Regular visitors to this site know that we frequently feature the news stories and testimonies of the evangelists, missionaries and pastors that Charis Bible College equips for the work of the ministry. Today's post however, is about the people serving behind the scenes, those who come along side the people on the platform to help deliver the message the Lord has entrusted to the messenger—the media ministers.
In today's tech-driven world, ministries are able to reach more people and advance the Kingdom faster through the effective use of media. Media simply refers to the means by which a message is shared. The ever-expanding list of tools used to spread a minister's message includes email, websites, blogging, social media and online video channels, as well as the traditional outlets of print, publishing, TV and radio broadcasting. Not everyone is called to be on the platform, some are called to support and spread the messages through these means. In an effort to equip those called to media as a ministry, a ministry of helps, staff members at AWM and CBC have developed a third-year program aptly called, the School of Media.
The program, directed by AWM's Media Operations Manager, Stephen Bransford, and facilitated by Assistant Directors, Jeff and Autumn Nakkula, has its roots in Stephen's willingness to yield to the Lord's leading to serve as Andrew's television producer 12 years ago. At the time, Stephen was producing a film for Billy Graham; a promotional piece called, Amsterdam 2000. Although he was being productive, it was a tumultuous time in Stephen's life and career. As he sought the Lord's direction in prayer, Stephen submissively asked for guidance, and promptly found God's reply buried in his email inbox.
"I had a conversation with God in which I resigned every project I had in motion. I just laid it all down and asked, 'Where would you like me to serve you, Lord?' Andrew’s search for a TV producer had already been sent to me via email, and I had ignored it. I hadn’t taken it seriously. One day, as I was working on the Billy Graham film, I saw the email at the bottom of my inbox. I stopped and asked God, “Am I missing something? Are you trying to give me an answer here?” recalled Stephen.
Stephen immediately made arrangements to meet with Andrew. The next day, as Stephen entered the ministry's building, then located on Robinson Street in Colorado Springs, he knew he was where God wanted him. Stephen said, "I felt the peace that passes understanding. I saw the classroom with a 15 foot ceiling, where I would one day hang a lighting grid and build the first studio. I saw the office where I would edit the programs—all in the first twenty seconds after entering the building. I hadn’t even met Andrew yet. Everything I saw came true in a matter of months. God did answer my prayer in that email."
The meeting, in Stephen's words, "Turned out to be a divine appointment." The two spent about an hour together, and Stephen left with a sampling of Andrew's books and teachings. After reviewing the materials, Stephen not only had a good feel for Andrew's ministry, but he had begun a new chapter with the Lord. "Andrew’s teaching on Whose Righteousness really helped me. I was very much a performance driven Christian, and Andrew helped me begin to enjoy my inheritance in Jesus Christ," said Stephen.
Through the creation of the Gospel Truth TV program and his vision for creating series like Healing Journeys, Stephen's expertise in media communications helped to propel Andrew's ministry around the world. Today the Gospel Truth is available to more than two-billion viewers per day.
Over the years, Stephen's role has broadened to include oversight of all of Andrew's media, and he was also given the opportunity to teach a class at the Bible college. Stephen's days as an instructor began when a student asked him for assistance with a fundraising DVD he had made to raise support for a mission trip. Stephen was able to help him, and in the process, realized he had a wealth of experience to share with any student who needed similar help. A short time later, Andrew asked if Stephen would teach an elective on the power of media, and that was the beginning of Stephen's course Ministry, Media and Money.
Two years ago, Stephen was given the opportunity to speak during a student chapel hour. He shared a message called, You’ve Got a Story. Stephen said, "I like to say that everyone has a story. It is the story of Christ in you, and who you are in Christ—a never-ending story with unlimited potential to change lives." Stephen saw something powerful happen as a result of his chapel teaching. The following term, more than 80 students signed up for his elective class. "Suddenly, students began to believe that media was ministry, as much as any of the five-fold ministries. Andrew then asked that we take that momentum to start a third-year media school," said Stephen.
According to Stephen, the goal of CBC's School of Media is to identify and develop those called to the ministry of media and to see them bless and prosper those ministers they come along side. "Everyone born of God has a ministry, but ministry communicated badly results in discouragement, setbacks and burn out. Most people need help in order to tell their story effectively. Media ministers are those with the training and talent to help someone communicate their ministry effectively. Not everyone is gifted equally in this regard. It is important to focus on the gifts you’ve been given and develop them to excellence," said Stephen.
If you have a passion for media and feel called to share the Gospel through media ministry, or would like more information about Charis Bible College's School of Media, be sure to visit CBC's website to find out how you can become part of this growing segment of ministry.