Ideas on a Deadline: An In-Depth Interview with Phil Cooke


How can you be creative when facing deadlines? Doug Powe, Director of the Lewis Center, interviews media consultant Phil Cooke about gaining clarity about expectations, saying “no,” and stumbling blocks to creativity. 

Listen to this interviewwatch the interview video on YouTube, or continue reading.

Doug Powe: Let me begin with talking about your new book, Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking. I really enjoyed the book, which speaks to multiple audiences, including a church audience that needs to think about many of the things that you suggest. What sets your book and thinking about creativity apart?  

Phil Cooke: There are a lot of books, experts, blogs, and social media feeds on creativity. There’s a lot of creativity, but there’s not a lot on being creative under pressure, particularly when you’re operating at a high level. Everybody — you may be a real estate agent, you may be an executive, you may be a pastor, a leader of some other kind, but we all have due dates. We all have projects that must be done by next Tuesday or next Friday. 

And the truth is, we live under this myth that we think I’ve got this report I must do on Tuesday. I’d like another week. If I could have another week, it’d be amazing. It won’t be as great, but I’ll come up with something. That’s a total myth. You can have the breakthrough ideas you need when you need them the most. There are some interesting techniques. All my life I’ve lived under deadlines. I’ve worked in broadcast television. I’ve worked in advertising. I’ve produced a couple super bowl commercials, and I learned early on that they’re not going to delay the Super Bowl because I can’t come up with a good idea for a TV commercial. So, pressure has been a part of my whole career. So, I did two things. I used a lot of techniques I’ve used in the past in the book. I also talked about a lot of research. There’s some very interesting research out there. And then I also talked to an enormous number of high-level, creative people, both here in Hollywood and in Madison Avenue in New York. I think a real key to the book is that it’s not just being creative, it’s how to be creative when the clock is ticking, when the end of the runway is coming up fast, how to handle those moments when deadlines are looming. That’s really the key. 

Doug Powe: I appreciate that, Phil. I think the struggle for most people is being creative or trying to be as creative as they can when deadlines are looming. That’s what sort of gets people in a bind. 

You talk about how it’s important to know expectations — to help you get there. I found this interesting because I think it’s true that no matter where we are in life there are certain expectations that are put on us by our boss or by a client like the Super Bowl. When I teach, I have expectations of my students. All the places where we engage, there are expectations. So how is it that we can get clarity on the expectations to help us to be more creative? 

Phil Cooke: I consulted with a church one time who had an incredibly creative media team. I mean they were brilliant — the video shooters, the editors, creative guys. However, they weren’t interested in expectations at all. They weren’t thinking about the congregation, the online audience, the people that would view their stuff. All they thought about was “How can I be more creative?” And I kept trying to talk to them about expectations and strategy and what we need to be thinking about. Why are we doing this? And who are we doing it for? They refused to listen and, as a result, they completely failed. They missed the target 100 percent.  

It was an early lesson for me that we fail if we don’t listen to expectations. Early in my career I delivered some brilliantly creative solutions for problems that didn’t exist because I wasn’t paying attention to what the client really needed or what they were expecting. Until we get real clarity on what the clients are looking for, what our boss is looking for, what our congregation’s looking for, then we cannot deliver.  

Sundays come with relentless regularity, so pastors and church leaders must be ready week after week after week. Knowing the expectations of the people sitting in the pews or the people watching over a livestream are critical if we’re going to make an impact in the culture today. I don’t start any project until I really am clear on the expectations because I’ve spent too much time over the years missing the target because I wasn’t clear. I didn’t have clarity and I tried something I thought was great, which very often turned out to be great. If it’s not meeting the expectations of your boss or your client, or your congregation, you will fail. 

Doug Powe: That’s true. The reality is that we often don’t get clear expectations. And if we did, that would bring the tension down in some cases, for what it is that we’re trying to accomplish. 

Phil Cooke: And here’s something interesting, Doug. Expectations are remarkably easy. You don’t have to do focus groups. We consulted with a big Christian television station on the East Coast because they wanted to update their programming and try to meet the needs of the community more effectively. We did a massive number of focus groups and phone calls to people.  You don’t have to go to that kind of trouble. You can do some emails, some phone calls, or even man on the street interviews. It’s important to constantly ask people “Hey, are we hitting the target here? Is this what you’re thinking about? Are we coming close?” I had a phone call this morning with a client about a voice-over narrator for a commercial series we’re doing for a big ministry in the Midwest. He started the conversation with “Well, I don’t like that voice,” and I said, “Well, that doesn’t help. It’s okay that you don’t like it. But tell me what you’re thinking about. What do you want? More emotional? Do you want a male or female?” Once we started that conversation and I started getting his expectations in mind, it really made a difference, so that our second round did hit the target. So, we ought to automatically be thinking how can I figure out what the client, the boss, the congregation, the audience — what do they need? What are they looking for? That’s so important. 

Doug Powe: Let me shift a little bit. I think we all sort of dream about great aha! moments that help us culminate our creativity or help in the creative process. But you talk about how this typically doesn’t magically appear, and I found that interesting. I can sit on my deck, or I can sit on my favorite chair, I can drink my coffee, and that aha! moment will sort of grasp me. But you come at it differently, and I appreciate that. I think it’s helpful. 

Phil Cooke: Experience and research both indicate that aha! moments don’t happen out of the blue. They’re most often the culmination of a long process of working through things. Now here’s the key to having more aha! moments in your life, and it’s kind of your subconscious taking over. If we sit at our desk, pounding our head against the wall, trying to come up with that great idea, very often we get nothing. It’s a nightmare. I discovered you need to get in a mode where you can kind of think about it, process it, do your reading, do your research, visit the location, whatever it takes to solve the problem you’re trying to solve. But then, get to a state where you kind of let your subconscious take over — and this is a big part of some of the solutions I outline in the book — like taking a walk.  

It’s interesting throughout history the number of people that walk. Søren Kierkegaard, the great theologian, said I’ve walked into the best ideas in my whole life. Beethoven was known for walking through the streets with a music sheet and a pencil in his hand, walking randomly, and he’d get an idea and jot it down quickly. The most famous was probably Charles Dickens. He would walk literally up to 20 or 30 miles. People thought he had a mental problem because he loved walking so much, but that’s what would trigger great ideas. I was in London a few years ago, and I picked up a little book called Night Walks, written by Charles Dickens during a period of insomnia. In the middle of the night when he couldn’t sleep, he would get up and go out for walks through downtown London. Many literary experts today say that some of the brilliant characters in his novels came out of people he saw and encountered during those walks in the middle of the night.  

When we’re walking, we’re not concentrating on something. We’re not trying to solve the problem. We’re letting our mind kind of wander and it may be walking, it may be driving a car, it may be taking a shower. Something like 74 percent of creative people out there have had ideas in the shower. I’m one of them. When we relax and let our subconscious kind of take over, our brain starts connecting things that we normally wouldn’t have connected in our normal conscious mind. It’s not a weird New Agey thing. It’s allowing your brain to start making connections that we wouldn’t normally make and that is very often when the best ideas happen. 

Doug Powe: Hearing you describe those individuals reminds me that when we get not so focused on what we’re doing, and we’re walking and allowing ourselves the freedom to get out and experience light,  it allows the creative juices to flow in a different way than when you’re trying to sit there and focus on what do I say, what do I write? 

Phil Cooke: Willie Nelson, the great country singer, said he’s written his best songs driving in his truck. So, whatever it is for you. It’s funny, when I’d get stuck here at home, I used to go out in the driveway and shoot baskets. Well, I started focusing on my shot and that didn’t work. Then I set up a heavy bag in the garage and I’d go out and punch the bag. That would make me feel better sometimes, but then I’d started thinking about my boxing technique. When you’re walking, you’re not really thinking about walking. You’re letting your mind go, and driving is very often the same way. So, any activity that lets your subconscious go. 

I mentioned the shower a minute ago. I was talking to my team one time and shared my frustration that, when that water hits me the ideas flow but by the time I get out, dry off, find a pen and paper to write it down, I usually forget the idea. A member of our team googled it and found a company called Aqua Notes that makes waterproof legal pads. So now my productivity is shooting through the roof. I can write whatever comes to my mind while I’m standing in the shower, so it’s fantastic. Letting your mind wander is really the key. 

Doug Powe: I was going to talk about your idea of writing it down later, but let’s go ahead and talk about that now. You talk about a period in your life when you didn’t write things down. And you also share — and this is in chapter 14 — a great story about the importance of writing things down. If you don’t mind sharing that story and why it’s so critical that, even when you think you have had that aha! moment, you go ahead and write it down so you don’t lose it. 

Phil Cooke: Ideas, I’ve discovered, are the most fragile thing in the world, and if we don’t write them down, we’ll forget them. Our brain is not geared for having and holding ideas. I was at a Christmas party here in Los Angeles, several years ago, and I met a businessman from South Africa. He was very wealthy, and I have the spiritual gift of asking whatever everybody else in the room is thinking, so I finally blurted out, “Well, how did you make your money?” And he said, “Well, Phil, it’s interesting you ask. Years before, back in the days of flip phones, my wife asked me to go shopping. I hate shopping. I had a normal job. I was a regular guy. I hated to go to the mall, but I love my wife, so I went with her. I went shopping. After a couple hours of shopping, I got tired, so I sat down on a bench in the mall while she went to one last women’s store to check out a dress. I’m sitting there, and I started watching teenagers use their cell phone. This idea hit me out of the blue. What if these teenagers could download their favorite songs and use those as ring tones on their phone?” Nobody had done that in that part of the world yet. He said, “I got a pen out of my pocket. I didn’t have a paper, so I found a brochure sitting on the bench, wrote it down, put it in my pocket at the very moment my wife called me into the store to look at a dress. I went in and completely forgot about the idea. Six months went by, and I went to the closet, put on that same jacket, put my hand in my pocket, and I found that note. You know what? I reread it. I remembered that night at the mall. I need to make this happen.” So, he started out by making a deal for 5 songs with a local cell phone company, and he told me that two years later he sold that that company for $70 million. And he looked at me he said, “But here’s the thing, Phil, had I not written that idea down, I would have completely forgotten about it.” And I’ll tell you, Doug, that got my attention, and you will never catch me without notepads in my pocket. I’ve got two or three apps on my phone that allow me to jot down notes. You don’t know where God could drop that idea on you that could completely change your life. It could be in a classroom, in a church service, walking through the park, driving in a car. Anywhere that idea could happen, and when that aha! moment does happen, I want to be ready. 

So, I think writing things down, getting in that habit, finding the tools, whether you’ll keep a notebook or use little index cards, I think it’s a great technique to get into because it can really save you. I’ve got notebook after notebook after notebook of the ideas that I had early in my career when I might not have had the budget or the crew, or the team or the expertise to do some of those ideas. Now I go back to those notebooks, and I think, okay, this could work now. And I’ll pull those and try those with different projects we’re doing today. So, I tell you, writing it down is a habit that can really transform your life. 

Doug Powe: It’s something I’ve heard previously, but you really brought it home with that story, and I appreciate you sharing it. So, I’m going to try to be more mindful of making sure that I have a pen and a pad, or something on my phone, where I can make sure I keep good notes. 

Phil Cooke: You never know, you never know.  

Doug Powe: You do not know. One that I think can be challenging for people who are extremely busy and trying to do a lot of things is they have a hard time saying no.  

Phil Cooke: Yes. 

Doug Powe: You’re always thinking, “I can fit that in to get that done along with everything else that is going on.” You point out that we have to say no, if we want to be more creative, and I found that really intriguing. I think it’s good advice. Can you share a little bit more how saying no helps us to be more creative? 

Phil Cooke: Well, the truth is, Doug, that if you feel like God’s called you to do something significant with your life you’re going to have to say no to a lot of other things. And some of those things may be good things. In the book I talk about one of my favorite quotes. It’s from investor Warren Buffett, who said the difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no most of the time. And so, what’s funny is, for most of us, if you’re in the ministry or you’re creative like me, it’s hard to say no. We are nice people. We want to help people. We want to serve and that’s what we do. It’s part of our nature.  However, we need to figure out a way to protect our time and not take every single request that comes in.  

And so, in the book I list about five or six alternative ways to say no to people that are nice. You never want to be a jerk about it. I find very often in my career I’ve worked with people that could be such a jerk about saying no and very arrogant and condescending. But you don’t have to be that way at all. Sharing with people that you’re booked or have other things scheduled or you’re working on a project right now, can be done in a gracious way. We must learn to do it because ultimately, if our no means nothing, then our yes will mean nothing.  

We must have boundaries in our professional lives. I came across one study that indicated when you’re focused and in that creative zone working on a project and someone comes in your office and interrupts you, that when they leave it will take you 20 to 40 minutes to get back into that same level of focus. How many of those interruptions can you take in a day before your entire day is blown? So, one of the things we’ve learned in this digital age we live in is that deep work, deep time, focused deep time is critically important.  

There’s not a single study that indicates multitasking does anything positive. I mean it helps you do a lot of things badly — it’s basically the bottom line. In fact, one study indicates that when we multitask, we lower our IQ by about 10 points. So, if we’re going to be successful, productive, and creative, we need to learn to focus and have that deep time. But to do this, we need to shut the door. We need to have those private moments when we can really focus. So, learning to say no I think is the foundational skill of delivering great ideas on a deadline, because I’ll tell you as that deadline approaches you need to zero in and really get serious about what you’re doing.  

Doug Powe: Again, I’m talking with Phil Cooke and talking about his latest book Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative. Phil completely hit me hard by talking about how multitasking doesn’t help you. I appreciate you saying that Phil. I think you’re right. I again appreciate that if we don’t create spaces where we block out all the noise and everything else, then it’s not going to be possible for us to do our best work. 

Phil Cooke: It’s true. Those kinds of spaces are critical, and we need to be in those spaces regularly. We need to show up on a regular basis, in those private times, if we’re going to really create the ideas worth having. So, I can’t overemphasize that enough. 

Doug Powe: As I get more gray hair, I am encouraged to read that it’s not that older people are less creative — because there is this notion by some that as you get older you become less creative. But you do say that there must be a willingness to continue to try new things. Do you think it’s harder as we get older to continue to try new things, that what we lose is not necessarily the ability to be creative, but what we’re losing is our willingness to continue to try different things?  

Phil Cooke: Before we did this interview this morning, I put my daughter and her husband and our two grandkids on a plane. They live in Nashville, and so they came to visit for a week. I can tell you this. When you spend time with your grandkids, you learn why we have children in our twenties, not as we get older. They wear me out. So, there are physical restraints. There are physical things that cause us to want to slow down a little bit as we get older. We naturally are not willing to take the risks that we were in our twenties or thirties.  

But the truth is, we need to stay engaged if we’re going to stay creative. The research I talk about in the book indicates that there’s not a shred of research that says we get less creative as we get older. In fact, I showcase in the book several people who are brilliantly creative in their seventies and eighties and even nineties.  

And, by the way, there’s also no research that indicates some people are born creative and some aren’t. Whenever I speak on this topic, I always get somebody who comes up afterwards and says “Phil, that’s great but I’m not creative. I’m not. I wasn’t born creative.” That’s a myth, a total myth. There’s no indication, no research whatsoever that some are born creative, and some aren’t. It’s like a muscle. We must use it and we must be engaged. We have to be reading, looking at the culture, looking at the world that we live in. 

I have a friend who works in the logistics world. She’s been an executive for a big delivery company all her career, and she’s quite brilliant. She’s now on the board of a couple major Fortune 500 companies and, even though she’s retired, she’s still plugged in. She’s still talking about logistics all the time. She’s reading about it. She’s studying it. She’s talking to people about it. As long as she does that, she’s going to be creative as long as she wants. 

As we get older, we naturally might want to physically slow down a little bit and think that we’re getting less creative, but it’s not the case. Very often, I’ll consult with churches, and I’ll work with a creative team, and I’ll very often see that a pastor or an executive pastor or other leader will defer to the younger voices in the room. I’m glad that we have younger people in the room. I’m thrilled that younger people want to get plugged into leadership roles at church. However, don’t stop listening to those older creative voices on your team. If you’re one of those older members of the team, don’t automatically step back for a younger person, because your ideas are still valid. The experience that you bring to the table is so important. So, I really kind of get passionate about that because I see so often how older professionals, older creatives, older ministry leaders start to feel marginalized. They start to feel they’re not being listened to, but nothing could be more damaging to a church or ministry. We need those voices, and we need to hear.  

Now one thing that I have learned in writing the book is that we don’t get less creative as we get older, but we do change our perspective on creativity, which is even a better reason to keep the older voices on the team, because they look at creativity from a different angle and a different perspective. It’s always great to have that kind of diversity on a team when you’re being creative. I don’t think that there’s any research that indicates we get less creative as we get older as long as we’re still exercising that muscle: staying engaged, learning, growing. I have a little metal brass quote on my desk from Michelangelo who at the peak of his powers said, “I’m still learning.” I want to be that way until the end, so I think that’s critically important. 

Doug Powe: We’ve talked about things related to creativity, but I think one of the most helpful things in the book is what do when you hit stumbling blocks. If you’re in any profession, you’re going to hit stumbling blocks, and this is particularly true of pastors. It might be with a sermon or other church leaders with ministry ideas. How do we try to do something different to make this ministry be more fruitful? Share what to do in order to get the creative juices flowing again after we hit stumbling blocks. 

Phil Cooke: The first thing I do is get out of there. If I’m stuck on an idea and I’m sitting at my desk and banging my head against the wall, and nothing is working, I get out of there. And very often I will take a walk or a drive, but there are a lot of other things.  

One of the things I’ve discovered is I hold back as long as I possibly can. For instance, if I’m writing a book, I don’t start writing right away. I research, I read, I study, and I hold off writing as long as I can. I’m also working on an advertising campaign for a ministry in the Midwest, and I’ve got to write some television commercials, but I’m holding off as long as I can. And while I’m holding off, those ideas are bouncing around in my head. I’m thinking about them. I’m cogitating on them. I’m doing the research. When I finally sit down to write, it’s like the dam breaking open. I can’t help it. I can’t hold it back anymore, and I sit down and those ideas flow. Very often, they’ll flow so fast I have trouble keeping up at my laptop.  

So first, don’t start too soon. I think that many people hit that creative wall because they simply started too soon. What we call writers block happens because you’re not fully ready to sit down and write, so hold it as long as you can. Certainly, it’ll make you nervous because you’ll see the deadline coming up. Pilots tell me, when they see the end of that runway approaching on a takeoff, their blood starts pumping, and their adrenaline starts flowing. Things start happening. It’s the same way with creativity. As long as you can hold off, that’s a great thing.  

Another idea is to go to the source. I tell pastors, especially, stop meeting in conference rooms. I’m so sick of meeting in conference rooms. If the problem is in the parking lot, have the meeting in the parking lot. If the problem is in the educational building, have the meeting in the educational building. It’ll change your perspective and change the quality of your ideas if you start having the meeting where the problem lies.  

In the book, I write about how we stopped in Las Vegas for a few months when we moved to California. We had been living in Oklahoma, we were moving to LA, and we stopped in Vegas for a couple months and stayed with my in-laws so we could look for a house here in Los Angeles. While I was there, a friend introduced me to the marketing director at Circus Circus Hotel, Excalibur, and SAHARA. She did all their marketing, and she hired me to be a copywriter. So, I was writing advertising, naming menu items, and coming up with TV commercials and all kinds of stuff. It was a job to help me bridge over to when I came to LA.  

This was at the time when Vegas was trying to be family-friendly, and Circus Circus Hotel opened what was the largest dome-covered amusement park in the world designed for little bitty kids. So, they came to me and said, “Hey, we’ve got to name the rides. Come up with names for all the rides in the amusement park.” So, I tried for a week. I was beating my brains against the wall, and nothing was coming, and nothing was working. So, I realized these rides are for kids my daughter’s age. So, I called Kelsey’s second grade teacher. I said, “Look, can I come in for an hour and talk to the kids about this?” And she said, “Sure, come on in.” So, I sat down with the second graders. And I said, “Okay, we’ve got a roller coaster that goes through the desert.” Some kid yelled out “Canyon Blaster.” Okay, check. I did another one. Okay, this flips you upside down and all around, and another kid yelled out “Road Runner.” Check. 

So, I went down the list, and these second graders named all the rides, and I took them the next day and presented them to the Circus Circus leadership team. They didn’t change a single name, and we went back 30 years later to take our grandkids to the amusement park, and the rides are still there, and they’re still called by those names.  

So, I learned go to the source. Go to the people that can help you the most. I mentioned focus groups and phone calls and man on the street interviews earlier. Those are great tools. Don’t feel like you must come up with everything on your own. Very often, you can break through that block by going out and talking to people who will be affected by it or who have more insight than you do, and you’ll be amazed how often that will trigger great ideas. 

Doug Powe: Phil, it’s has been fantastic having this conversation with you. I want to end on what I think is something that is critical for all of us, and it’s how to make our dream somebody else’s dream. You name it differently. You say how to make your dream their dream. But what are some things to keep in mind when you’re pitching ideas to others? You named a couple as you were talking about going to the source. But when you’re trying to get people to connect with what it is you’re doing and to really make our dream their dream, what are some of the things we need to keep in mind? 

Phil Cooke: Working in Hollywood and in advertising the way I do, I’m pitching ideas constantly. I’m always pitching them to a studio, or a producer, or a client, a pastor, maybe. And the truth is all of us pitch ideas constantly. I mean if my wife wants me to take her out to dinner tonight, she’s going to pitch me on the idea. If I want to get romantic with my wife, I’ve got to pitch her on the idea. You want a raise at your work? You’ve got to pitch your boss on the idea. So, I think all of us need to think seriously about our skill and our ability to pitch ideas to other people. It’s so very, very important if we want to get them accepted. And some of the ways to do it are very critical.  

Number one: be brief. Get to the point right away. So often people will pitch me an idea, and they talk and they talk and they talk. A guy called me last week, and he had an idea he wanted to pitch me. I blocked 45 minutes to an hour to talk to him on the phone. He started off saying, “this kind of started 30 years ago.” And he started going through his whole life. He never paused. He kept going, and I could not get his attention to stop him from talking. Fortunately, it was a phone call and not a Zoom call. So, while he was talking, I put him on the speaker phone and set up the lighting and the camera for a podcast I had to do that afternoon. Then I answered about 20 emails, then I started a blog post about why you shouldn’t drone on and on and on when you’re pitching an idea and got it almost completely written. After 55 minutes, he finally paused and said, “What do you think?” and I said, “I don’t know. We booked an hour for this. I don’t really have time to respond. I’ve got to go to another meeting.” And we moved on. So, for number one, be brief. Get to the point. The people you’re pitching to are usually busy, so be brief. Get to the point.  

Come with two or three ideas. You don’t have to pitch them all. But very often, if they don’t like your first idea, they’re going to say, “Okay, what else you got?” and if you don’t have anything, you’re done. So, don’t come with one idea. Try to have two or three. 

Another good idea is the slickest presentation rarely wins. It’s not about how slick your presentation is. It’s how good the idea is. Really hone that idea, make it work. 

Another idea is don’t bug people. Very often someone will come into my office, pitch me an idea for a television program or some other idea, and on their way home in the car they’ll call me to say “What do you think? You going to do it?” Give me a little time to think about this. Give me time to talk to my team about it. So don’t bug people over the idea. I think that’s important.  

And the last thing I would say is very often you’ll schedule an appointment to go pitch your idea to somebody. It could be the pastor, your boss, a client. Who knows? An investor, potential investor, a donor. You made the appointment with Mr. or Mrs. Big. When you walk in, Mr. Big has somebody else in the room, and you don’t know who they are, and you didn’t make an appointment with that guy, and you don’t know why he or she is there. It could be the boss’s business partner or wife or girlfriend — you have no idea — a golfing buddy. You don’t have any idea. Very often we think, okay, I’m going to ignore that guy and pitch to the guy I came to see. By ignoring that guy, you’re making a huge mistake. Because as soon as you walk out of the room, Mr. Big will turn to this friend and say, “Hey, so what did you think?” If you ignored him, he’s going to say “Well, frankly, I didn’t like that guy very much, and I didn’t like his idea.”  

So, whoever’s in the room, embrace them. You may not know who they are, they may not be introduced to you, but if there’s somebody else there, embrace that person, make them part of the conversation. They’re more likely, when you walk out of the room, to turn to their friend and say, “Wow! That guy’s really sharp. I like that idea.” We should constantly be honing our ability to present ideas, because if you’re a leader sooner or later, you’re going to be presenting to your team, a donor or a series of donors or your congregation. It doesn’t matter. There are going to be people out there to pitch to, and the art of making your dream become their dream is going to be critical for you to go to the next level in your life and your career. 

Doug Powe: Phil, thank you so much. This has been fantastic. His latest book is Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative. It has been wonderful to get a chance to talk with you again, and you did not disappoint. You think quickly on your feet. 

Phil Cooke: I rambled a little bit because I get so excited about this topic. I got pumped, so sorry about that. But it was really, really fun.  

Ideas on a Deadline book coverRelated Resources



About Author

Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke is a filmmaker, media consultant, and founder of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles, California. His newest book is Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking (Inspire, 2022), available at and Amazon. He is also the author of Maximizing Your Influence: Making Digital Media Work for Your Church, Your Ministry, and You (Insight International, 2020), available at Cokesbury and Amazon.

Rev. Dr. F. Douglas Powe, Jr.

F. Douglas Powe, Jr., is director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership and holds the James C. Logan Chair in Evangelism (an E. Stanley Jones Professorship) at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC. He is also co-editor with Jessica Anschutz of Healing Fractured Communities (Palmetto, 2024) and coauthor with Lovett H. Weems Jr. of Sustaining While Disrupting: The Challenge of Congregational Innovation (Fortress, 2022). His previous books include The Adept Church: Navigating Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Abingdon Press, 2020); Not Safe for Church: Ten Commandments for Reaching New Generations; New Wine, New Wineskins: How African American Congregations Can Reach New Generations; Transforming Evangelism: The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith; and Transforming Community: The Wesleyan Way to Missional Congregations.