Paul Lodato is the general manager of the Fort Myers/Naples Florida affiliate station of the Christian Television Network. Although Christian television has often been criticized for focusing too much on raising money, today, we talk about how God can use Christian television to bring people to Jesus.
How is Christian Television like the Air Force?
How has Christian television abused the quest for donations?
Is God able to reach people through Christian television?
If someone wanted to start a Christian television program what advice would you give them?
Check out The Evangelism Podcast hosted by Evangelist Daniel King
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Paul Lodato is the general manager of one of the South Florida affiliate stations of the Christian television network. Although Christian television has often been criticized for focusing too much on raising money. Today, we’re going to talk about how God can use Christian television to bring people to Jesus.
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:21):
Jesus said, go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord. Welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King, where Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host, missionary and evangelist Daniel King. Welcome to
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:57):
The evangelism podcast. I’m Daniel King, and I’m excited to tell people about Jesus. And today I have a very special guest. Paul Lodato is the general manager of Christian television network in South Florida. Thank you so much for being on here
Paul Lodato (01:14):
With me today. Well, I’m honored to be here on the evangelism podcast and having known you for at least 25 years. It is definitely a delight.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:24):
Let’s start by telling a little bit of your story. How did you get involved in Christian television?
Paul Lodato (01:32):
Definitely God hand picked me out of the crowd, rather Daniel. My father dies and I’m three months old. My mom used to be on the mission field with Dr. TL and Daisy Osborn, fifties and sixties. We moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where your wonderful ministry is based that God has given you. And I worked for a company called Impact Productions that then sold that division to Faith Highway. And we had about 30 of us that were part of the marketing division, working with pastors all over the country. We sold outreach evangelism, TV commercials. Soul-Winning commercials that we put on MTV and ESPN and bet. And we partnered with Mel Gibson’s people to promote the passion of the Christ. Those are some quick highlights. And then we had an in-house media agency. We had an edit suite little did I know that God was training me for something I didn’t see.
Paul Lodato (02:18):
That’s why when you follow God’s plan, you have to walk by faith and not by sight. And many times he leads you on the backside of the desert. You do things that you say, well, how does this relate to my calling Lord, but he’ll lead you those ways sometimes. And so I stayed faithful to that for about four years. And God gave me a gift of music. I came out to sing at a big mega church in Tampa, Florida, Randy, and Paula white back then. And had a lot of favor there and I knew, and they wanted to hire me, but God was telling me go back into Christian media. So I worked at a Salem communications radio network for about six months. Little did I know God was setting me up. I walked into interview for what I thought was a sales position at our national headquarters and founder and president Bob Dan Andrei hired me in July of 2005 to manage the Christian television network affiliate here in Southwest Florida, which is the Fort Myers Naples, Florida region. For those that are listening or watching this podcast.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (03:12):
And you’ve really built this up over the years, really by the grace of God. Tell me some of the challenges and the things that you’ve gone through as you’ve built this ministry to reach people here in South Florida.
Paul Lodato (03:24):
Well, it’s because of the wonderful people, you know, we’re viewer supported and, and in that though, we’re very careful because unfortunately sometimes the gospel has been represented in Christian TV where when you ask for dollars to help fund the vision, if you will sometimes people misquote scriptures out of context to get people’s money. And I’m just a firm believer that if you do it, God’s way you’ll never lack the support if you do it God’s way. And so it, the word in ministry or in life is perseverance and remaining faithful, even when you don’t see it and trusting in the Lord with all your heart leaning, not to your own understanding and all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. And so Daniel, all I can say is it’s not by my mind or my power, but it’s by his spirit.
Paul Lodato (04:13):
And it takes a whole team of people just like wonderful ministry. God has entrusted to you. It takes a team of people to do what God has called you to do, where you’re reaching the nations of the earth and over 70 countries and millions of lives are being transformed because of what God has entrusted to you. Well, that’s the same, you know, TV as an air force, it’s a vehicle, it’s not a miracle pill, but it certainly can enhance the message of the gospel. The message of the gospel never changes, but the way we deliver it must in a sight and sound generation culture. And so as I look on the climate, if you will, the spiritual climate of Christian TV, I believe God put me in Christian TV and my wife and my team as change agents. Why, why not say, Oh, we have all the answers, but to say that we can do the greater works of Jesus. And we need to show that we need to show, I love, I love the book, the, your latest book proof that God is real. We need to show people that the proof that God is real visually and this type of call.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (05:08):
Sure. One of the things you said really caught my attention. You said that the television ministry is like the air force. And I think that’s really great because you’re going in over the airwaves to tell people about Jesus and there’s many different giftings in the body of Christ. You have the evangelist, I’m an evangelist. And so you probably call me like the Marine, the Marines, the special ops are the first ones that go in in to break into new territory. And then you’ve got the regular army. They’ve got boots on the ground. You know, those are pastors, faithful servants of the Lord, but you also need an air force in order to take over a country. And so you’re doing that as a Christian television station, but let’s talk a little bit about the money issue. I think that there has been some issues in Christian television, where were all the different ministries talk about how they’re saving the whole world.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (06:04):
We’re, we’re saving the world. They all say we’re saving the world, but many of them really have lost the true evangelistic heart. And they’re not really preaching the gospel anymore. Sometimes there’s this survival of the fittest in Christian television, where there everyone’s trying to pay the television bills, get on new stations. And it’s not the best gospel preachers that stay on. Sometimes it’s the best beggars that stay on. And I think that it does dishonor to the Lord when a ministry is only focused on money instead of focused on preaching the gospel. How do you make sure that you keep the main thing, the main thing and state focused on preaching the gospel,
Paul Lodato (06:50):
Man? I sure appreciate that question. And you know, I concur with you wholeheartedly just because somebody on Christian television doesn’t always mean it equates with the gospel. And the Bible says in John, that you’re supposed to test the spirit just because they have a known name, you got to test the spirit and the culture we live in today. We have such a watered down gospel. It’s not the gospel itself help it’s. It becomes you know, and everything has its place. We thank God for every minister. We understand there’s no perfect church, no perfect pastor, but shame onto a Christianity that, that begs people for money. You know, here’s the reality. There’s an old saying. People give to vision, not to need. If you sincerely just cast the vision of what God has called you to do, whether you’re an evangelist, listen to this or watching this whatever sphere of influence the Lord has planted you in cast the vision sincerity people give when you’re authentic and genuine.
Paul Lodato (07:44):
And yes, there are bills to play and it pay. And it’s very expensive. And most of the time Christian TV has funded three ways, airtime revenue, production, revenue, and then donations. What happens is though many times people put such an emphasis on those donations, but the reality is people that give they’re the ones that normally give are an older audience that are given $20 a month, $10 a month. It’s not the large gifts. What happens is though if you’re authentic and you just cast a vision and say, here’s what we’re doing, you don’t have to manipulate people. You don’t have to miss quote scriptures out of context, to get people’s money. The Lord will see to it that whatever he’s assigned and called you to do the money will come in. And that’s what we’ve seen here. We’d spent a million dollars building a television studio, and then you know, a brand new transmission line you’ve been out here on the property, 1700 feet of transmission line, a brand new antenna, a million and a half dollars over the last few years.
Paul Lodato (08:37):
And not because of me, it’s because of the people that have stood up and be counted. Are we still paying some of those bills? Yes. But you know, I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread. So if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you better not be up there on Christian TV or media outlets begging for money. You can certainly say, Hey, give as you purpose in your, not out of compulsion, but give as you purpose in your heart. And that’s what people need to do. That’s what I love about what you do. You, you say, Hey, help me $1 a day for the gospel. You know, $1 day for the gospel, you’re casting the vision. You’re saying, here’s why we need to do this, but you’re certainly not manipulating people and knowing you for 25 years, I know you’re not a manipulator.
Paul Lodato (09:13):
You’re very genuine, authentic, and integritous person. That’s why I appreciate what you do. And that’s what I would say is, you know, Christian media, we could wrap this whole thing up and, and all, all of us working together. If we learn to stop competing and being territorial and say, let’s complete, let’s be about the great commission. Not the great cement suggested as my good friend, pastor better says the great commission is what it’s about. And like you said, that’s what we have to go back to as Christian media. Those of us that are in Christian media and managers, those of you that may have a TV show or, or, or, or doing podcasts or doing some type of digital media platform, we have to go back to what the Bible says. And if we aim to honor God’s word, Hey, he said, I’ll watch over my word to perform it. Not our song, not our agenda, nothing else, but Jesus, if it all goes back to Jesus, guess what? He’s going to blow on it. And you’re going to see the fruit that remains.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (10:10):
Let’s talk about the impact that Christian television can have. You know, there’s a lot of different ways of doing evangelism. You can do one-on-one evangelism. You can go out on the street, preach on the street corner. You can do mass crusade, evangelism light, like what I do, and w Reinhardt, Bunky, and T, and TL Osborn pioneered in different nations around the world. And so there’s a lot of different methods and ways. And, and Christian television is definitely one of those methods that God uses to bring people to Jesus. Do you have some testimonies of, of lives that have been changed because of the ministry of what Christian television network does here?
Paul Lodato (10:46):
Daniel, it’s amazing. I’ve been doing this now, 16 years managing this affiliate. And I have seen it time and time again, been guests on other TV networks by God’s grace, my wife and I, and I have seen where people in prisons I’ve had. I’ve had, you know, people elderly people. I had one lady talk about, you know, I was standing on the air and we did we used to do a show called ministry moments. My wife and I, we were praying for people. We’d take the call and we’d just sincerely pray, but we’d pray. According to the word, we’d always give him the scripture. And my producer would show them the scripture, okay, you have this need. Here’s what the Bible says, concern this need, you know, so they wouldn’t idolize, man. We don’t want them to idolize us. We want them to idolize Jesus.
Paul Lodato (11:26):
You know, after we’ve left, we haven’t left them nothing. We haven’t left them Jesus much like when you do a crusade. And so one of the testimonies, excuse me, one of the testimonies that came in was a lady said, Hey, you know she calls me after the broadcast. And at the very end, I decided I don’t normally do. As I said, Hey, it costs money to, to bring this show to you on the air. And, and to produce this, if you’d like to give something, as you purpose in your heart, you can give safe insecurely online on our website or, you know, call the station. We had it up. The number on the screen, whatever’s in your heart. Didn’t say nothing else. It was just that simple lady calls me about 15 minutes later, this was back in 2013. I’ll never forget it. She says, do you have a, an office in Naples, Florida?
Paul Lodato (12:07):
I said, I wish I did, but we don’t. But we certainly broadcast there. And she goes, well, I’m calling on behalf of so-and-so and we are watching a Naples. Are you going to be speaking or singing there anytime soon? She obviously knew I sang or spoken. She must’ve watched part of the broadcast or something. I said, yes, yes, ma’am. And my wife was ministered on that with me. And and we did a salvation call, et cetera. And all of a sudden, she says, well, we want to, we want to give you something. I said, well, I’ll be be there in, in, in two days. My wife and I, and it’s a Saturday service as pastors asked me to come to. So I’ll be there. She goes, okay, can I have your phone number? And and I don’t normally give out my cell number like that, but something said, go ahead and just, I said, sure, we want to meet you there.
Paul Lodato (12:51):
I said, okay. And I was very focused on the service. That was a Thursday. I’ll never forget it. We’re driving down there. 40 miles away, Naples, Florida. And it was a Saturday and I get a text and the lady said, we’re going to meet you there. We’re on our way. I said, babe, if I’m with the pastor you know, getting prepared just go out there and meet him and sure enough right before I was getting ready to go up she came back there. I gave her one of my CDs and all of a sudden there was a little card now I didn’t have a chance to open it. Cause they were getting ready to call me up on the platform. But I thanked her. Totally forgot about it. Cause God, God blessed that service and totally forgot about it. Driving home.
Paul Lodato (13:27):
We’re almost home. I said, Oh babe, go ahead and open it. We were talking about the salvation and the healings and what God did in the service. I said, Hey, don’t forget. This lady came by. It was a card and I’ll never forget this testimony, Daniel. She said, I’ve been watching you for a year. She goes, I’m going through a divorce. I don’t want to be on a mailing list. I don’t want to be on a mailing list. I’m moving to California. She goes, but this gift is because I’ve seen your faithfulness. And it was $20,000 for the work of the Lord here. And you know, I’ve had little instances like that. I’m not saying, Oh, every time you’re going to get a, but I never forget it. It wasn’t about the money. I thank God for that. I mean, that was huge, you know, but it was about, she was watching the integrity, not because of me, God’s grace, but she was watching.
Paul Lodato (14:09):
So two, two, and then I’ve had people in, in nursing homes, prisons. It’s amazing people that flipped by the dial in the middle of the night, we have a a live prayer meeting. You called you and me that our network does nationwide and we air it here. You’re on in Tulsa. So it comes in on my channel. I see it. Yeah. K whb used to be the let’s affiliate, our wonderful manager, Tom Flynn there. And we’re on in Tulsa. And it’s amazing how, how God uses the vehicle of television. It can be a powerful tool. It can certainly enhance what God has called you to do, but it should not be your end all be all. Hey, if I can just be on TV, quote, unquote, my ministry has made, first of all, it’s not your ministry. It’s his ministry. We’re just conduits and stewards of that ministry.
Paul Lodato (14:55):
He’s entrusted to us. And so that’s what I’ve seen. I’ve seen a lot of miracles of healings, a lot of salvations that have taken place, just like you’ve seen on the, on the crusade grounds. Well, you know, there’s an old saying by John Osteen Joel Osteene’s father, he used to say, he who owns the city, owns the airwaves. It’s a vehicle. Look, look, look, what’s happening in our media culture today, our media driven culture. There’s no truth in it. Generally speaking, you know, Christian TV is still the purest form of media out there. If it’s done the right way, you know, with an emphasis on the great commission and if it’s done the right way and that, and so you kind of alluded to some of the pitfalls that has hurt the gospel more than helped it. I always say shame on to anybody. That’s wanting to get on Christian TV for a wrong motive and, and manipulate people for their money.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (15:39):
Well, I’m so grateful that God has placed you here in this position because you have a genuine, genuine heart for souls, a heart for helping people. And that’s what we need. We need to use television as a tool to reach people for Jesus. And it’s so powerful. You could tell a vision television of her, what God has for their, their, for their life. Your wife has written a book. Tell me about the, the book that your wife.
Paul Lodato (16:05):
Yes. It’s a book she wrote called I’ve accepted Jesus. What just happened? And she didn’t grow up in the church. And one time she was talking to me in like 2015, she was in the club scene. Her testimony is amazing. And she says, Paul, you know, after people run to the altar, they got to know who they are in Christ and they need to understand why they got saved. And I’m afraid that we’re not communicating that always that well, I said, well, why don’t you write a book about it? And she goes, I’m not an author. I don’t see myself writing a book. All of a sudden she started praying about Laura said, write about, write about it. She said, I started feeling like I was just his typing for him. And so she, she wrote this book, it’s a little mini book. We give it away on the air on, you know, CTN, television.com and different and our whole network carries it now in English, Spanish.
Paul Lodato (16:48):
We have it in Tahlia and we have it in Farsi in the Muslim world cause we air on it and you know, Spanish. And and then at our personal website, light of the word.tv, people can just download it right there. Or@Ctntelevision.Com, they can just download it safe and securely free. And as long as they never sell it, they can just take it. And and it just tells them who they are in Christ. They’re free from sin that, you know, what God has made them to be and the plan of salvation. So it’s a powerful resource that, you know, just like what you’re doing with this podcast, you’re trying to get the gospel out, trying to help empower people in their callings. And so I just thank God for every evangelist and we, you know, we’re all the five fold. We’re all fitly joined in the body, working together. And if we learn to complete one another, instead of compete with one another, man, we could wrap this thing up and I’ll go back
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (17:37):
Home to heaven. W what advice would you give to a ministry or a pastor, maybe a young evangelist who, who has it in their heart to do something for television? What advice would you give to them?
Paul Lodato (17:50):
Well, I have another free resource that I give to anybody that reaches out to me. If they get ahold of you on your podcast and say, Hey, I want it. I have a document called TV one Oh one. I’d be glad to give it to you, Daniel. And you can just share it wherever. It’s some practical tools I’ve learned from people that, you know, like Phil cook, who adjunct professor at ORU is a different,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (18:10):
I remember reading Phil Cook’s book, it’s called the, the, the, the last TV evangelists. And I said, I’m kind of upset you wrote this because you know, it, can there be just one more? Can I be the last one? Yeah, he’s great. He’s been out here several times. Got brilliant books on branding and helping ministries great books that if you’re wanting to be in television, definitely get, get a Phil Cook’s book. Yeah.
Paul Lodato (18:34):
One of his books is called successful Christian television. So he was just here with me in November. But we we’ve we have a little documents called television. One-On-One people like Ted bear with movie guys, other people that the Lords allow me to, to learn from over the years. And I went to speak at a media slash pastors conference for a bunch of pastors and media directors in Dallas, Texas years ago. And I had this document. I didn’t think nothing of it, but it was such a blessing that people in the class were asking me for it. And I said, sure. And so I’ve just learned to give it to anybody. And it has some good questions. Some of the research I’ve done as to why do you believe you need to be doing Christian TV? Is this really what you need to be doing?
Paul Lodato (19:12):
I would first say this. If you ha, if you aspire to be on Christian television, you need to make sure you have a great website. First. I thank God for all the digital media platforms, but the website you control. So that’s my first suggestion. Make sure you have a great website and, and get that look. There’s an old saying, people see you before they hear you. So make sure your stuff looks excellent. You put God’s name on something, make it look right. No, El CISO Christian TV. We’ve got a lot of cheesy looking stuff and Christian TV, and it’s not a representation of the gospel. I understand it takes money to do ministry, but if you’re going to do Christian TV, you do need to count the cost. And then you need to, first of all, say, Lord, is this a direction you have for me?
Paul Lodato (19:52):
And certainly if they have that direction, I mean, if I can point them in the right direction, we’d love to do that. That folks are w you know, your friends in Tulsa. We’ve got a great outlet. Now there, we have 22 affiliates in strategic markets. CTN does where nationwide on direct TV, three 76 dish network, two 67, Gloria star, satellite channel one 17, and the app star seven. We just finished an interview together on the contending for the faith show. And there’ll be able to watch that across the CTN network, and maybe you’ll have it on your website at some point or on your podcasts, make it available to them about what God has called you to do with, with Daniel King and King ministries. But it is, it is a definite refreshing, very refreshing to see someone like you, Daniel, that care about the gospel and just using all the tools that are available to people.
Paul Lodato (20:40):
So, yes Christian TV is certainly a vehicle. It’s an option for people. And if you’re saying, Hey, that’s what I want to do in a COVID world. You know, you can use digital media platforms, but getting on TV is a good vehicle that can enhance what God has called you to do. I’ve had some, some pastors come on the air, some evangelists that have come on the air since COVID hit. Cause they was like, man, I want to maximize my reach so it can enhance, but make sure you’re doing it God’s way because God don’t bless a mess. I mean, he’s loving, he’s gracious and his mercy is there, but do it the right way.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:11):
Well, thank you so much for being on the evangelism podcast. I encourage you to go to the website light of the word.tv, and you can find out more information about Paul and his wife and, and get a hold of the book, which she’s written a powerful book. And God bless you. And thank you so much for your heart for evangelists.
Paul Lodato (21:30):
Thank you, man. And thank you. I love you buddy. And God bless each and every one of you that are listening or watching this clip.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (21:37):
Thanks so much for listening to the evangelism podcast today. I’m excited about telling people about Jesus. And what we found is that as we go to different nations of the world, it takes us an average of about $1 for every person we’re able to reach with the gospel. And so some countries are more expensive. Some countries are a little bit less expensive, but on average, we’ve invested about $1 for every person we’re able to lead to Jesus. So today I’m asking you to go to my website, King ministries.com and give $1, $2, $5, become a monthly partner, help us to lead people to Jesus. Imagine you can start a party in heaven with just $1. Also go to Apple iTunes, leave us a review for the evangelism podcast with Daniel King. So lots of people can find this evangelism podcast. God bless you
Evangelism Podcast Host (22:31):
For more information about how to share your faith or to financially support our worldwide evangelistic outreaches. Visit King ministries.com. Again, that’s King ministries.com.