© Rev. Barbara F. Meyers 2008. All Rights Reserved.
Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation
January 13, 2008

Let's face it. Televangelists have a bad reputation.

The term congers up visions of someone who is charismatic and flamboyant; someone who has a personality cult; someone who fleeces money from vulnerable people. Financial and sexual scandals have followed some of the most prominent televangelists: Jim Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts and Pat Robertson are some examples.

The roots of this activity come from the New Testament, when believers are told to spread the good news, or "gospel," of Christianity. Accordingly Evangelical Christianity has emphasized preaching the gospel to the whole world and attempting to convert as many people as possible. When radio was invented in the 1920's, they realized that it provided a powerful new tool for evangelism, and they were among the first to produce regular radio programming. These broadcasts were seen as a complementary activity to traditional in-person missionaries, thus enabling vast numbers to be reached at relatively low cost. When television was invented, preaching of the gospel naturally followed onto the new medium.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, there are abuses and scandals which have plagued this way of doing ministry.

But are all uses of television for religious purposes suspect? As the producer of a TV show that I see as a component of my mental health ministry, I'd like to make the case that they're not.

What I'm doing with Mental Health Matters - Alameda County:

Toward a new meaning for Televangelism:

I'd like to tell you how I go about structuring a TV show for this purpose: