I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4 (ESV)
The late, legendary CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite became known as “the most trusted man in America” from his desk at the evening news. After years of reporting on the Vietnam war, Cronkite travelled there himself in early 1968. After witnessing intense combat and interviewing military officials on the ground, Cronkite gave a special report to the American people, labeling the war “stalemate.” That moment, called “The Cronkite moment,” is referenced by some historians and journalists as one of the most influential in news media’s history. They believe when Cronkite’s attitude changed about the war, America’s began to as well. One trusted man’s words held that much weight.
Today, we aren’t limited to newspapers and a few TV hours to tell us what’s happening in the world. The days of fair, honest, “no spin” news reporting feel distant. Whether we like it or not, our culture is deeply changed and influenced by news media. Voices come at us from everywhere—our phones, computer screens, televisions, radios, billboards, and social media posts (and reposts)—telling us what’s “news,” why it matters, and handing us a ready-made response.
How do Christians swim in the water of today’s culture—one of too much information and not enough knowledge? Do we limit ourselves to purely Christian news outlets? What if, instead of surrendering to confusion or complaint, we got on our knees?
There are people in news media who are already trusted by Americans today. What if they met Jesus? What if we prayed for the salvation and sanctification of those whose voices, lives, and words are already influencing and changing our culture now?
What if we prayed anchors, journalists, writers, producers, editors and reporters would come to know and believe in Jesus Christ? What if we asked God to raise up and embolden Christians in this field who surround, work for, and work with these influential people—praying they’ll hold out the Gospel in their workplace and speak truth into opportune situations?
And what if the Gospel changed these hearts? What if Americans saw these trusted people, with minds transformed and renewed by the Gospel (Romans 12), begin to acknowledge the spiritual battle waging around us? What if Americans listened and their minds began to change as well?
Can you imagine news coming from someone who not only speaks the truth with integrity, but does so with an unshakable hope? The hope of someone who loves what God loves and hates what He hates. A hope grounded not in this world, but in a Kingdom come and in a True King, whose victory is certain and unchangeable.
If the Gospel is true (and it is), there’s no person too famous, too jaded, too “unreachable,” too hopeless who cannot meet Christ at the cross and find forgiveness, faith, and a repentant heart. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). We must pray the Truth will prevail, the Gospel will invade, and Life will be breathed into hearts in our Nation.
Think about the various news media “influencers” regularly in your life. Pray for them by name below.
Father, we praise You, true King, greatest influencer of minds and hearts, this world’s one True Hope. Thank You that the boundless, limitless, unconquerable Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest news for this hurting, broken world. We pray Truth will prevail in media outlets: television, radio, internet, the press. We pray for Christians working in this field, that You would encourage and give them a voice in the lives of their coworkers who need You—especially those in “high position” in America’s eye. Father, will You invade hearts and intervene in lives of those with great weight and impact in news media with the Truth and Light of the Gospel. Change their hearts. Make them like Yours. Let their lips speak Your Truth. Through them, may the Gospel be proclaimed, hearts be changed, and revival be brought to our nation. We pray this in the name of Your good and generous Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union at Cornell
Selected Resources to Explore for a Cultural Revolution in Media
BOOK (192 pages): Communicating for Life: Christian Stewardship in Community and Media by Quentin Schultze
This book offers a holistic Christian view of communication, showing the vast array of implications for using this gift to responsibly work toward peace and justice.
AUDIO (1:20:14): Media And Journalism
This vocational panel was recorded at the Christian Union Nexus Conference 2016. Nexus is an annual conference that equips students and professionals to seek God and to live out their faith and change culture. The panelists were Lela Gilbert, author or co-author of more than sixty books, Christina Crook, author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World, and Don Gates, founder of The Gates Group, a literary agency working with pastors and ministry leaders across the country on a variety of literary and ministry endeavors.
BOOK (264 pages): Faith in the Spotlight by Megan Alexander
Megan Alexander is a national correspondent for Inside Edition and a special correspondent for Thursday Night Football on CBS. In Faith in the Spotlight she shares her practical advice for achieving excellence in career, faith, and family and gives us an honest look at thriving in a secular industry as a believer.