The National Religious Broadcasters Association has been around for over 70 years. Their primary purpose is to advance biblical truth, support media excellence, and protect free speech. I got involved with the NRB a little over a decade ago, and over the years have seen great favor with this organization. In 2014, I was invited to join a meeting that would ultimately have me voted onto the TV Committee for the NRB, where I just started my second term as I was re-elected last week in Orlando.
Every year Christian broadcasters from around the world gather together to learn the technical trends of the day, as well as hear the latest updates from the FCC in Washington. While these elements are important, there are always takeaways every year that go unnoticed. Today, I’d like to spell those out for the leaders of this blog. You don’t have to be a “media person” to understand these, you just have to understand how important media is in our culture today.
I’ve always told our students at TBI that being professional isn’t a certificate they can get, it’s an attitude they embrace. The NRB staff is full of people who take what they do very seriously. They don’t settle for things that are done halfway or incorrectly. Flexible to change? Yes, but not at the level of losing or tarnishing the standard they have set as a team. From registration processes to security and door greeters, everyone knew what they were doing, why they were doing it, and truly felt like they were making a difference in the attendees around them.
In today’s world, from our Facebook feed to the billboard we see while driving down the highway, fighting for people’s attention is our greatest challenge. People are being pulled in 20 different directions, and it takes something of stature and stamina to keep them grounded on a message that is going to make a difference in their life. When someone gives you their full undivided attention, you win. Yes, it might come in short spurts over a 6-month time. But, when they notice, we can know that we’re right on track with helping people hear the message we’re trying to say.
Video is no stranger to the social media/marketing game. We’ve been watching video on TV and online for years. With everyone’s ability to whip out their phone and “go live” or post something that resonates with their network of people, then more than ever you should use this tool to your advantage. There was a lot of talk about live-streaming at the conference this year. It’s a very valid way to reach people that may never step foot in your church. The rise of 4K video is really picking up. It’s not just for the “big shots”. Anyone can get into an affordable solution for 4K video that will create a plethora of technical options in the future. Short-form video (2-5mins) is getting tons of play time. Those who know me know I’ve been crazy about vertical video these days, still am and still think we will see it continue to grow. Closed captioning your videos so people can view them without turning on the sound is a popular strategy these days as well. The FCC mandated that video that meets certain criteria will require closed captioning in the days to come. Video is here to stay. It’s not as hard as it use to be, and it’s worth your time and investment to see great video coming from your platform.
It’s no surprise that some people use platforms for their own personal gain. This isn’t to be critical of those individuals, but to be a reminder for myself and others that it’s a fine line we must all guard against. When you get that many people in the same place you can quickly see motives and methods people have. While everyone is attempting to do great work, only some are doing great ministry.
Can the Holy Spirit use anyone to get His message out? Of course! However, I think leaders will have to be more “focused” than ever on keeping ministry pure and focused on the original purpose of telling people about Jesus and helping them grow in their faith.
Above strategies and good marketing, the “story” will always be the thing that keeps everything in perspective and balance. As Christians, we have the greatest story ever told: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our continued mission is to tell other people’s stories on how the Gospel has changed their world. We tell this story through books, blogs, and movies. We tell it through sermons and chats at coffee. We tell it through our social media posts and bumper stickers on our cars. We share it through our actions and conversations with friends and family we know the deepest. Stories aren’t made, they are created and crafted. It’s our job as media professionals to tell these stories in a way that honor the Father and connect with culture.