Craig Parshall, General Counsel


NRB 2010 – Engaging the Quiet Revolution

February 22, 2010

Alexis de Tocqueville was a 19th Century French commentator whose travels across the newly-birthed America resulted in his now famous book, Democracy in America. He had something interesting to say about the process of revolution. “In a revolution,” he noted, “as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.” It may not look like it, but as we here at National Religious Broadcasters prepare for our annual convention in Nashville this week, we are readying for a kind of revolution. A quiet one to be sure; not about a social uprising, or a political or class struggle. But it is about a clash of worldviews and a media upheaval of Titanic proportions. Where this revolution will “end,” at least in the short-term view, is uncertain. However, as you make your plans to join us, that is where you come in.

At our convention you will be exposed to the three forces that make this year’s NRB convention perhaps the most timely in our history. First, there is the explosion of legislative and regulatory proposals coming from Capitol Hill – some already passed – which represent the most direct challenge to the Church and to Christian communicators we can remember. Second, we are witnessing a moral, cultural and spiritual revolution in America, where Biblical confusion is rampant, and where there is a soul hunger for the Good News of Jesus Christ, but it is too often ensnared in vague, pagan ideas of spirituality or “politically correct” religion. A report titled “Religion Among the Millennials,” released this week by the Pew Research Center, found that one in four people 18 to 29 years old are unaffiliated with any established religion. However, this month a Knights of Columbus/Marist poll also found that for that same age group, being “spiritual or close to God” was one of the most selected “primary long-term life goals.”

Third, a technological tidal wave of change is hitting every aspect of media, and the Christian media is not exempt. Take just one staggering fact – cell phone usage - as an example: according to a United Nations study, 80% of the world’s population now has available wireless cell phone coverage, and by the mid point of this year, there will be five billion cell phone subscriptions among the 6.8 billion humans on earth. In meeting these huge challenges, NRB 2010 is an indispensable opportunity for you. In Nashville, you will be exposed to the collective “vision” of some extraordinary Christian leaders. I talked with our President & CEO, Dr. Frank Wright, recently. He shared with me a little of what he will address at our convention. It promises to be the most direct call to courage and commitment I have ever heard from the leader of our association. There will be other voices, too, that will help you bring the current state of our nation and our world into a sharp Biblical focus: Chuck Colson, Dr. Del Tackett, Jim Garlow, Joel Rosenberg, Tony Perkins, Bishop Harry Jackson, and Kay Arthur. Governor Mike Huckabee will challenge us at the Media Leadership Dinner, and in the Public Policy Debate you will be exposed to two very different belief systems about the future of religious liberty, and what it means for you and your ministry.

But in addition to the blessings of “vision,” in Nashville you can network with fellow Christian communicators and catch up on new trends among industry leaders and new media pioneers, get challenged on Biblical leadership, confront anew the need for a global Great Commission strategy, or stroll through the exhibit hall and take in the innovations of a vast array of ministry organizations.

So, if your grandchildren someday ask you what you did in the 2010 revolution, what will you tell them?