Influence Lab Earns 2024 Silver Seal of Transparency on Guidestar’s Candid.org

Influence Lab Earns 2024 Silver Seal of Transparency on Guidestar’s Candid.org

We’ve earned our 2024 Silver Seal of Transparency with Guidestar’s Candid.org! Considered the most widely adopted symbol of transparency for nonprofit organizations in the U.S., this recognition translates into heightened value to Influence Lab partners who can support the work of The Influence Lab and Influence Women with trust and confidence.

GuideStar’s Candid has promoted nonprofit transparency since 1994 with a searchable online database of nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, allowing potential donors to verify an organization before they give their donation. The public can find up-to-date information on thousands of nonprofits on the site, and in 2018, over 10 million people used GuideStar data to make decisions about nonprofits and the work they do.

Phil Cooke teaches pastors and Christian communicators during a media intensive in Cyprus. Media may be the best way to reach into Muslim countries with the gospel.

The digital age has placed an increased demand on ministries to elevate their media and digital strategies. The Influence Lab has stepped up to meet that need, thanks to the generous support of our partners.

Phil Cooke, co-founder of The Influence Lab with Kathleen Cooke, shares, “One reason we launched The Influence Lab a number of years ago is to help the global Church understand that in today’s digital age, we need to re-think the definition of ‘missions.’”

So far in 2024, Phil and Kathleen Cooke have traveled to multiple countries to conduct media and digital training intensives in countries where strategic training is not readily available, including Eastern Europe, Spain and Cyprus with Ghana on the books for August 2024. The impetus behind the mission is clear. “If we don’t develop an effective strategy for including media in fulfilling the Great Commission, we’ll fall short,” states Phil.

Kathleen Cooke with IW leaders at the launch of the new Influence Women Houston branch!

Thank you, Influence Lab Partners!
Together with the financial support of our partners, The Influence Lab is empowering the church to influence culture through media, while Influence Women is raising a confident new generation of female leaders in media, entertainment, arts and leadership.

Find out the impact your financial support is having around the world on our news page here.
Find The Influence Lab on Guidestar/Candid’s website here.

Support The Influence Lab! Give your generous gift here (and check out the brand new special offers as a “thank you” to our partners!)

The Influence Challenge: Why YOU Matter and Why We Need YOU

The Influence Challenge: Why YOU Matter and Why We Need YOU

After 2 years of volunteer service, Jean Christen stepped down this past month as Chief Operating Officer of Influence Women Global but will stay on as an Advisory Board member. She accepted the COO position, not knowing much about the great need, but was compelled by the mission of influencing women to change the culture through the effective use of media and knew women were key. She sacrificially gave her time, talent, and treasure to implement our explosive growth these past two years, and we’re forever grateful.

Jean got it!

She knew that if we were going to change cultural thought and the ongoing rejection of Biblical foundations, we had to support women who could create the change on our screens. Our children, grandchildren, and we ourselves are influenced by artistic endeavors, creative media, entertainment, and musical content—what we see and hear on our screens. Statistics tell us that we are overwhelmed with thousands of media messages daily. We check our cell phones an average of 150 times daily, and the average person globally now views TikTok 3.5 hours a day and Instagram and Facebook 4.5 hours daily. By population, Facebook is now the largest country in the world. Who’s speaking, teaching, planting churches and Biblical truths into their lives?

Where are the media-savvy Christian professionals creating programs and content to reach our media-driven world?

Sadly, most Christians would rather criticize the media, entertainment and arts community than invest in the professionals who work in and around it and who can make a difference from the inside.

It’s why you matter – you get it, too!

Here’s what one recent Influence Women member said after attending a Hollywood professional gathering, “As a singer/songwriter artist in the entertainment industry, Influence Women events have always been something I have looked forward to. They never fail to provide inspiration and encouragement from the stories of powerful women in the industry. It’s like iron sharpening iron where you meet others of your tribe: women of all generations in the entertainment industry and connect with new friends, possible future collaborators, and mentors. It’s great to know that we are not alone on this journey. Guaranteed that we leave every event with our bodies and spirits filled from the delicious food and the invaluable words of wisdom imparted and shared!”  Flo, a Hollywood professional musical artist.

Christian media/entertainment professionals often feel isolated and alone (more…)

She Leads America/UK Summit at Windsor Castle Welcomes Media Executive Kathleen Cooke

She Leads America/UK Summit at Windsor Castle Welcomes Media Executive Kathleen Cooke

On special invitation, Kathleen Cooke will join 50 nationally recognized women of distinction from the U.S. and UK at Windsor Castle to explore faith-based solutions to counteract the attack on biblical values within our cultures.

Los Angeles, CA (May 8, 2024) — In 2022, Kathleen Cooke was awarded a national congressional award from She Leads America Award for Distinguished Work in Media and Entertainment. This June, she is invited to a strategic gathering of 50 women of influence from the U.S. and UK at Windsor Castle in London. With high-profile U.S. delegates that include Dr. Alveda King, State Representative Nancy DeBoer, and award-winning author Bodie Thoene, and U.K. delegates Lady Carol Baker, Helena Croft MBE, and Dr. Sheena Tranter, the landmark gathering will feature discussions on the challenges confronting both countries as biblical values are threatened, and will explore faith-based solutions to address those challenges.

“Only with the combined efforts of distinguished and leading voices will we be able to cut through the challenges we face on either side of the pond,” shares Kathleen Cooke, global director for Influence Women and co-founder of Cooke Media Group based in LA.  She adds, “Leadership matters, and leaders supporting leaders turn the dial.”

Liz Doyle, founder and executive director of She Leads America shares the vision behind the UK Summit prompted by what she terms an “unprecedented simultaneous attack” on Christian values. “We are eager to meet our sisters across the Atlantic to learn about the unique challenges in Britain and how they are addressing the global crisis we all find ourselves in.”

She Leads America is an organization of accomplished Christian women from across the U.S. representing a broad spectrum of women of distinction, recognized by their peers and state and national government. The UK Summit offers an opportunity for strategic thinking and collaboration to approach the issues facing our societies from a biblical and prayerful perspective.

Partner with The Influence Lab! Your generous gift helps with logistical expenses for this trip.

Selected by special invitation to attend the UK Summit, Kathleen Cooke will share on media and the arts, offering insight on how media can effectively change the culture’s mindset toward Kingdom values and truths. To help sponsor the logistical expenses, donations can be directed to the nonprofit The Influence Lab at https://influencelab.com/donate. To interview Kathleen, contact info@influencewomen.org.

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About Kathleen Cooke, Global Director – Influence Women
Kathleen Cooke is the co-founder of Cooke Media Group and The Influence Lab, and the global director of Influence Women, nonprofit organization for Christian media professionals with offering mentorship, career development and a faith community for women in the film, television and arts industries. Author of “Hope 4 Today: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture,” she has appeared on top national and international radio, podcast and television shows including CBN and TBN, and her articles carried by Avail Leadership and Charisma Magazine. Find out more at KathleenCooke.com and InfluenceWomen.org

PARTNER WITH THE INFLUENCE LAB!
Your generous gift helps with the logistical expenses for this trip. Give your gift here!

 

Cyprus Update 2024 – Christian Media Outreach in the Muslim World

Cyprus Update 2024 – Christian Media Outreach in the Muslim World

“The place where the Apostle Paul and Barnabas preached 2,000 years ago is becoming a launching pad for reaching the Middle East and North Africa with the gospel.” – Phil Cooke, Co-Founder, The Influence Lab

Influence Lab partners are making a difference in Muslim countries. Phil and Kathleen Cooke traveled to the island country of Cyprus in April, joining Ron Harris and MediAlliance International to meet with proven media leaders working in the Muslim world in a confidential gathering.

Representing countries like Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco, the invitation-only gathering included leaders from SAT-7, a satellite network focused on the Middle East and North Africa, along with program producers, animators, and Christian educators from other nations – all producing Christian programming and resources for Arab and Persian audiences.

Phil reports, “The discussions were intense and fruitful, potentially paving the way for a new era in Christian media’s outreach to the Muslim world.” (Read Phil’s full report below.)

Thank you, Influence Lab partners!
Your financial gifts and prayers towards the mission of The Influence Lab have far-reaching impact in enabling pastors and Christian communicators to share the gospel in the digital age.

Next up, Kathleen will be in the UK in June and then we’re taking a full team to Ghana this August. Ready to partner with us?  Give your generous gift here. 

Cyprus is becoming a launching pad for reaching the Middle East and North Africa with the gospel.

Here’s Phil’s full report on Cyprus:
The place where the Apostle Paul and Barnabas preached 2,000 years ago is becoming a launching pad for reaching the Middle East and North Africa with the gospel…

Over the years, I’ve been invited to numerous conferences and strategy sessions on a variety of subjects, from world evangelism to Bible translation to media.

In most cases, the result of the effort is a printed “report” of the conversations, ideas, and proposals. And, in most cases, those reports get filed away in a vault somewhere, not that different from the Ark of the Covenant being stored in an unknown government warehouse at the end of the movie Indiana Jones.

Needless to say, I don’t go back to those conferences because my personality defaults toward action. Thinking and talking is fine, but at some point, I want to act.

One reason we launched The Influence Lab a number of years ago is to help the global Church understand that in today’s digital age, we need to re-think the definition of “missions.” The idea of global missions isn’t just about geographical boundaries anymore; it’s also about digital boundaries.

And if we don’t develop an effective strategy for including the media in fulfilling the Great Commission, we’ll fall short.

The discussions were intense and fruitful, potentially paving the way for a new era in Christian media’s outreach to the Muslim world.

That’s why Kathleen and I were thrilled to join Ron Harris and Media Alliance this past week in Cyprus. Ron and his team have been working in this part of the world for years, developing relationships and building trust. We invited proven media leaders working in the Muslim world to a confidential gathering, and the discussions were intense and fruitful, potentially paving the way for a new era in Christian media’s outreach to the Muslim world.

This gathering was a small group of about 17 leaders, and they represented countries like Cyprus, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco. They included leaders from SAT-7, a satellite network focused on the Middle East and North Africa, along with program producers, animators, and Christian educators from other nations- all producing Christian programming and resources for Arab and Persian audiences.

As Americans, we can’t travel to many of these countries right now, but they can come out, so we picked the island country of Cyprus because of its strategic location in relation to the Middle East and North Africa.

The first thing you discover is that each country and culture is different, and a strategy for one doesn’t necessarily work for others.

That’s why our goal was to encourage local indigenous leaders to produce programming for audiences they know and understand.

Obviously, much of what we discussed has to stay confidential because of the high-pressure environment where they are working. I was reminded of a similar session we led in Cairo a number of years ago that included two experienced Iranian filmmakers. After the training, they left behind their study notes because they couldn’t take the chance of Iranian customs officials discovering them in their luggage.

But our hope is that the discussions we had this week will lead to future opportunities for sessions that will include training, strategy, and inspiration and grow to include more Christian program producers, filmmakers, social media experts, church media producers, and others.

And I can tell you this: the stories we heard of Muslims whose lives had been transformed after watching or listening to Christian media programming were incredible. Remember that places in the Muslim world where Christian missionaries cannot go are still accessible by media. And it’s worth mentioning that a younger generation of Muslims is growing dissatisfied with the hypocrisy they see in the lives of their religious leaders and are looking elsewhere for purpose and fulfillment.

That’s why this moment is so important.

It’s your prayers, financial support, and encouragement that are making this happen. I’ll keep you updated in future posts as I receive reports of the ideas and strategies being introduced across the Middle East and North Africa.

There is amazing news to come!

Partner with The Influence Lab here. 

This article first appeared on PhilCooke.com here.

An INNER VIEW with Producer Janet Craig

An INNER VIEW with Producer Janet Craig

BIO

Janet Craig is an Arizona-raised actress, writer, producer, and director. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre while playing on the nationally ranked women’s tennis team at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, before moving to LA to pursue her acting career. Now a veteran actress, Janet has performed in a wide variety of roles on network television, film, and in theatre. Janet co-wrote, directed, produced, and acted in the award-winning narrative feature film WAKE UP, a project inspired by her personal experience with foster and trafficked youth. She has directed over a dozen short films, co-founded and created original content for ProReels, and co-written another narrative feature film that is currently in development. A lover of the ocean, mountains, and all things outdoors, Janet is grateful to live in beautiful Los Angeles with her family.

Janet was our recent guest interviewee at the Influence Women Hollywood Chapter Brunch and will be our next featured guest on the Influence Women Podcast. Catch more of her great, inspiring wisdom on the Influence Women YouTube channel.

INNER VIEW

Kathleen: Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and less demanding on our schedules, but in reality, that’s not the case. We just pile more on our plate. How do you navigate and prioritize your schedule?

Janet Craig: When I have more to do than I have time for, I have learned to stop and spend time with the Lord. In those situations, I am realizing more and more that intimacy with God is what I need. Meditating on His Word and praying is where I find His path for each day and the strength through His Spirit in me. I also realize that I must stop, pray, and die once again to my flesh when I start to feel my life spinning.

Making the movie Wake Up was a mountaintop experience for me. I watched as He allowed me to experience His hand on me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. During this time, I leaned into prayer and dependence on Him.

When I first created the story of Wake Up, I would stay up until all hours of the night, feeling energized and inspired. I did not consider myself a writer, but the story just seemed to flow out of me. After the movie was completed, I realized that a lot of the story I wrote was part of my own story. Not that I was trafficked myself, but I grew up experiencing trauma and brokenness from early childhood, and those experiences deeply influenced the story of Wake Up, making the movie autobiographical in many ways. God used my brokenness to teach me and turned all of my pain and suffering into deep dependence and comfort in Him alone.

Kathleen: Where do you turn and do when you need inspiration or encouragement?

Janet: I have been so grateful for faithful friends who inspire and encourage me. I often am inspired by the example of faith in others. I also get encouragement from listening to a great sermon and fellowshipping with other believers of Christ. Many kinds and genres of music inspire me also, but. the Bible is a huge salve to me. I love reading and meditating and memorizing scripture verses found in it. Spending time alone with God – journaling or praying at the beach, in my private prayer closet, outside walking/ hiking, or just sitting and observing the beauty of what God created is the best way I find rejuvenation.

One example that comes to mind is when a sister in Christ shared some tough stuff with me in such a beautiful way. She started by telling me something she admired about one of my children, and then she told me about the hard things she had gone through in her marriage. Her sharing these things first made her safe and trusted before she shared some hard news about the trouble my child was in. It was a lovely way of making me feel loved, encouraged, and safe with her.

Kathleen: What you’ve learned about making mistakes and times of failure?

Janet: I fail so often and believe it is a sweet reminder from the Lord of how much I need Him. When I fall on my face physically or blow it, I realize that nothing is beyond God. He is more than able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.

When I was a young adult pursuing a professional tennis career, it was all about my own personal glory. I had Bible verses written all over my tennis racket cover, but I actually wanted people to notice me rather than give all the glory to God. I felt that I was a failure if I failed to become the world’s number one ranked player. When I blew out my shoulder in the Australian Open, it was actually God’s grace that brought me to my knees and got my attention back on Him.

Kathleen: Today is about being an “influencer.” What’s the one thing you’ve learned about influence?

Janet: Our whole purpose is to glorify God, and we should use our gifts and talents to do just that. We need to be willing to be open and transparent with our story. When I first started writing Wake Up, I was inspired by hearing a young woman tell her story of being trafficked. I wanted to bring the whole world into that room to hear it because I thought that if everyone heard her story, they would feel like I did and want to do their part to stop trafficking. It was her courageous willingness to tell her story, a story of brokenness, that made it so powerful. As I look back, I realize that God had plans for me to walk in my own story of brokenness that would intersect with hers to create Wake Up.

Courageously sharing our brokenness with others connects us with others who are hurting. When they see joy in the midst of suffering, pain and our dependence on the Lord, it brings God glory. He turns what the enemy meant for evil to good.