- Publisher: Christian Herald
- Editor: Fazal Karim Jr.
Lorna Dueck has been a leading voice for people of faith in Canada for over 30 years. She’s served as a cohost on 100 Huntley Street before creating a Christian weekly news analysis program called Context with Lorna Dueck. In July 2016, Dueck accepted the appointment as CEO of Crossroads. She was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubliee Medal for her contributions to Canadian society.
I won’t even begin to count the number of people you have interviewed over the last 30 years, but is there one or two that stand out in your memory? That you can’t forget?
There’s a few. They all fall under this category: persecuted Christians who faced death for their faith. One was a Cuban Christian and the other was a Chinese man called The Heavenly Man. When you talk to someone who has been willing to die and has faced a life-threatening situation for their faith – those two stand out completely. Persecuted Christian is off the charts for me.
We’re all given specific gifts and passions to do the work set before us. In my experience, there are certain skills and traits that help me succeed as a journalist but are a hindrance in relationships sometimes. Have you found that also?
I find I’m always finding a better story for whatever the situation is. You have so much imagination, so much story, so much problem solving from hearing other people’s lives. I’m an activator. I have advice and ideas for every situation and that can be irritating. A dear friend told me that few relationships can stand the strain of constant good advice. As someone who’s interviewed so many people with so many good stories, you have to learn to listen a lot more than always have better ideas. Especially when it comes to your family.
What led you to say yes to Crossroads?
I felt a call from God. I wrestled with it for a month. I felt that when the Board of Directors at Crossroads was eager to see Context come along with Crossroads and Yes TV, I felt there was a unity in the body of Christ moment that I could not ignore. I also felt that I was actually a good fit for the job because I love that ministry. I love Crossroads. It started me in Christian storytelling. I knew the challenges of holding a Christian charity that is media focused. My husband just said yeah — you’re the best person in Canada for this. I consulted with those who knew me best, knew my skills, my weaknesses, and they all in unison said I was the best person for this job. Through that counsel and my own deep admiration for the media charity of Crossroads and Yes TV, I felt a call towards it. It was a difficult decision but I’m honoured and loving every day at work.
Most new leaders have a vision when they take on a new role. What are the first things you’re looking to change, tweak, or improve at Crossroads?
I’m working on rebuilding the financial health of Crossorads and Yes TV. It was at one time a robust debt-free media light. But like every media house in the country, it got hit with enormous winds of change in technology. Audience loyalties changed. There’s a reason that the Canadian Heritage Committee from the Federal government has held meetings into the crisis. Every media house in the country is trying to figure out how to financially survive. I’ve been on the job for four months and that’s the first thing I’m working on.
Second thing, we’re launching a campaign to double the audience of 100 Huntley Street. We are seeing a rapid decline in traditional sourcing of religious truth. People are not going to church like they used to in this country. They’re not learning in traditional methods. But they’re still consuming media…Those are the two biggies I’m working on.
We’ve made significant change to the content of 100 Huntley Street. We’ve heard the audience loud and clear that they want a Canadian story-driven life-changing hope-giving show. We’re excited about some of the dynamic stories we have in the pipeline. Celebrities when appropriate, sports, entertainment, personal stories of families being touched – it’s all coming to the new 100 Huntley Street.
Christians I have spoken with have disengaged from mainstream media. They feel they’re not represented fairly.
No, we’re not represented at all in the mainstream media, but we’re far too passive. However – take Kim’s Convenience. That is an evangelical family being played out on prime-time television. You know who started that? A little Korean church that had playwright Ins Choi in their church. They sponsored it. Great example of a Christian voice with mainstream access. Choi has sacrificially given his life and finances to make that show the hit that it now is. It all began when his Korean church paid for the first presentation for his stage play. Christians have just got to invest in the arts and then let the Holy Spirit take it where it needs to go.
What needs to happen? Do we need more journalists willing to work in mainstream media? More people interested in reaching people through those media channels?
Yes. Both of those things. We need more Christians willing to purchase a voice into media and people who will work with us so we can create more different generational type of media. Millennial is different than boomer media. The creativity is out there, the pipelines are out there – but who will sponsor the missionaries in media? That’s the missing link.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Pray for us. Pray for anyone you know who works in the media. It’s one of the pillars of society and I cannot imagine that God would want us to take a pass on trying to use media for the Christian gospel. …You’ll rarely see a Christian Herald story in the mainstream press. You have to create media that will tell the story.