Phil and Kathleen Cooke spent eleven days in India this September, teaching and training Christian media professionals from across the nation. The trip was timely and the training well-received. Here’s an update on the trip, with special thanks to our generous Influence Lab partners who helped make it possible.
Phil reports: Around the world, digital missions and the strategic use of media are more critical than ever before! This was our seventh trip to India where we have long-standing relationships with pastors, church media professionals, and independent filmmakers, who are creating remarkable media projects for sharing the gospel in a country that is only 2.4% Christian. Through multiple meetings, we were able to equip them with practical strategies and inspire them in their efforts.
Also, alongside Ron Harris (MedaAlliance International), we were featured speakers at a media conference held at Madras Christian College—recognized as one of Asia’s oldest educational institutions. While there, we explored the university’s Innovation Center where students study video production, graphic design, art, and computer technology. It’s a great testament to their desire to learn and grow in the skills that will enable them to share the gospel effectively in today’s digital culture.
Media professionals and church leaders gathered for the training.
We also spoke to media and drama students at The Women’s Christian College, a campus with 4,000 students in Chennai. Our overall goal throughout the trip and with every interaction was to encourage this generation of filmmakers, television producers, social media creators, and church communication professionals, helping them access digital strategies for greater success in their endeavors.
Kathleen reports: It’s a long way to India from the U.S., and at times my human body gets weary, but I’m energized when I see how God is building His global Kingdom.
Many Christian organizations face challenges daily as they share the gospel, yet their joy and enthusiasm to learn and grow in media skills never wavers. Seeing their faith in action reminds me of the power of God to overcome and bring miraculous provision, protection, and joy.
I was re-energized when I received this WhatsApp message from one of the female participants:
“Thank you for coming to India… I’m very grateful that you were willing to come halfway around the world and bless us with your experience, observations, and wisdom. Your words were impactful, and the Lord has certainly used them to speak to me. I know it spoke to others as well.”
The colorful heritage of India brings a rich element to all forms of media and art.
Thank you for supporting The Influence Lab and Influence Women and allowing us to bring words of relief and God’s creative infusion to his “boots on the ground” in India. We are the Church, and united we stand.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40)
Partner with The Influence Lab! Your support is needed more than ever as The Influence Lab continues teaching and training Christian media professionals in the most remote and challenging places on the earth. With more international trips planned for 2023 and 2024, your generous partnership paves the way to bring strategic media and digital training to the nations.
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In July 2022, Influence Lab co-founders Phil and Kathleen Cooke were invited to Rome, Italy, to speak at a much-anticipated global conference for church and marketplace leaders.
The conference, privately hosted in a different city each year, keeps the name and invitation-only membership anonymous—a layer of protection set in place for good reason. Throughout the meetings, Phil and Kathleen were particularly moved by the unity between attending Russian and Ukrainian pastors, discussing ways to bring relief to their people amid the ongoing conflict
“Christians are working together to solve these problems,” Kathleen commented. “And we saw that even in the suffering, there is such joy.”
Other remarkable moments of the conference included reports from fellow members sharing their missions’ work as they rescue children from war-torn nations, build homes in the Middle East, and strategize to overcome food shortages.
“Being a part of this global organization of pastors, ministers, non-profits, and marketplace business leaders was inspiring,” Kathleen said.
They weren’t home for long when Phil was the featured speaker for an online event hosted by Christian Media & Arts Australia. The organization of Christian communication and media professionals across that country asked Phil to speak on his new book “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking.”
He’s also been on a speaking tour with Christian media conferences in Memphis and Atlanta this past week, discussing his new book and how creativity can transform our effectiveness with the gospel.
Your partnership matters! Your gifts to The Influence Lab help us train Christian leaders worldwide to share the gospel in today’s digital age effectively. The gospel message never changes, but how we share it does. Give here.
As a thank-you for your gift of $35.00 or more, we’re offering partners their choice of several books by Phil and Kathleen Cooke. Find out more here (and consider becoming a monthly partner!)
With over 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the U.S., choosing a trustworthy organization to support can be difficult. With that in mind, The Influence Lab is pleased to announce the earning of GuideStar’s 2021 Silver Seal of Transparency. Regarded as the most widely adopted symbol of transparency for nonprofit organizations in the U.S., this recognition offers an added level of trust for the financial partners who support The Influence Lab’s mission to train pastors, churches, and Christian communicators to share the gospel effectively in the digital age.
Since 1994, GuideStar has promoted nonprofit transparency with a searchable online database of nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations which make it easy for the public to verify an organization before they give their donation. For example, in 2018, over 10 million people used GuideStar data to make decisions about nonprofits and the work they do.
“Receiving the Silver Seal builds confidence for our donors. Spurred by the COVID-19 crisis, the opportunities on the global digital mission field have increased dramatically,” shares Phil Cooke, co-founder of The Influence Lab. “Throughout the pandemic, The Influence Lab has been there to help church leaders manage and optimize those digital opportunities.”
During the pandemic The Influence Lab produced online teaching events for:
200 pastors and church leaders across Russia
150 pastors and church leaders in South America
60 Portuguese-speaking pastors and church leaders in Portugal, Brazil and Angola
200 pastors and church leaders across Australia
And media influencers in South Africa, Australia and Hollywood
Additionally, with travel restrictions easing, Phil, with wife and co-founder Kathleen Cooke are once again traveling internationally to train Christian communicators. Travels yet this year include a church media conference in Milan, Italy and a teaching session in Istanbul.
The Influence Lab is meeting the need for training a new generation to reach the world in the digital age. You can find The Influence Lab nonprofit profile on Guidestar here.
Join us in this digital mission strategy! 2022 is fast approaching. Consider your 2021 year-end gift to The Influence Lab now. Give here.
Give today and with your generous gift of $25 or more, you’ll receive a free book by Phil or Kathleen Cooke as our thank you! Find out more here.
Kay is the Chief Knowledge and Research officer at the DXM Institute for Changemaking Innovation. Hailed as the “The Questions Lady,” Kay is a national leader in research for faith-based and mission-driven organizations. For more than 30 years, she has provided customer research, market analytics, planning, collaboration management, and organizational development to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, including Cru, Chick-Fil-A, and Thrivent. In her knowledge-leadership role for DXM™ Institute, Kay drives the development of the Institute’s platform. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of listening and relationship-building strategies for leaders, understanding what customers value, and how generational change impacts organizations. Kay believes that great leaders don’t have better answers; they ask better questions. Her greatest joy is helping leaders understand what the world most needs their organizations to do.
Kathleen Cooke: Today’s culture is about wanting clarity, so your job as a researcher is vital. The facts tell the truth but not always the whole story. We are bombarded with identity dysphoria today. What has God been teaching you through your work and perspective on why knowing who we are in Him is how we can know the facts and the whole story?
Kay Edwards: That He has called me perfect, not because of anything I have done, but because of what He has done. His finished work is my identity. Too often, women are taught to work hard to be good so that they can be loved. I have lived too much of my life terrified of not getting it right, terrified that God would be disappointed in me.
When I was growing, up my parents taught me that no matter how hard I tried, I could never please God and that He was always angry with me for not being good enough. If I had set out to create a belief system to drive someone intentionally away from God, that would have been it, and I am saddened that that was the best my parents had to offer. How terrified they must have been, too.
I am just now learning how settled God’s love is, how the moment I accepted Jesus, God’s love settled around me like clear Jesus skin that God sees me through. I don’t have to earn His love. I am inside of His love forever. I am inside of Him.
Kathleen: As you began to grasp your identity in Him and knowing that you have been made perfect through nothing you can do but through Christ’s redemptive love, what steps did you take to grow that trust within yourself?