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Christian media expert speaks at convocation

October 4, 2010 : Allison Cundiff

Hollywood producer, speaker, author and media consultant Dr. Phil Cooke demonstrated to students the need for more quality Christian work in the media during Liberty University’s Monday convocation. Cooke said his passion in life is to motivate and inspire Christian believers to be more creative, because we serve God the Creator.

“I’ve discovered that Christians are usually on the trailing edge of change. The fact is, the Word of God never changes, but trust me -- everything else does. If we don’t understand how to navigate the changes that are happening in our culture, we’re not going to be very successful,” Cooke said.

Cooke is the founder of Cooke Pictures, a Christian production and media consulting company based in Santa Monica, Calif., that helps churches and ministries use media more effectively. He is also a founding partner in the commercial consulting company TWC Films, which produced two commercials that aired during the 2008 Super Bowl.

Cooke is also the author of several books on Christian media, including “Branding Faith: Why Some Churches and Nonprofits Impact Culture and Others Don’t” and ”The Last TV Evangelist: Why the Next Generation Couldn’t Care Less About Religious Media.” His most recent book, “Jolt!: The Power of Intentional Change in a World That’s Constantly Changing,” will be available in April 2011.

During convocation, Cooke showed several clips of his commercial and television spot work and discussed how, in the past, the quality of Christian work in the media was not comparable to the quality of secular work. He also said the popular Christian response to issues in the secular media in the past has been to organize a boycott, but he said that isn’t always effective and offered steps Christians can take to resolve problems.

“If boycotts worked—what are missionaries doing? The fact is, we change a culture by engaging in a culture. What do missionaries do? They win their trust and they understand how they think. That’s the way we impact Hollywood. We’ve got to start by making better products,” Cooke said.

Cooke read from Judges 6 and used the story of Gideon to illustrate his point that God can use ordinary people to make great ideas a reality. He said creativity is about action, and Christians should follow God’s plan with the strength they have now instead of waiting for the right circumstances. He advised students to go public with their ideas and to “smash” doubts and negative thinking that can hold them back from success.

“I believe that when God drops a great idea on you, you need to tell somebody about it,” Cooke said.

Cooke grew up in Charlotte, N.C. In addition to being a speaker, author and producer, Cooke is also an adjunct professor at Biola University and King’s College and Seminary in Los Angeles.

Cooke has appeared on CNN, CNBC and MSNBC. His work has also been featured in national publications such as “The Wall Street Journal,” “The New York Times” and the “Los Angeles Times.”