For Jess Stainbrook, media is an excellent tool for positively impacting lives and sharing his faith with others. In 2006, Stainbrook founded 1615 The GC Media Project (www.1615.tv) with the mission to bring positive change to today’s culture through radio, television and film. Stainbrook received a “Teddy” award from Movieguide for his work as executive producer and founder of the film “Seven Days in Utopia,” a family-friendly film that features actor Robert Duvall.
Stainbrook has worked on projects with ESPN and PBS and other networks and has won eight Emmy Awards. Each year, Stainbrook works with the Biblical Recorder’s Roman Gabriel III to cover the Super Bowl, while highlighting a Christian perspective. Stainbrook is also executive vice president of Scripture Union, a ministry that encourages and equips people through various media to access and regularly read the Bible. In this interview, Stainbrook shares about the role of media, new technology and the importance of quality entertainment.
Q: Tell our audience about why you made the transition from successful secular television to ministry and 1615.tv?
A: I think you get to the point of your life where you look at your career, [and consider] whether it’s been successful or whether it has significance. … About eight years ago God called me out of what I would call my full-time job in media and broadcast television. … My call was how do you go about impacting the world through your profession in media politics, government, sports, and influence our culture. But of course on top of that is to do it through Christ. What we’re really trying to do is be like Jesus, … to produce excellent media content … with truth. … More often than not many people find their way to God [by] reading the Bible and discover[ing] the truth. Our goal is to create great content [and] provide a good discussion for people to discover [Jesus] on their own.
At Super Bowl Media Day with Sold out Team (from left): Frank Bokoski, Roman Gabriel III and Jess Stainbrook. Stainbrook uses his media influence to spread the gospel.
Q: With all the new technology available for people to follow sports and entertainment, telling a faith-based story is becoming more mainstream. Where do you see this entire process going in the next generation?
A: We are in this great time right now with this explosion of technology, where information and entertainment is available to everyone. It used to be if you were a filmmaker or production studio that you would have to have deep pockets and mountains of equipment to be able to produce the kind of product that’s needed in order to put out quality programming. Today, you could go out with your cell phone and make a documentary that [is]socially relevant anywhere, anytime. … With a push of a button immediately anybody in the world can see it. … As filmmakers and believers, … we can go out and train people with big visual storytelling and documenting situations, and have an impact on the culture utilizing technology in this next generation. You can travel to Third World countries and see children using cell phones. [With] the available opportunity to communicate so quickly, there is coming a day very soon where we will … push a button on my phone and push the Bible out to almost anyone in the world.
Q: Why is covering the Super Bowl so important to you?
A: Sports and media are the two biggest influencers of our youth today.
Take something in the United States like the Super Bowl – a very interesting Barna survey just came out that says that athletes who speak about their faith have more impact than church leaders. So, when we are out there covering [the] Super Bowl we have the opportunity to impact more people than the guys [who] are standing in the pulpit, because the people and our youth are attracted and hearing those messages.
Q: Talk about your move to Pennsylvania and one of your new challenges as executive vice president of Scripture Union?
A: You never know how the Lord’s going to work. Everybody expected I would go right to the next feature film … after we finished up “Seven Days in Utopia.”
I joined up with Scripture Union here in Valley Forge, Penn. They’re involved [in] what’s known in Christian circles as Bible engagement, which is just a big term for getting people more involved in reading the Bible on a regular basis so God can impact their lives.
Q: How do our readers find out more about what you are doing?
A: You can get the movie “Seven Days in Utopia,” a great family movie starring Robert Duvall on DVD, on Netflix, and on Amazon and Yahoo.com.
You can find out interesting ways to access the Bible at scriptureunion.com, and [go to] jessstainbrook.com or 1615.tv to see our Sold Out Super Bowl programming and other great film and media products we are involved in doing.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roman’s Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio can be heard in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook page: Roman Gabriel III Fan Page; connect with him on Twitter: romangabriel3rd; email him: [email protected]: or call (910) 431-6483. For more from Gabriel, visit here.)