Tim and Edye Bisagno with their sons, River, left, and Rocco.

Member Spotlight: Tim Bisagno carries out the vision of his video ministry, MXTV

Kathryn Nielson

When Tim Bisagno said yes to God 30 years ago, he had no idea that a future in television evangelism would spring from a willingness to wholeheartedly serve God.

For 20 years Tim has carried out the vision of his ministry, MXTV, to produce programming that would appeal to the young people across the world “in a language and set in a cultural context that [they] recognize as their own.”

“It’s the original voice in young evangelistic multimedia,” Tim says. “MXTV creatively ‘rePresents’ God’s Word to the world through television, music, film, and the internet. The passion is that this media generation will encounter God, resulting in their salvation.”

MXTV has produced 200 episodes, sharing the Gospel on 22 Christian television stations and in eight languages.

But, like anything else in life, the way young people interact with media is changing, so MXTV is changing, too. Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (1997-present) have replaced the original target audience, Generation X (1965-1980). With this new audience comes the need for a new approach to evangelism. Tim and his team are setting their sights on expanding their internet presence under the all-inclusive branding of Mission X Media.

“We are committed to keeping up with the times,” Tim says. “Despite technology, God is the one who makes it happen. Kids don’t need Mission X Media, they need Jesus. We’re going to be there and give Him to them and ask God to light this thing on fire. We want to be there when they’re searching for God on the internet.”

MXTV.org is full of written resources and dozens of episodes. The site touches on real issues that kids are facing, such as suicide, depression, eating disorders, and finding their worth in Christ.

MXTV creatively ‘rePresents' God’s Word to the world through television, music, film, and the internet.

Tim Bisagno

“Young people today are looking for real acceptance, but they don’t know where to find it,” Tim says. “When viewers encounter Christ through our media, they realize they’ve been accepted all along.”

The website is also chock full of interviews with Christians who use the arts to make a difference in culture. There is no shortage of interviews with musicians, a subject close to Tim’s heart and the avenue God used to get him to where he is today.

Tim grew up in a Christian home, the son of a well-known pastor and author, the late John Bisagno. They moved to Houston when Tim was in first grade so that his dad could pastor that city’s First Baptist Church, a congregation of less than 400 that grew to 22,000 people by the time John Bisagno retired.

“Forty-four thousand eyeballs always looking at the preacher’s kid,” Tim says.

Despite his dad’s gracious attempts at making sure they had a normal life, Tim rebelled a bit in high school. Things got rough in college, and Tim began abusing alcohol.

“I felt a call to the ministry very early on in my life, and the way that worked best to quiet God’s voice was to numb myself,” he says. “I knew the truth, and I wasn’t living it. That’s a terrible way to live.”

Eventually God got ahold of him in 1989, and he was all in.

“I always thought I wasn’t going to tell Him yes to get Him off my back,” Tim says. “I promised Him that if I told Him that, I meant it.”

He went to Baylor University and then to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. After that, he spent some time as a youth pastor in Dallas, but God wanted him somewhere else. During an intense time of prayer, he remembers telling God he would go anywhere and do anything for Him.

“I heard God’s voice for the first time, and it shocked me,” Tim says. “He said ‘Amsterdam.’”

He joined Youth With A Mission and started The Friendly’s, a hard-core rock band that toured with a seasoned band that had more experience on the road with evangelism and live shows.

They performed in mainstream nightclubs as well as festivals and parks in about 12 countries to crowds who had no idea they were coming to hear a Christian band. For five years they did nightclub evangelism as “musician-aries,” playing “double pedal Jesus metal.” It was at this time that Tim started Mission X, a nonprofit designed to reach Generation X. They raised enough money to tour, sleeping on floors in buses without air conditioning and living on peanut butter.

“It was the coolest experience,” says Tim.

Eventually he and his band relocated to Houston and were invited to perform in prisons, working alongside a woman in prison ministry. After a concert at a juvenile delinquent center, she asked them to appear on her TV show in Houston on a station later bought by Christian network Daystar.

The Friendly’s took their smoke machines and lights, played their heavy metal rock, and gave an invitation to salvation at the end. The phone lines lit up, and the owner of the station couldn’t believe it. He asked them to come back and do the same thing. So they did.

Not wanting it to look like a typical Christian TV show, they started shooting on location instead of in a TV studio. In 1999, a year after starting production, they won their first Dove Award for best local broadcast show in the nation. Not long after, TBN picked up the show, and they went from local to national overnight. They’ve been on TV ever since.

But the current generation isn’t watching broadcast TV like their predecessors did. They’re on social media, and Mission X Media is going where they are.

“God has given me a new sense of wonder,” Tim says. “Will He do what He did on TV with MXTV on the internet?”

Their foray into online territory affords them new opportunities, like 24/7 access to their audience through a chat service, holding fast to Tim’s commitment to offer an opportunity to respond to the Gospel at the end of every episode.

Tim says his goal has always been to reach a target audience of 18- to 28-year-olds who are “still awaiting their redemption.”

“(They) don’t like to be called lost,” Tim says. “Those are the ones we’re trying to reach.” 

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