that the folks at HHI are all c.o.C believers and are doing wonderful works as a united body of believers and that should be worthy of merit.

GBN says that by showing what they are doing, as successful as it is, it’s still undermining the scriptural “need” to be overseen by elders. I disagree and think the work and faith of believers who on their individual walk is supported by elders while continuing to do work for the church is enough.

They are not forsaking the eldership in their lives, they are just using their job as a mission along side their faith.

Sipper, if you could create a Christian publishing company for young authors would you? Under the GBN model it would need to be under an eldership to even hold the title Christian and especially if it was for Christian works. For them any work for Christians should be under the elk of a group of elders.

An eldership is chosen from a group of Christians to run the affairs of the church. A board like HHI was appointed by a group of Christians to run the affairs of a project dedicated to help members of the same body.

bigsip said...

Yeah, I see what you mean.

Just throwing some thoughts out there.

I don't think elders should run these broadcasting initiatives. But, I think having them involved is helpful.

As christians, we can sometimes tread on dangerous ground without even realizing it. The elders use the rod and staff to help make sure we stay on the safe ground.

When it comes to producing good programming, elders probably shouldn't be involved, but when it comes to producing scriptural programming, maybe they should.

Just some thoughts.

Brewster said...

An TV station is a business. Why would elders be in charge of a business. Ok, it is a mission work of sorts and I would certainly make sure you are sound and take the advice of some elders, but I don't see that it would need to be overseen by elders.

How many christians own Christian book stores? Are those overseen by elders too?

bigsip said...

I just mean that folks need to get the best, soundest advice possible.

For the sake of argument (since I know Brew loves to argue) the book stores most coCers own that I've seen will carry extra-coC stuff.

Folks who come in the store can choose what they want.

On TV, folks are usually fed whatever's on. Those who have no idea what's going on can and will be disadvantaged by spoon-fed content that is not in accordance with the Word.

The media and delivery are WAY different and therefore require extra precautions.

The wonderful thing about TV as a delivery mode is how many people it can reach, at least superficially. The terrible thing is that it almost always lacks the depth necessary to really show Christ to people.

So, really, I'm just saying that if it's gonna be done, it should be done right.

mullinz8 said...

I think the core of the dilemma is can showcasing HHI become a Biblical stumbling block? I don’t think so.

I agree having elders to guide any endeavor is a good thing but having the elders control the endeavor is something completely different. I think the elders should play a roll of navigator because a large portion of the time they are going to know how to spiritually navigate various waters. When it comes to making the ship actually turn, go and stop that’s most often best left to someone else who know how to do it.

This is where I think GBN fits. They are sound in the idea of a TV network as a tool to reach the body of believers but they are unsound in creating and presenting content to an audience that will WANT to watch it. A channel is great but if everything you show is boring and unapproachable no one will watch.

bigsip said...

I agree, Mullins. I think the HHI thing sounds good. I honestly have to say that GBN doesn't look like it's gonna have a shot, but you never know.

Ryan F. said...

First of all, understand that the church that is running the GBN is a very conservative church. I struggle with the "being under an eldership" thing myself. I am on the board of directors of a camp. That's it, we have a board of directors, but are not under an eldership. At the same time, we are not a church, we are a camp. The Bible never says anything about this. I myself am under an eldership, but our camp is not. Therefore, some churches refuse to donate money to us because we are not under an eldership. I think it is stupid, but that's just the way some people feel. That being said, don't expect them to change. Also, I do know that AP is under an eldership down in Florida actually.

Jamison said...

no one has commented on the funny pic on this blog post... i think it is hilarious. I loved legos.

mullinz8 said...

I talked to Chuck about AP’s “eldership” and I’m not going to say too much but it doesn’t qualify in my opinion. In fact it bothers the crap out of me but my dog isn’t in that fight.

Ryan too bad all those kids who attend that camp are damned because of their lack of proper guidance.

In this aspect I am having a hard time not drawing lines between their “eldership” and real legalistic approach to worship. “Service will begin exactly at 10:30 and end exactly at 11:50. We as members of the church of Christ, under the providential guide of the Lord, must be first at Shoney’s. And no, Miss Jones, when you are at home you are not allowed to worship, you may simply pray and or praise in complete silence. Worship is reserved for the aforementioned time only.”

I hope those GBN folks don’t go to church on Wednesday evening, it doesn’t say to worship on Wednesday anywhere.

Thanks Jamison, here is the link http://www.thebricktestament.com/. They have a lot of the Bible in lego form and it’s actually done very well.

bigsip said...

I just wonder where they get the little figures. Guess they could paint them and add accessories themselves.

Very cute.

mullinz8 said...

Sipper the world of Lego’s is wonderful, spend some time checking them out, you’ve got a child now, he needs tiny blocks.

The only reason I wanted kids was so that I wouldn’t get strange looks buying them.

Isaac gets a little bugged fitting the blocks together but in the very near future he’ll get the intricate fumbling turned around and be christened into the world of being a Lego maniac like his old man.

bigsip said...

Oh, I'm there, bro!

Luke got the 50th anniversary eddition of Duplo Legos for xmas!

We have a great time with them.