16 January 2023 |
Dear Aunt Sevvy,
Why are Hope Channel and 3ABN so cringy? We have talented Adventist media professionals, like the producers of The Record Keeper, for example. Can’t the church handle anything more innovative than prayer requests and Bible talk shows?
Signed, Tired of cringing
There was a time, in the early days of media ministry, when our Adventist media professionals—people such as HMS Richards and William Fagal— “owned the airwaves” with some of the most creative Christian ministries. For example, some still remember the dramas produced by Faith for Today in its early years.
In order to understand this phenomenon we need to understand the target audience for such programs. It is not, as you might think, secular people seeking faith, or even Christians who aren’t Adventists.
The target audience is Seventh-day Adventists themselves. They’re the ones who send in the money to keep these ministries going. And producers of many kinds of Adventist media have discovered that innovation in programming isn’t rewarded. The same old, same old is.
It’s the same reason Adventist church services haven’t experienced any significant reinvention in the past fifty years. If you have ever served on a church board you may chuckle to yourself as you remember how difficult it is to get people to agree to even the tiniest changes in the service order or music style at church.
There is a not insignificant group of people in the Adventist Church who believe that the old traditional ways are best, and do not need to be improved upon. 3ABN and Hope Channel are designed for those people.
And the strategy is working! Those organizations are well funded with a strong Adventist donation base.
It is frustrating, though, for those of us who would appreciate innovative and fresh content from such well-funded organizations.
Rather than waiting for official media sources to become creative and interesting, let’s seek out and support small independent organizations that are working toward change. That’s where we can expect innovation.
And that is, by the way, one of the reasons Aunty loves Adventist Today!
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—without identifying the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.