After nearly 25 years of representing well-known Christian authors, singers, speakers and other public figures, I am breaking my own unwritten rule today. After watching yet another prominent pastor/author being torn to pieces on a mainstream network, I must intervene. With very few exceptions, when a popular Christian personality sits for a “conversation” with a mainstream TV reporter, it never ends well. So I want to point directly to the elephant in the room. I want to talk directly to the most famous among us. I understand that your book publisher wants to schedule you on all the mainstream talk shows they can, theoretically, to sell more books. But let me clarify something your mother should have told you at a young age. “No” is a complete sentence.
Just say no. Stop it.
It doesn't matter how many people go to your church. It doesn’t matter how many watch you on TV on a weekly basis. The mainstream media is unimpressed. They will never, ever, ever, ever (emphasis) EVER like you. In fact, their goal too often is to make you look like a blithering idiot. And here's a newsflash: you will not sell more books by looking like a numbskull on TV. If anything, you will make the people who do love you and do buy your books question your thoughtfulness, intelligence and convictions. They may even question why they are going to your church or watching you on television. That's when your all-important appearance on the mighty mainstream media becomes what we call in the biz -- a bad PR move.
Is all mainstream media biased against Christians? Of course not. Probably only 99.988% of them. There are some that will play fair (and balanced), but for the most part, you should steer clear. Or at the very least, do some homework. Your publicist should tell you before any interview is booked what the topics will be, who the hosts will be as well as their biases and backgrounds. That information alone can give you some clue as to the tone of the potential interview. If anything smells fishy, then guess what, it is probably a fish. Probably a whole lake full of them. Just say no. I will never understand how you get talked into these things. And shame on the publicist that leads you to the slaughter. They should be looking out for you better than that. If you don’t have a public relations person who cares how you appear in public, then for heaven’s sake, fire them.
Not all press is good press. Look away from the mirror and stare at reality for just a sec. You may convince yourself that you are going to “sup with the sinners” as Jesus would do, but Jesus was also very clear to his disciples about what to do when their message fell on deaf ears. Read Luke 9:5 where Jesus says, "And wherever they do not receive and accept and welcome you, when you leave that town shake off [even] the dust from your feet, as a testimony against them." But I know what you're thinking. You want to represent Christ to the lost and dying world. That's a noble thought, and it can actually be done well sometimes with the proper preparation. Unfortunately, what you typically end up doing is making yourself, and therefore Jesus, look foolish. It not only doesn’t sell your book, it doesn’t sell His message either. Shake off the dust. Please. Stop.