The Crazy Story Where Unexpected People Start a Network.
Long before we had a name few people could say without turning it into a question, we began with a vision so large it seemed not only impossible, but almost silly. We had been sitting together in a room for over an hour trying to realistically discuss, without laughing at the absurdity of it, building a video empire. By ‘us’ I mean Gaylen Laing, an architect, and Chason Laing, an amateur filmmaker, theologian, and Gaylen’s son.
With his wife Charlsa, Gaylen had travelled overseas, toured the famous cities, ate at numerous boutiques and coffee shops, drove through the winding countrysides, and by the end of it, had travelled through much of Europe. In every city and quaint town they visited they couldn’t help but notice the people filling the shops and pubs, logging onto wifi networks, and streaming video content to their phones and laptops. Between work and family, they did not have much time for watching much of anything, and when they did watch something it was mostly on the large TV in his living room (and usually BBC shows). But across Europe, they were witnessing the change in how people consume video content.
(And consume is the correct word. If you conduct a brief google search you will discover the amount of video content an individual consumes a day has skyrocketed over the last decade.)
But what surprised them the most on these trips was not the high price of coffee and lack of creamer, it was not the many cultures interacting with one another, it was not the fast cars on the Autobahn or the the many amazing architectural wonders scattered across Europe. What surprised them the most was the “lack of Christian content anywhere.” (By ‘Christian’ he meant ‘truthful stories.’ Not ‘preachers and sermons’ as Gayeln would make clear later.)
They conducted an ‘in depth’ investigation; glancing at people’s screens as they walked by, peaking over shoulders, asking people what they were watching. In their hotel rooms they scoured the internet looking for networks with Christian influence. Disappointed at the search results they began flat our asking people; “What are you watching? Do you know about any Christian networks? Would you watch one if one existed?”
That was how they discovered the void; global video content creation was happening faster than at any point in history but as they scoured across Europe they couldn’t find a single person watching a Christian network.
Open their return flight home they determined one of two things had to be true; either Christian networks do not exist and that’s why no one is watching them, or they do exist, but no one wants to watch them.
Meanwhile, Chason was at home in Texas working for a church and desperately searching for a way out of his position. During his final semester at Dallas Theological Seminary he had taken a placement test to examine personality traits, skills, and other factors to help him determine what kind of church he should pursue in finding a position. The test came back. “With five weeks remaining of my four-year degree I sat across from the Head of Placement Services who stared curiously at my test results. ‘Wow. This is unusual. According to your results you should probably never work in a church.'”
Now, working in a church, it would seem the placement office had it right. “The church job just wasn’t a good fit for me. It wasn’t working for my family. I prayed about it for six weeks and then, even though I didn’t have another job lined up, I turned in my notice. My parents were in Europe so I didn’t get a chance to talk to them about it first, but I just felt like God gave me the go ahead.”
Gaylen returned home from Europe and called Chason. “Can we meet at the office?”
Sitting across from each other, Gaylen brought up the question that had been on his mind the entire flight home; “I think God wants us to start a television network.”
To his credit, Chason did laugh but not that hard. “I really did think it was a joke at first. But then he kept talking.”
Chason was sold on the idea but after a long comical conversation they determined they had some problems; limited resources, lack of experience, no equipment, no audience, and neither one of them knew what IPTV stood for. It would also require Chason to quit his job.
“We wanted to create a channel with watchable content specifically for non-Christian and unreached audiences that contained the truth found in Jesus. We did a lot of searches on google and looked into dozens of Christian platforms, broadcast networks, internet sites; the whole shabang. While it is not difficult to find great Christian content online or Christian broadcast networks, it is difficult to find non-Christians who watch them.”
By the end of the meeting they had formed the beginning of a company. They would need a name, but that story would come later.
Create content that captivates audiences Christian and non-Christian alike around the world, that makes the world a bit brighter, enhances family time, encourages children, and brings people together around the message of Jesus.