Saturday, June 23, 2007

Coral Ridge contracts

Kennedy home, but not home free

Coral Ridge Ministries is beginning to shrink. Like a dying plant whose extremities are the first to wither, Coral Ridge is shedding leaves. Actually, radio stations. Truths that Transform has been dropped from Crawford Broadcasting's KCBC (770AM), one of the most powerful Christian radio stations in central and northern California. Is this a fluke?

Probably not. Although D. James Kennedy has returned to Fort Lauderdale to continue his recovery from last year's cardiac arrest, he remains on the sidelines. While he continues to appear in Coral Ridge radio and television broadcasts in the form of reruns from the archives, the fate of Kennedy's ministry rests in the hands of others. And these hands must have sweaty palms.

Coral Ridge Ministries committed itself before Kennedy's illness to a huge program of reshaping the organization's electronic presence, transforming its archived "truths" into an extensive on-line resource, as well as expanding its on-air reach. While every religious ministry seems to spend a lot of its time drumming up cash, Coral Ridge's plea for funds is sounding slightly more desperate than the usual begging:

TO: Zeno

FROM: Brian E. Fisher, Executive Vice President
Coral Ridge Ministries, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Founder

DATE: June 21, 2007

RE: Fiscal Year-End Need

Coral Ridge Ministries is facing a steep financial challenge that we cannot meet without immediate help from supporters like you.

By June 30, we are praying that the Lord provides $6.5 million in order to finish our fiscal year strong. It is important that we meet this deadline because Coral Ridge Ministries is poised to carry out Dr. Kennedy’s vision to reach the lost and transform the culture in new and exciting “ways not yet dreamed of.”

Since January, Coral Ridge Ministries has provided scriptural direction to help more than 3 million people respond to the ungodly indoctrination of our children in schools… and spread the word of dangerous legislation in Congress that has the ability, if passed; to label Christian thought a “hate crime.” We have proclaimed Christ to the lost ... defended the Gospel ... and much more.

Coral Ridge Ministries has been successful in responding to the many attacks and challenges facing American Christians, and we have done so—in Dr. Kennedy’s words—by transforming people ‘one heart at a time.”

Following Dr. Kennedy’s God-ordained plan to use the vast potential of the media, we can keep reaching the lost and infusing our culture with Christ’s light ... but we can not meet this financial need without the help of friends like you. We ask that you would prayerfully consider making a special contribution so that together - we can continue the work of Coral Ridge Ministries and Dr. D. James Kennedy.

Thank you in advance for your crucial response. May God bless you!
I do understand that the urgent plea for money is a time-honored ploy in religious (and other) fundraising. This time, however, the scope of Coral Ridge's commitments—over-commitments?—is clear. Here are some excerpts from Brian Fisher's blog on the Coral Ridge website:
Wed, 30 May 2007

The Price and Pain of Progress

I was over in our TV and radio production studios yesterday, vibrating to the beat of a jackhammer. I glanced into the construction area to see stripped down walls, wires hanging from the ceilings, and a floor being “sunk” about 2 feet. It was a complete mess and I couldn't be happier. Sometimes we need to demolish before we can build....

Most of the rest of the day was spent finishing off our 5 year plan. It is one of the most innovative and compelling projects I've ever been involved with. To reach 30 million people with the Gospel by 2012 is a near-impossible task, but our staff has come up with the ways to do it. It involves us branching out of just TV and radio into everything from search engines to cell phones. I'll be sharing much more with you as the Plan progresses, but suffice it to say our kids, grandkids, and their kids are going to have complete access to the life work of Dr. Kennedy in all sorts of ways. We have a Prayer Team on staff dedicated solely to praying for hearts and minds to be ready to receive the Word as we spread it in “ways yet undreamed of.”

Wed, 13 Jun 2007

The Great Adventure

While walking through our “deconstructed" TV studios yesterday here in Ft. Lauderdale, I was reminded of just how vital Coral Ridge Ministries' outreach is to the country and the world....

As I noted in an earlier blog, our Board of Directors has approved a very aggressive plan to increase our audience impact from 3 million to 30 million people worldwide by 2012. Now we don't sit around and count numbers of people, but we do get very excited to think about the potential impact for the glory of God as we begin the process of growing the ministry ten-fold.

This morning I met with our staff managers and shared with them the basics of how we are going to increase our impact for Christ by that amount through some innovative ways. It was wonderful to see their reaction—a mixture of joy, excitement, and (admittedly) fear. Most of the innovation we are employing comes from the staff itself—many of whom left luctrative [sic] careers in the business world to join CRM. To see the fruits of their labor begin to unfold here is tremendously fulfilling....

Our CRM Adventure officially begins on July 1st—the beginning of our new fiscal year. Many of the components to our plan are going on behind the scenes, but you'll get that first taste when we launch our brand new web center on the 2nd. Not only will you have tremendous opportunity to use Dr. Kennedy's materials in new and unique ways, you will also have the opportunity to share it with your neighbors, unsaved friends, loved ones, and perfect strangers. By giving you control over the website content, you will be able to participate in this Great Adventure with us.

We will be launching 7 new initiatives to reach the lost in the next 5 years. They are creative, innovative, and gutsy.
The project to memorialize D. James Kennedy's lifetime body of work has some aspects of a mausoleum or—in a more positive light—a presidential library. Kennedy liked to think big and his minions continue to beaver away at building his monument.

Have they overreached? Kennedy's absence during the construction phase has clearly damaged Coral Ridge's ability to suck in the dollars. We can expect to see some further shrinkage as the ministry husbands its resources and focuses on its top priority, the pyramid of its Cheops. But don't expect Coral Ridge Ministries or D. James Kennedy to go away. Kennedy decided before his illness to reach for a form of immortality and his ministry's board of directors fell into line with his plan. It's not spiritual immortality, although I don't doubt that Kennedy really believes in that. It's digital immortality. He plans to be with us, preaching at us, for the duration of human existence. D. James Kennedy, the eternal electronic oracle.

I suppose you can say “amen” if you want. Or shudder.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't they know that a five-year plan is something of the sovjets? Godless heathens at CRM.