A Call to Action from the Lausanne Global Consultation
on Media and the Gospel
Brea, California, USA, 18–21 November 2013
IntroductionThe Lausanne Movement has identified media engagement as a priority for the global church. The media shapes every part of human experience, in every part of society, in every part of the world. There is a need for appropriate ways of communicating key ideas, new perspectives, and neglected stories. There is a need for fresh ways of engaging people’s thinking and imagination.
The Lausanne Global Consultation on Media and the Gospel met from 18–21 November 2013 in Brea, California, USA, to explore implications of the section ‘Truth and the globalized media’ in The Cape Town Commitment (IIA4). The consultation gathered media professionals representing a variety of global arenas and contexts.
Major needs addressed
We echo the words of The Cape Town Commitment: we love God’s world, we love God’s word, and we love God’s mission. He is a God who communicates, and his character shapes our media engagement.
As professionals in the media, we share the call to ‘bear witness to Jesus Christ and all his teaching in every nation – in every sphere of society, and in the realm of ideas’ (The Cape Town Commitment, Foreword). What we communicate, and the way we communicate, are essential in our witness for Christ as we engage with truth and grace. So we met to explore our Christian callings in (1) media analysis and education; (2) mainstream media; and (3) specialist media ministries and churches.
As recommended in The Cape Town Commitment, we focused on three crucial needs:
It is essential for Christians, as part of discipleship, to evaluate their media usage and messages within the media, and to recognize underlying worldviews. We therefore want to encourage and equip people to develop biblical discernment for personal, family, church, and educational contexts.
It is essential for Christians to be in mainstream media as salt and light, whether in news and commentary, creative and entertainment media, or in public discourse. We therefore want to encourage and equip people for discipleship in these contexts, so that a Christian worldview is affirmed as plausible.
It is essential for churches and specialist media ministries to communicate as engagingly as possible in evangelism and church planting, in Bible teaching and disciple-making, and in integral mission. We therefore want to encourage and equip churches and specialist media ministries to make effective use of all appropriate media platforms, genres, and formats.
Working in partnership with churches and with other Christians in public life – whether locally, regionally, or globally – we are committed to making the case for the truth of Christ with professionalism, integrity, and courage.
Our Call to Action
We have formed a task force, under the leadership of the Senior Associate for Media Engagement, to address these three major needs over the next three years. We call on The Lausanne Movement, evangelical leaders, organizations, educational institutions, and local churches in all parts of the world, to engage with media in an informed and intentional way, and to develop the next generation of media communicators. We call for:
- integrating media awareness into mission and discipleship strategies
- researching into the developments and implications of digital technology and media messages
- reflecting missiologically on digital technology and media messages
- creating resources for understanding and evaluating media usage and media messages (media literacy and analysis) as part of both mission and discipleship
- commending careers in mainstream media as worthy callings
- discipling, supporting, and networking of Christians in mainstream media
- encouraging and equipping Christian leaders and apologists to be intentionally present as salt and light in mainstream media
- encouraging and equipping of individual Christians to be thoughtful and intentional in their use of social media, including content creation
- exploring innovative ways of communicating the gospel in the context of a holistic biblical worldview, with a particular focus on unreached and unengaged peoples
- equipping of churches and individual Christians to make best use of a variety of media in mission and discipleship
- creating media content to the highest possible standards, both creatively and technically
- using technology, including social media, in flexible and innovative ways
- encouraging of partnerships between media ministries, educational institutions, churches, and ministry networks.
Our Call to Prayer
In view of the above call to action, we need to acknowledge our past failures, and to pray for:
- biblical discernment in our media usage, and biblical insight into the media messages we encounter
- professionalism, integrity, and courage for Christians in mainstream media
- creativity, innovation, and a spirit of partnership for specialist media ministries, churches and individuals
- a new generation of Christian media communicators, in every part of the world.
Agreed together by the participants of the Lausanne Global Consultation on Media and the Gospel, Brea, California, USA, 21 November 2013.
Call to Action writing team:
Lars Dahle (Norway), Julia Cameron (UK), Finny Philip (India), Tony Watkins (UK)
Consultation leadership team:
Wayne Pederson (Consultation chair), Steve Woodworth (Communications Working Group chair), Arnold Enns (Programme Team convener), Naomi Frizzell (Participant Selection and Planning Team convener), Lars Dahle (Lausanne Senior Associate for Media Engagement, and Statement and Lausanne Occasional Paper Team convener)
Theo Asare (Ghana), Seph Barnard (USA), Dave Bennett (USA), Phill Butler (USA), Julia Cameron (UK), Ed Cannon (USA), Phil Cooke (USA), Margunn Serigstad Dahle (Norway), Lars Dahle (Norway), Sandy Day (South Africa), Samuel DeJesus (Puerto Rico), Craig Detweiler (USA), Allan Dowthwaite (Australia), Arnold Enns (Paraguay), John Evans (USA), Jonathan Frank (UK), Naomi Frizzell (USA), Mark Gallardo (USA), Jarle Haugland (Norway), Hannu Haukka (Finland), Adam Jeske (USA), Jerry Jones (USA), Rudolf Kabutz (South Africa), Grenville Kent (Australia), Bill Kinnon (Canada), Karsten Kopjar (Germany), Brandon Myles Krause (USA), Henryk Krol (Poland), Joanne Kwok (Singapore), Lauren Libby (USA), Ruth Limkin (Australia), Tom Lin (USA), Christopher Lucey (USA), Inna Miller (Russia), Irina Mitrofanova (Russia), Vicky Mixson (USA), Iain Morris (UK), Kn Moy (USA), Jan-Erik Nyman (Tanzania), Richard Page (USA), Wayne Pederson (USA), Doug Pennoyer (USA), Finny Philip (India), Larry Poland (USA), Dave Raley (USA), Dmitri Shatrov (Russia), Keith Strugnell (South Africa), Clyde Taber (USA), Jenny Taylor (UK), Kevin Thio (Singapore), Tony Watkins (UK), Daniel Willis (Australia), Steve Woodworth (USA)
Read the news release about this consultation.
Read a summary of conclusions from the consultation
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Photo credit: © Tony Watkins. Used under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0) licence.