Grace TV – the money pit

Peter has an extraordinary ability to create “new”. New support, new supporters, new resources, new ministries etc etc. So no matter how many times he is knocked down, or how many things you might take away from him… he can always seem to rebuild bigger and better. In fact this is an integral part of his personality…. get in his way and he will be all the more driven to show you he doesn’t need you anyway. The more opposition the better. Some hockey players are like that – the stiffer the opponent, the more charged up they become. A former World Impact Ministry supporter.

Since it’s inception in 2006, The Christian Channel lost money. According to the CRTC the channel was losing about 1.2 million dollars a year. In the 3 years it was running, the CTRC noted the Christian Channel “has not shown any marked improvement in profitability over the past three years.” Did it ever occur to regulators the market was saturated?

In May 2009 the application for sale of this crippled tv channel was heard by the CRTC; the purchaser, World Impact Ministries. Cost. 4.19 million.

Someone at the CRTC hearing convinced the commissioners that:

WIM has committed to maintaining the commitments made by CCI and has stated its intentions to make considerable investments to achieve self-sustainability. The Commission considers that WIM will be in a better position to raise funds as it has significant expertise and experience in religious fundraising.

I’ve written about this in prior posts. The Christian Channel was renamed Grace TV and began to broadcast under the new ownership in June 2009.

Peter Youngren and his charity, World Impact Ministries had themselves a Canadian TV station, now competing in a specialized market which shares audience with Crossroads Christian Television Inc., (CTS/100 Huntley Street) The Miracle Channel, Vision TV/S-Vox, Joy TV and Salt and Light.

In the past the CRTC has been heavily invested in enforcing and nursing it’s religious broadcast policy. I think with the huge ongoing shakeups in media the CRTC is too busy to pay much attention to speciality channels right now.

One of the questions I’ve had around this purchase was, why Youngren? Who came to his door with this offer? How did the licence not only go through so quickly, but how did Youngren manage to get the channel on Shaw by March 2010?
Was he set up, or does it matter? Was he handed a golden goose or a golden calf? Is there a silent partner who may benefit no matter how Grace TV does under Youngren? Those are questions I doubt there are answers for. Youngren was unknown to the Canadian public until he bought this media venture. Ministries are run by human beings and numerous problems in the life of World Impact Ministries, Celebration Churches and Youngren holdings were not on the radar of the general public. The particular evangelical sub-culture Youngren is involved in doesn’t operate transparently. Silence is golden in more ways than one. Grandiose language is part of the sub-culture and dissent is seen as sin. Long buried issues in Youngren’s life and organization bubbled up to a more public level of awareness once he acquired Grace TV.

So how is Grace TV doing?

On May 31, 2010 Grace TV started running a ‘red alert’ campaign – begging for money to meet supposed needed payments. Given the concessions the CRTC gave this religious station, asking the public to hand them for 400 thousand dollars by June 10th, 2010 and another 350 thousand by June 30th, blatant begging is probably going to become a pattern.

… we’re all going to die if you don’t give us a half million bucks. This is part of what drives people like you and I nuts, the constant – as in ‘never ending’ fire alarm.

If Peter Youngren received the 400 thousand this month there would be a new crusade with a new cap/deadline next month. Peter Youngren – and Grace TV will always have a new campaign going on every month. If they received two hundred billion dollars this week, next month there would be a new theme and a new campaign. - a Canadian Christian

From Encounter, Grace TV June 17, 2010.

” We’ve laid out facts and figures More than you’ve ever seen any preacher on television do today this is a family talk.” Peter Youngren

TV is a money pit, a driven and cutthroat business, not a family. We are consumers of the produced product, not family. While religious programs and channels have a sub-set of loyal viewers, World Impact Ministries is an isolated outfit.

These are notes I jotted, from the Encounter update, which was a mixture of bravado and begging. I will say, given facts that have surfaced the past year, this is the most transparent I’ve seen this ministry. That isn’t saying much. Does it mean this station is ” Canada’s Gospel Voice to the World?” It’s a TV station, not Canada’s gospel voice,  a supposedly catchy slogan for marketing has little to do with reality.

Youngren sees three ‘enemies’ Grace TV is facing.

1. Recession. The world in a recession, we (Grace TV) have as many Cdn shows as we are allowed to have with the licence contract.
Many Grace TV producers come from other countries, mostly US which has been affected by recession.
That recession occurred one week after Grace TV agreement.
In the past two years ministries have cut back or maintained, WIM grew 40% last year.
“I don’t know of any other ministry that has grown like we have.” Peter Youngren

2. Distribution
Grace TV doubled it’s distribution.
When negotiating the purchase in 2009, distribution costs were  1.4 milion a year, now distribution costs are 2.9 million.
Grace TV reaches 50% of Cdn households and is now  now reaching 110% more than when purchased last year.
“Insiders are probably shocked by the growth.” Nathan Thurber
“Grace TV is the Canadian success story.”

931  Grace TV partners give monthly (but it’s up and down), nearly 5 thousand people gave the past year.

3. Time
Operational deficit has to break even.

Operational costs:
-$4,700.000/yr
-$392,000/month needed for operations
-$215,000 thousand has to come in through partners every month

Youngren stated reserves were gone a few months ago, but that Grace TV was growing every month.
I don’t know what ‘growing every month’ means.

-currently Grace TV is operating with a 80,000/month deficit

When Grace TV was purchased in June 10/09, World Impact Ministries made a down payment of 750 thousand dollars. Another 250 thousand dollars was paid toward purchase in December 2009.
The cost of the Grace TV is payable over 3 years; 1 million of the 4.19 million was paid off in the 1st year.

June 2010 appeal
$311,322.00 received in two weeks, both in gifts and investments

Interesting. The most interesting thing was that twice Youngren stated he was in sensitive negotiations with secular media and that he couldn’t say anything further.

Youngren also begged for investors,  stating that there was a 6% return on investment loans and that  in the 35 years World Impact Ministries had operated WIM had never failed in returning investments.

Crossroads Christian Communications Inc. has embarked  a capital fund campaign of 20 million – with an eye of increasing productions by 50%. CTS lost money in 2009 and told the CRTC it will operate in a deficit in 2010.   I don’t know how The Miracle Channel is doing, they are running about 4 fundraisers a year, and again, these charities don’t have some of the leeway to raise money Youngren has been given.

Doctrine, performance, professionalism, skills, results, quality,  professionalism and stewardship take second place in many religious media endeavors. I’m disheartened 5 thousand people have decided Grace TV is worthy of thier financial donations and loans.

Whatever age they may be, most religious media outlets are still owned or managed by men and women with the baby boomer mindset. For them media is a one-way conversation, because that’s all they’ve known. But sooner rather than later, that paradigm needs to change, because the audience is changing – and the audience isn’t happy with what they’re seeing and hearing. Phil Cooke The Last TV Evangelist, page 117

Update: Grace TV negotiated a longer  purchase payment period, when the June 10th payment goal wasn’t met.

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
This entry was posted in Grace TV, Peter Youngren, World Impact Ministries. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Grace TV – the money pit

  1. Hopesome says:

    How come they invent and we pay.

    All things considered it seems to me that these created money pits are more of a business mind (going heywire) than a ‘Jesus mind’ who would surely not lead his preachers into a ‘bum deal’ and then expect the general populus to pay the way out of it – (in Jesus name of course!) Would a loving Lord be for ever asking you for cash to bail out yet one more management – ego – motivated/orientated deal – NO only those who would hoodwink you into believing that its all for you and what a great way to invest your hard won fruits and don’t forget the gong waiting for you in heaven for doing so. Silver tongued and slimey ‘get thee behind me’

  2. Steve.M says:

    As stated at the begining of this thread:
    “…….this is an integral part of his personality…..get in his way and he will be all the more driven to show you he doesn’t need you anyway.”

    After some time working with and being closely involved with PY – I came to the conclusion that this man seems to suffer from accute “Narcissism Personality Disorder”. There is no other explaination to the continuous, repeated behaviour patterns manifested in his life and ministry.

    Intensely narcissistic people often live tumultuous lives, as few people can tolerate them for long. PY is a prime example.
    With the help of some faithfull “hatchetmen” who do the dirty work PY has lost numerous capable and proficient workers.

    The christian ministry scene is the perfect place for this type personality to flourish. With the advent of internet, christian TV etc, a narcissist preacher has access to a wide audience that only see this “talking head” without closer interaction.

    This dangerous personality disorder when combined with complete lack of accountability in ministry is perilous and highly toxic.

    When you understand narcissists, it becomes easier to deal with them = FLEE, FLEE, FLEE as quickly as possible!

  3. Bene D says:

    I wasn’t going to bother writing about Youngren again, but after looking at Megan Thurber on the show last week, I actually felt nauseated.

    Mrs. Thurber looked exhausted, beaten and trapped.
    I hope she has something left within her to kick in the flight response, and soon.

    The Grace TV Flickr photo set speaks wordlessly about what you’ve said.

    Now that the Canadian distribution goal has been reached, and unencumbered by people with healthy boundaries, Youngren is moving toward his next new distribution goal, and it’s disheartening to watch.

  4. Torontonian says:

    Quoting from above in the section about Distribution:

    Grace TV reaches 50% of Cdn households and is now now reaching 110% more than when purchased last year.
    —–

    At first glance, it seems an impressive statement until one considers that every cable system that carries the
    channel requires the viewer to have a digital set-top box to receive it. Such a digital channel usually comes at a premium and one has to pay a monthly fee for receving the service.

    With only 931 monthly partners, that’s an abysmally low participation rate from half of Canada’s households.
    Imagine, 931 out of about 6 Million households.
    Moreover, the $250,000 monthly operations costs coming from partners (931) represents a heavy
    burden on so few people. It averages about $250 per partner–per month!

    ——

    I just visited the GraceTV website and looked briefly at theJune 19 update. It seems that 2/3 of the program is about the money and very little is about the Message.
    If his message were convincing and appealing, he wouldn’t have to resort to begging and pandering as he does.

    I hope people start to analyse and think critically about his endeavour. I have and I can almost envision the
    buzzards circling in a year’s time.

  5. Steve.M says:

    Received information from some one on the inside that WIM is freezing / putting on hold all financial support to both its own “missionaries” and to local, national missionaries on various mission fields.

    Very sad to suddenly withdraw support from workers who
    have trusted and been commited to the “vision”.

    So they are effectively being “disposed” of as
    they become a burden to the “Man of God’s Ministry.”
    The show must go on!

    Also any monies channeled from partners through WIM to specific named missionaries is subjcet to a 5% administration fee.

    It would seem that Grace-TV is bleeding the finance
    from other projects and obligations. A definite “MONEY PIT”

    The “FACE” must retain the publics attention no matter what it costs!

    Narcissism, if not overcome, will cause the leader to see people as “attracive food,” whose only purpose is to feed the leader’s insatiable appetite for bigger and better achievements.

    A narsistic leader will use others as ”pawns in his game” to advance his own vision and ministry. People become ”disposable” items neccessary only when of use to the leader.

    In the worst case, rampant narcissism will even lead to unethical and illegal behavior as the leader is driven to achieve regardless of the price that must be paid.

    Anybody ever experienced anything similar? No doubt!

  6. Bene D says:

    The question I have is how many missionaries and local support endeavors did WIM have left?

    At the best of times media can chew through people, let alone money, religious media is not exempt.

    Like I’ve said, Youngren has been increasingly isolated, as facts about his behaviors and choices have come out. (Outlined in prior posts).

    If you look at The Marantha article, the business plan for Grace TV was very clear, carefully put together since December 2007, and since anything occurring outside the business plan is perceived as ‘enemies’ (recession, distribution and time) relationships are going to be very high up on the cut list.

    Does anyone know what missionaries and local support WIM has frozen and for how long?

  7. Bene D says:

    Steve:

    Financials aren’t my strong suit.

    If I invest a 1/4 million with Grace TV/WIM, are you saying my 6% return is robbing Paul to pay Peter?

    If WIM support is frozen for Grace TV payments and expansion, isn’t that 6% I make literally taking away from workers?

    I really would like to see the Globe & Mail or NatPo financial writers take a good look at this sale and this ministry. Something is off to me and at least some expert eyeballs could tell us if this is is just a media buy in a downturned market that has long term viability or it’s a series of bad choices.

    Meantime no matter what we are seeing, more people are harmed.

  8. oh brother says:

    heard that world impact ministries isnt doing mail outs. this undoubtedly includes grace tv. money must be tight for peter so stop mail outs. those are one of his favorite ways to solicite money.

  9. Bene D says:

    Apparently freezing World Impact Ministries mission support doesn’t amount to much.
    A couple of bible colleges and a couple of recent Celebration grads who got a small stipend.

    Older and wiser groups fled when they saw the writing on the wall and found more secure support.

  10. Lesley says:

    they still support missionarries and are doing mail outs more than ever

  11. DIVORCE STATEMENT says:

    Youngren has posted a statement admiting that he is now divorced. (for the second time). Of course it is impossible to keep it secrect when “half” of his world already knows this to be true. The other “half” of his world lives in an unreal charismatic wonderland where morally and ethicaly everything is permitted under the cover of “grace”.

    “Everything permitted” includes 2 divorces, extra-matiral affair with a church worker resuling in the birth of a child, church splits, numerous cases of conflict with employes and other ministers, etc. etc. etc. Pathetic and pitable!

    http://www.peteryoungren.org/impact/personal-statement

  12. Bene D says:

    Thanks for that.

    “The “ministry question” is not for me to decide.”

    Well, yes it is, and yes, Youngren has. I wonder what or who pressured him to acknowledge the second divorce becoming final?

  13. YOUNGRENS DIVORCE STATEMENT REMOVED says:

    Youngren has now quickly removed his statement concerning his recent second divorce. It happened to be distinctly one-sided – giving the impression that perhaps the fault and reason for his failure was with the other party (his former spouse).

    Very similar to Hinns apparent suprise and astonishment that his wife “divorced” him.

    No longer available:
    http://www.peteryoungren.org/impact/personal-statement

  14. Bene Diction says:

    I have a screen shot of it, I wondered if it would disappear. This is the text:

    This statement is to confirm what my family, many personal friends, co-workers and fellow pastors have known for more than two years, and what I shared with the Toronto International Celebration Church one year ago; that RoxAnne and I have experienced a marital breakdown, which has resulted in divorce.
    The reason is unresolved long-standing issues over the course of the marriage, between the two of us, not by any involvement of a third party. These painful matters have been the focus of much prayer and counseling. Our children are grown and I am very proud of each one of them, and grateful for the love I have received from them.
    I’ve not been ready to share with a wider audience until now. The past years have been personally agonizing, as I have dealt with my part in this failure. While experiencing personal brokenness, I am humbled at the Lord’s blessing and His favor, like never before in my life. I have learned afresh to rest in Jesus Christ, and His grace has empowered share openly about this failure, and to move forward.
    What about ministry? Nine years ago, at a very low point in my life, I was ready to quit ministry, when Jesus revealed Himself again, and showed me His grace and love. The “ministry question” is not for me to decide. My life is not my own, I belong to another – Jesus Christ, and it is His will that matters. As long as Jesus gives me strength and continues to open amazing opportunities to evangelize un-reached people, to minister His grace in the local church I love, The Toronto International Celebration Church, and via television around the world, I will continue to advance His Gospel.
    Thank you to all our partners, and special thanks to pastors from many parts of the world. You have given me your wisdom, strength and love, and I thank God for you.

    Do you know when this was put up on the organization website?

  15. Re - YOUNGRENS DIVORCE STATEMENT REMOVED says:

    I received information that similar statements in Swedish and Finnish were posted during week 20. English version possibly posted week 19?
    In any case it was visible only a very short time in WIM-website.

    Swedish
    http://etal.se/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66:skilsmaessa-bekraeftad-efter-tre-ars-separation&catid=24:missionsvisionennews&Itemid=46

    Finnish
    http://youngrensuomi.net/index.php/celebration/2274/

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