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.

Ghana Impact Opportunity

Ghana Impact Opportunity

“In countries where so few people are professing Christians, media may be the key to mission growth in that part of the world.”
– Phil Cooke, Co-founder/The Influence Lab

 

Media training is a key component of The Influence Lab’s vision… And we’ve been invited by an influential ministry in Ghana, to teach a media training intensive in the capital city this August 2024. We’re reaching out to the generous partners and friends of The Influence Lab to help send our team.

The 3-day intensive is geared towards building up the local church while expanding their media production. Our team will impart a big-picture vision plus the knowledge and expertise to share the gospel through media with greater impact.

Media training is a key in many nations towards church growth.

With plans to hold the intensive in a church with production facilities, teaching sessions and hands-on workshop topics include:

  • Creativity in the Digital Age: casting vision for the creative as church media teams, filmmakers, producers and artists.
  • Church Media Production: live streaming, church video and television production
  • Film, Television and Documentary Production: approaching larger media productions with skill
  • Church Communication: conveying the message effectively through various media streams
  • Writing/Screenwriting: elevating writing skills for diverse platforms such as print, online content, film, TV, and new media
  • Acting/Directing: directing the actors and maximizing actor performances for film and television
  • Videography, Sound and Audio: covering the techniques of camera operation church audio, and video editing

 

Phil and Kathleen Cooke will head up the team for the media intensive.

The Team:
We’re sending a small group of seasoned media professionals chosen for their unique areas of expertise. In addition to their award-winning skills, our team brings a passion for their work and for God’s kingdom to equip and inspire.

These are quality people we have worked with on many award winning projects.

Our team is a small group of seasoned media professionals.

 

The Need:
We’ve known the founders of the ministry in Ghana for years and we’re confident that the seeds sown towards this training intensive will bear abundant fruit. The team has volunteered their time. We’re now seeking partners to help sponsor the trip.

To make this trip possible, we’re trusting God for a $25,000 budget to send our team and help us respond to other invitations that have recently come in from other countries. We’re specifically praying for partners who can give $1,000 or more – and of course, whatever level you can give will help make this trip a reality.

Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us today with your generous gift? 

Give your gift here.

THANK YOU for partnering with The Influence Lab! It’s through the generous partnership of friends like you that we can go to places like Ghana to offer strategic media training that opens the door for explosive growth in the digital age.

With a population over 32 million, Ghana is the second-most populous country in West Africa. The capital and largest city is Accra. Strategic media training is crucial in reaching this nation with the gospel.

The Key to Church Growth in Eastern Europe – Spain Update 2024

The Key to Church Growth in Eastern Europe – Spain Update 2024

Spain Update 2024 – Madrid and Valencia

Phil and Kathleen Cooke recently returned from Spain where they had meetings in Madrid and Valencia. With a big “Thank you!” to our Influence Lab partners for your support, here are Phil and Kathleen’s reports:  

 

FIRST STOP: MADRID

Influential ministry and marketplace leaders gathered in Madrid.

Phil: Madrid was all about reconnecting as we gathered with over 300 influential Christian leaders from around the world, including pastors of many of the largest and most effective churches and marketplace leaders of many of the most successful businesses. This is a yearly international gathering that Kathleen and I have spoken at in previous years (although this year we just participated) and represents leaders we’ve worked with from multiple countries including Brazil, the Philippines and Russia.

For those of you who partnered with us in the project, the Russian pastors were the ones who translated and published my book Maximize Your Influence – How to Make Digital Media Work for Your Church, Your Ministry, and You into Russian. They are using it as a textbook for media training seminars for evangelical pastors across Russia. It’s a powerful testimony of what happens when people unite on a project. (Thanks, Influence Lab partners!)

Pastor Paul Mazoni has changed his 15,000-member church’s approach to media and communications from Phil’s teaching.

We also spent a great deal of time with Brazilian pastors and marketplace leaders who brought us to Brazil last year for ten days of teaching andtraining. The gospel is spreading in Brazil, and it’s encouraging to see these pastors and leaders implement the media training from our 2023 sessions into their strategic outreach. Pastor Paulo Mazoni of the 15,000-member Central Church in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, said that he completely changed everything about his church’s approach to communication and media based on my teaching sessions, and the results have been amazing.

Kathleen: It is inspirational and educational to meet as we did with global leaders in Madrid who are doing strategic Kingdom work, many of whom are working in highly volatile war zones.

Phil prayed for the leaders at the opening morning session and began the entire event. At a lunch gathering, I was able to connect with the women and share how Influence Women is growing. These influential ministry and marketplace leaders can appreciate how great the need is for women to connect, collaborate, and support one another so that artistic endeavors might be created.

Phil teaches influential media and ministry leaders from across Eastern Europe gathered at Valencia.

ON TO VALENCIA

Phil: From Madrid, we traveled to Valencia for three days of meetings and teachings. A joint venture of The Influence Lab with MediAlliance International, the invitation-only training sessions brought together Christian media leaders from Europe and Eastern Europe. The attendees were from countries that included France, Spain, Finland, Romania, and Albania, with influential leaders from Christian radio networks, TV stations, and relief organizations working in Ukraine.

Kathleen: In Valencia, I met with several women from Romania and Spain, and one from Ukraine who continues to be challenged with difficult living and working conditions. I encouraged them and shared leadership skills that I have learned to help them.

Kathleen connected with women from around the world including Romania, Ukraine, New Zealand and the UK while in Spain.

They expressed a need and desire to start an Influence Women’s chapter group in their cities, sharing that they often feel alone and unsupported. I gave them copies of my Hope 4 Today – Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture to encourage them, and they were thrilled to receive the gift.

Phil: To sum up, our trip to Spain was both fruitful and eye-opening. There is a real opportunity for raising up a generation of Christian media leaders in Europe and Eastern Europe.

In countries where so few people are professing Christians, media may be the key to mission growth in that part of the world. Through the generous partnership of friends like you, we can go to places like Spain to offer strategic media training that opens the door for explosive growth in the digital age.

The world is calling and we are responding! Can you help? Partner with The Influence Lab here.

Next up, we travel to Cyprus, Bali and then Ghana. Be part of the mission with your generous gift here.