Overview53 Christian media professionals from around the world participated in the Lausanne Global Consultation on the Gospel and Media from 18–21 November in Brea, Los Angeles, California. The goal of the consultation was to create a roadmap for the effective use of media to reach the next generation around the world with the gospel.
Participants came from traditional to new media backgrounds, including radio, television, film, journalism, and social media, chosen because of their expertise in media, their passion to use media for mission and evangelism, and their desire to intentionally collaborate together.
The consultation emerged from The Cape Town Commitment’s call for a renewed critical and creative engagement with media and technology. The goal of the consultation was to create a roadmap for the effective use of media to reach the next generation around the world with the gospel.
- Phil Cooke, President of Cooke Pictures and internationally known writer, speaker, and blogger, gave 2 plenary presentations dealing with Change and Innovation.
- Phil Butler, Lausanne Senior Associate for International Partnerships, expounded on the importance of partnerships in media with individuals and churches.
- Craig Detweiler, Director of the Center for Entertainment, Media, and Culture at Pepperdine University, discussed the reality of media’s influence on personal lives.
- Ruth Limkin, Executive Officer to the Speaker of Queensland Parliament addressed the need to leverage social media and create opportunities to engage in public conversations that are ‘gracious’ and ‘brave’.
Our goal was to investigate how and where people can work together, accurately assess the present media environment and explore what the future of media could look like. Our desire was to leave the consultation with a road map for effective use of media for presentation of the gospel to the next generation around the world.
Convene: Convene influencers and global media leaders for consultation, strategy, and collaboration.
Movement: Establish a global movement of Christian media leaders committed to impacting the world for Christ through effective use of media; raise awareness among Lausanne leaders about the importance of media in global evangelization.
Strategize: Identify & develop media strategies, tools and resources for global evangelization.
Collaborate: Facilitate fellowship, partnership, and collaboration among Christian media leaders, between ministries and organizations, and across the regions of the world for using media for global evangelization.
Equip: Train and equip Christians to be creative producers and thoughtful consumers of media; train and equip Christian media professionals to be “salt and light” in all forms of media.
The consultation included:
- identifying & confronting media challenges and opportunities before us
- interacting with peers who are international and regional media leaders
- collaborating together for practical, creative strategies to make a difference in the marketplace
and in world evangelization through our use of media
- praying and worshiping together as Christ-followers seeking His direction
Summary of discussions
The consultation uncovered strategies and tools, which allow us to use media, especially social media, to engage the culture and reach hard to reach places where Christ is not known. Task forces met every afternoon, each group focused on a specific media platform: Radio, video, social media, and “eclectic”. There was a high engagement and passion of participants with a common passion for media outreach.
Content: The Message
- In his Bible session, Theo Asare reminded us we need to keep the message of the gospel at the heart of our ministry
- “There are too many messengers without a message.”
- “Content is king, but the King needs to be the content.”
- Nike doesn’t sell shoes; it creates a culture where people buy product.
- Be authentic: who we are opens door to opportunities to share.
- We must create media content to the highest possible standards, both creatively and technically.
- Do we understand the audience? (a program strategy needs to be audience specific)
- How do we do better metrics?
- How do we define “reached”?
- How do we focus on next generation?
- What are the implications of developing digital technology?
- There’s a great need for flexibility.
- We can’t do it alone.
- It’s going to be dependent on money.
- Can we go outside the Kingdom for more resources?
- We need an “open source” mentality – Jesus.net is a great example.
- Don’t re-invent. Use what others have created.
- Be open-handed with ideas and resources.
- We must encourage partnerships between media ministries, churches, and ministry networks.
- We must do a better job with quality, without embarrassing the gospel.
- We need to be telling more excellent, well-produced stories.
- People behind the camera are key. They’ll influence the next generation of TV and video.
- Have fun on TV – we’re too serious, but Christianity is joyful!
- Not just messages; show love.￼
- We must help people produce content for their cultural context.
- We must find ways for youth to get engaged with radio, to connect on their level.
- Do we have the same adventurous spirit as our founders?
- Think missiologically on digital technology and media messages.
- Explore innovative ways of communicating the gospel with a holistic biblical worldview.
- Media is the sower, not necessarily direct evangelism.
- Media can build authentic relationships with the indifferent.
- When people are seeking, we can help those making a decision.
- Discipleship: are we connecting people to local church?
- Sharing of our resources, so it can be replicated.
- Broadcasting as we know it is gone.
- Over half social media users are under 35.
- There are 179 million Facebook users in Latin America, vs 156 million in the USA.
- In 1 month, YouTube has more content than ABC, NBC, CBS combined.
- “Mommy bloggers”: 100 people each with 1000 followers makes an impact.
- We must use technology, including social media, with flexibility and innovation
- We must encourage and equip individual Christians to be thoughtful and intentional in their use of social media.
- Big media being fragmented by democratization of media (YouTube, etc.).
- Digital, web, mobile, wireless is an extension of the real world.
- Digital is cost effective.
- Digital is measurable.
- Digital is an opportunity to connect.
- Use e-coaches (as Jesus.net does)
- Digital has the power to change
- Create web sites for seekers. (e.g.Jesus.net)
- It’s not just about technology, it’s also about interpersonal connections
- We need to discover how we turn digital relationships to personal and real connections.
- Social media is also about listening, not just being heard.
- We need a greater use of Cloud based technology and smart devices.
- Use “Push” to mobile devices and wearable devices.
- There’s little linkage between Christian media and secular media.
- Secular media is not a tool for direct evangelism.
- Secular media can be used for indirect evangelism – showing authentic stories of people of faith.
- Create a conversation.
- Support people in mainstream world.
- Help churches value Christians in mainstream media.
- Create media on current events.
- Be courageous in standing for Christian truth vs an atheistic stance; our apologetics can stand up against atheism.
- Iain Morris’s television series The God Question deals with the question “Does God exist?” by interviewing both Christians and secular scientists. Similarly, Grenville Kent’s Big Questions series features Christians and non-Christians, and asks questions to help viewers reflect on key issues.
- We must settle the war between media and church.
- With democratization of media, any church can have media outreach.
- There is a serious lack of partnership with churches.
- How can the Media Engagement Network be an effective resource to the church in using media?
- Create a regional media–church dialogue.
- Equip churches and individual Christians to make best use of media in mission and discipleship.
- Media leaders need to meet with church and ministry leaders.
- Learn how to engage and help the church see possibilities of media.
- Discover how to do digital discipleship, including connecting people to churches.
- Help churches integrate media with their ministry to the community.
- Develop tools for churches to use to learn to use media.
- Organizations that thrive and grow are those which embrace change.
- How do we see media developing over the next 2, 5 and 10 years? We need to anticipate where we will be.
- Convergence: the border between radio, TV, and social media has gone.
- Principles are eternal; strategies are changing.
- Do we, as media people, contribute to the human future?
Media technologies are increasingly influencing every sphere of life, creating new and interconnected media arenas. Mainstream news, as well as entertainment media, impacts every professional and vocational area.
The pace of technological change is overwhelming. And it’s not just in the west: mobile technology is in almost every part of the world. Some regions are experiencing radical change almost overnight. As the cost of media technology steadily drops, its global reach and influence grows. Where technology goes, news and entertainment media follow, often with underlying secular worldviews.
This urgent situation calls for Christians to take this task seriously and actively engage in media awareness and media/worldview critique.
Contemporary media has great potential to reach unreached people with the gospel around the world. How can we ensure that these vast communications resources that God has given us are focused on reaching those who have never heard?
Christian media professionals are to be salt and light in their professional contexts.
In obedience to the Great Commission, we must creatively, strategically, intentionally, with excellence, engage with media in our various arenas and in our different callings to share the Good News.
Our prayer is years from now we will look back at the consultation as a “chairos moment” engaging the next generation with the good news of Jesus Christ.
- that we can develop tools to help the church use media appropriately
- that we mobilize support for Christians in mainstream media
- that we can be winsome, influential and effective in sharing God’s redemptive plan to a
- that we will bond sufficiently for renewed vigor for media initiatives that transforms
individual lives and communities through the Gospel.
Read the news release about this consultation.
Read the Consultation Statement
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