Immediately after the Presidential Election on December 1, 2016, the largest voice for the Black Church was made aware that they would be silenced. Comcast announced officially that they would end its viewing of the Word Network and that they will be dropping the religious forum that reaches 7 billion people worldwide (PR Newswire, 2016). For the past 17 years The Word Network has called the media giant Comcast home. What does this mean for the billions of Americans that tune in to The Word Network?
Well, it seems as if Comcast has silenced “The Black Church” by pulling them from their roster. Major religious organizations such as COGIC, Full Gospel Baptist, PAW, Global United Fellowship and African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) broadcast their services and their television ministries, which often causes more followers and more money to flow through their doors than the pews would allow.
One of the first people that the Word Network called on was Reverend Jesse Jackson. After pulling a few political strings, Jackson organized a meeting between the Word Network and Comcast. Pastor Jamal Bryant made his statement by taking high offense to the cancellation of programming without reason or cause. Bishop Charles Ellis III states that Comcast has joined the other entities of America that will deny African Americans the same opportunities as other Americans.Let’s look at this from a few different perspectives. We say that God allows things to happen for a reason, so what us God saying in the midst of this? One question I have is would these churches be so mega without Comcast and other media entities broadcasting them? What is their true concern with not having the media outlet? Is the real concern that now the Gospel can’t be shared around the world or is it that money may be lost that was contributed through the broadcast? The thousands, countless small churches and ministries of America won’t probably be affected. They’ll keep ministering to their weekly congregants in the pews. But to the mega ministries and churches could this be a clarion call for you to come together and make a difference, building and launching your own media outlet to the world? No one knows the real answer or resolve to the apparent silencing of the black church, but there are a few alternatives that the Body of Christ can look into for the future.
1. Get up and go to church – Local churches still exist. It is time for the church to get creative with evangelizing again. If television media can’t be our method of outreach, we much go back to the blueprint and go out via highways and byways and preach the Word. We can create our own ‘word network’ through Godly relationships and media entities among ourselves.
2. Black media network ownership – This could be an opportunity for the black churches with financial resources to get together and create their own network. We don’t need Comcast to reach the masses worldwide, we’ll watch it from Roku or other devices that now make this possible. I know us to be some of the most innovative people. We definitely have the knowledge, power and resources to make this happen.
3. Examine ourselves. Is God’s hand in this? Of course the black church won’t consider this as being an act of God. Sure, immediately the finger will be pointed at the devil. But, as if the government requesting sermon notes wasn’t enough, we’ll soon come to understand that our fight is not carnal.
As of January of this year, black ministries continued to protest in winter coats outside of Comcast Center City headquarters with no avail. To date, 7 million Comcast viewers will slowly see the Word Network disappear from their television show listings and the black church will slowly fade to black in terms of mainstream media.