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The Power of Conflict

There is an essential ingredient in every good movie script, in the storyline of a gripping TV program, and in all best-selling novels. If it gets a thumbs up from the public, you can be sure it contains something called “conflict.”

Here are two scenarios:

  1. A husband comes home and asks his wife how her day went. She replies that she had a great day. He says that he did as well.

That “story” is dead in the water. It’s boring.

  1. A husband comes home and asks his wife how her day went. She joyfully breaks the news to him that she found out from the doctor that she is pregnant with twins! His facial expression turns to dismay as he says, “Oh, no! I was fired today!”

Suddenly you have a story. How did she react to his job loss? Why did he get fired? How will they cope? The storyline has drawn you in.

If you watch popular TV programs about couples seeking to purchase a house, you will see conflict in every episode.

The couple are pitted against one another. She is very opinionated and disagrees with his desire to have a “man-cave.” The house he likes seems to be the best of the three homes they have seen, but she complains that it’s out of their price range. He rolls his eyes as she says that it’s not going to happen. There’s the conflict. The woman is annoying. She is unreasonable. And so you side with the nice hen-pecked husband. You feel so strongly for him that you express how you feel to your spouse, who totally agrees with you.

As the program draws to a close, there’s a wonderful twist. The unreasonable woman changes her mind, puts her loving arms around her husband, and says that he can have his man-cave. That gives you the warm fuzzies. Not only that, but you feel vindicated in not liking her at first, and that adds to the pleasure. You made a good call.

And she turned out to be a sweetie. The villain became the hero. You enjoyed the program and will look for others in the series. Multiply that reaction a million times over, and the ratings lift, which in turn sells advertising, and that puts money in the show producer’s pocket.

You will even find this same principle in food programs (where chefs are pitted against each other), in action movies where the hero overcomes the villain, or in classic movies such as Ben Hur, where there is conflict between Ben Hur and his corrupted boyhood friend, Messala.

Here now is my point. Our YouTube channel at present has over 90,000,000 views, and because of its further potential to reach the lost, we have become concerned about how we present each daily video. For years we didn’t give too much thought to titles. We simply called them whatever came to mind. But when we began to add conflict, we saw something wonderful happen. For example, in one recent open-air preaching clip, I spoke to a young lady who was flippant about the gospel. But when I reasoned with her about something specific, her demeanor completely changed and she listened intently.

The clip could have been titled “Girl listens to the gospel.” Instead, conflict was added when it was titled “She laughs at first…then the preacher says this.”

That clearly caused questions to be asked: What was it that this preacher said? How did it change her? And the title exploded the viewership to hundreds of thousands.

This is important because we’re not producing funny cat videos, or clips that show death-defying feats. Ours videos are a little more important. They tell dying sinners that Jesus Christ conquered death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. We are so earnest about these clips that we declined the monetary income that could come from advertising. We didn’t want unsaved visitors to click out because of ads.

So please pray for us. Ask God to give us divinely orchestrated witnessing clips, and the wisdom to create intriguing titles that can’t be resisted…all for His glory, and for the salvation of precious human beings.

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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