Tuesday, August 26, 2008

America's Fastest Growing Cable Network

FrontGate Media, the largest Internet and event entertainment media group reaching the faith and family audience, today announces an exclusive agreement to create and coordinate digital promotions, sponsorships and online advertising for the Gospel Music Channel web site in the faith-based market. Called "VH1 for the Christian market" by The Wall Street Journal, Gospel Music Channel, now in 40 million US homes, is television's fastest-growing network; the first and only 24/7 all Christian/Gospel music channel. The GMC site at http://www.gospelmusicchannel.com/ is the leading fan site for Christian/Gospel music lovers.

For the last two consecutive years, Jack Myers' Emotional Connections Study ranks Gospel Music Channel as the #1 Network in overall Emotional Connection ahead of key competitive networks including Lifetime Movie Network. Building on the strength of GMC's emotional connection, FrontGate Media has debuted exclusive TV & Web "E-motion" promotions limited to a maximum of one or two artists, authors or organizations per month. These promotions combine the reach of TV & the Internet into a powerful multi-platform connection for any brand, product or service, building results through GMC.

The exclusive E-motion promotions feature extensive online and email exposure as well as affordable on- air opportunities for TV and VOD exposure over the course of two to four weeks. The promotions reach the full spectrum of the Gospel Music Channel audience: 40 million US homes, up to 1,000,000 web site views, and more than 100,000 email subscribers.

Philip Manwaring, GMC's VP digital media, commented, "FrontGate Media's creativity, connections, and credibility make them the ideal partner for us in this space. Together we've created promotional opportunities that combine extensive online coverage with affordable on-air exposure, creating a unique value proposition for those seeking to reach the faith-based entertainment audience."

GMC promotions have proven to positively impact album and tickets sales, online traffic and awareness. For the Music Builds Tour featuring Switchfoot, Third Day, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, and Jars of Clay, the promotional partnership resulted in ticket sales increases of between 20% and 50% following exposure through the Gospel Music Channel. Additionally several leading artists across all music styles have observed week-on-week sales increases according to SoundScan from 20% to 57% following coverage on GMC, including Natalie Grant, Karen Peck and New River, David Crowder Band, Marvin Sapp, Trin-i-tee 5:7, and Casting Crowns just to name a few.

"The Gospel Music Channel played an integral part in the tremendous success we've experienced on iTunes with Hillsong Live: This Is Our God," states Chris Estes, director of digital marketing for Integrity Music (Provident-Integrity Distribution). "In the first week of release, we've seen the album rise to No. 4 on iTunes' All Genre, Full Album download charts ahead of major mainstream acts like Lil Wayne and Rihanna. Without a doubt, we know that the digital support and marketing initiatives through the Gospel Music Channel helped us hit this mark."

Gospel Music Channel is the most recent faith-branded leader to join the exclusive FrontGate Media group, home to the largest and most loyal faith-based consumer entertainment brands available including http://www.hearitfirst.com/, http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/, http://www.itickets.com/, http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/, http://www.videorocket.com/, and the largest events in the country including the Biola Media Conference, the Boarders For Christ tour, Creation Festival, Creation Festival: The Tour, and Spirit West Coast just to mention a few. FrontGate Media also serves as the exclusive syndicator of Faith content across the Vidshadow Online Video Network, one of the Web's fastest growing online video networks.

"Gospel Music Channel delivers the most emotionally connected consumer audience available," says Scott A. Shuford, founder and CEO of FrontGate Media. "Their addition to our media group reinforces FrontGate Media as the must-have, first call for strategy and promotion for any entertainment marketer."

[Christian Newswire]

Lee University VP Chairs Commission

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) has appointed Lee University Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Carolyn Dirksen as chair for its Chief Academic Officers Commission. Dirksen has previously served as the vice chair of the commission.

The commission is made up of eight chief academic officers from the 101 schools in the CCCU. As the chair, Dirksen will help plan the upcoming conference and the Forum which takes place every four years involving teams from all the CCCU schools.

"I believe in the work of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, so I am very pleased to be involved in their work at this level. They are a strong support for Christ-centered higher education and have been an important reference group for Lee," said Dirksen.

Carolyn Dirksen is a veteran of the Lee University faculty. She has been teaching at Lee since 1968, and has long been a well-loved colleague and respected advisor and mentor.

She received the Lee Excellence in Teaching Award in 1972 and the Excellence in Scholarship Award in 1992. She also served for twelve years as chair of the Department of Language Arts and for three years as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Since 1999, she has served as vice president for Academic Affairs.

Dirksen's teaching career has included being a supervisor of Lee's Semester in Europe at Cambridge, a one-year visiting professorship at Henan University in China, and two summers at the Russian-American Christian University in Moscow.

Founded in 1976, the CCCU has spread out across the nation and reached affiliate schools in 24 other countries. Working as a non-profit organization out of Washington, D.C., they've made their goals to focus onn the advancement of Christ-centered higher education and relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. They provide over 100 programs to help serve the association's mission and support the needs of Christian colleges and universities.

[T.J. Wright]

So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore

Jake Colsen is the author of So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore. Jake Colsen does not exist. Rather, he is a pseudonym for the combined work of Dave Coleman and Wayne Jacobsen. You may recognize Wayne Jacobsen as one of the founders of Windblown Media, the company that published a little book called The Shack — a little book that has gone on to sell well over a million copies.

At the moment, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore is ranked #259 in Books at Amazon and #4 in Religious & Spirituality Fiction (placing behind three editions of The Shack).

So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore is a story about a man named Jake (the book is meant to be fictitiously autobiographical where the author, Jake Colsen, writes about his own experiences). Jake is an associate pastor at a fast-growing mega-church. In the book’s early pages he encounters a man named John whom he comes to believe may just be the Apostle John (though this question is never actually resolved). While he does not have much of an opportunity to interact with John at first, he hears words which set his heart and mind reeling. He realizes quickly that his Christian faith is almost hopelessly rote and anemic.

“Although I had been a Christian for more than two decades, I had no concept of who Jesus was as a person and no idea how I could change that.” This book covers a span of months or years which sees him grow from a pastor of immature faith to a man of wisdom and mature faith.

The predominant theme of the book is issues surrounding the local church. The overall teaching is that the church as most Christians understand it is a human institution and one designed primarily to gain and to protect power. The Bible, according to the authors, does not teach that Christians should be part of any kind of institutional church. This is not to say that we should leave mega-churches to join smaller house churches; rather, we should abandon this kind of church model altogether. While the authors do not clearly or precisely share what Christians should or can do in its place, it seems that it would look something like this: “Instead of trying to build a house church, learn to love one another and share one another’s journey. Who is he asking you to walk alongside right now and how can you encourage them? I love it when brothers and sisters choose to be intentional in sharing God’s life together in a particular season. So, yes, experiment with community together. You’ll learn a lot. Just avoid the desire to make it contrived, exclusive, or permanent. Relationships don’t work that way.”

The book’s appendix is a pamphlet written by Jacobsen which addresses his view of church life. Here he says, “Fellowship happens where people share the journey of knowing Jesus together. It consists of open, honest sharing, genuine concern about one another’s spiritual well being and encouragement for people to follow Jesus however he leads them.” By the book’s closing pages, Jake has left the church and now meets irregularly with an irregular group of people from his community. This is presented as being a form of authentic spirituality that is closer to the biblical model than that which is practiced by the vast majority of Christians today. It is the better alternative to church as most Christians know and experience it.

Beware that this book is fiction and you may not agree with all its conclusions if you belive that the organized church in America is not in trouble or in need of change.

[Dr. Albert Mohler]

The Spiritual Descendents of John Wesley May Number 75 Million

According to Mary Jacobs, "To gather all of the spiritual descendents of John Wesley for a family reunion, you’d need one very large tent — big enough to hold more than 75 million people."

“The entire Methodist family is much larger than the United Methodist Church, by a factor of seven or eight times,” said the Rev. William B. Lawrence, dean of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Among the millions who call themselves “Methodists” are members of the United Methodist Church, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, the AME Zion Church, and independent Methodist churches in other nations, such as the Korean Methodist Church or the Methodist Church of Mexico.

The tent gets even bigger when you add denominations without “Methodist” in their names but with historical ties to Methodism and John Wesley, including the Wesleyan Church, Church of God, Churh of God of Prophecy and the Pentecostal Holiness Church.

“Most United Methodists may know about the AME or the AME Zion churches, but they don’t have any clue that denominations like the Church of the Nazarene or the Salvation Army are direct descendents of the Methodism movement,” said Dr. Doug Strong, a church historian and dean of the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University. “The term ‘Wesleyan’ is much, much larger than the United Methodist Church.”

You can read more here...

[Todd Rhoades]