NRB Hosts Second Annual Digital Media Summit

dmsNashville, TN — Lord Robert Edmiston, Founder of Christian Vision (CV), held his smartphone aloft during a session at the NRB 2015 International Christian Media Convention to demonstrate the unprecedented opportunity Christians have to share the Gospel with the world.

“This is where people are gathering,” he said Wednesday during the convention's Digital Media Summit. “And we need to be there. We need to be presenting the message of Jesus” to them.

During the summit’s morning and afternoon sessions, Edmiston was one of several speakers who provided advice on using digital media.

Edmiston explained to summit attendees how the international charity he co-founded changed its focus from short-wave and radio station broadcasting to digital ministry in its effort to evangelize the world. He and his wife, Tracie, started CV in 1988 and continue to fund it from his business profits. His company made $130 million last year, and they gave away $70 million, he told the audience.

A member of the British Parliament’s House of Lords, Edmiston oversaw the 2011 launch of yesHEis, a website of more than 7,000 items to help Christians share the Gospel.

With global, digital connectivity, “This means you can be a missionary to Japan, to India, to China from your front room,” he said. “[T]he world is carrying around in their pockets a tract, a Bible, a means of meeting Jesus.

“There is no geographical boundary to this,” he added.

Lord Edmiston said CV transitioned toward digital outreach when short-wave broadcasting began diminishing. Also, he continued, it was difficult to obtain radio licenses in some places, including underdeveloped countries where CV desperately wanted to be.

“So we started thinking: The only way that the Church can reach the world is for every Christian to do what they’re supposed to — talk about their faith,” Edmiston told attendees.

“Can you just imagine if every Christian would tomorrow share his faith?”

Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, explained to the audience during his session how pervasive digital media is and what direction it is headed. He cited facts Pew has found in its research:

  • 89 percent of adults and 96 percent of teenagers in the United State use the Internet.
  • 92 percent of Americans have cell phones, about 64 percent smartphones, and 43 percent tablet computers.
  • 65 percent of Americans and 89 percent of millennials — those 18 to 29 years of age — use some form of social networking.

Since the year 2000, Pew has observed three massive revolutions, he said: (1) the Internet/broadband revolution; (2) the mobile connectivity revolution; and (3) the social networking/media revolution.

As a result, a transformation has occurred in which “small, tight-knit, locally bound” social groups have given way to “far-flung networks that are not locally bound,” Rainie noted.

“Personal networks are much more important in a variety of ways that are fundamental to human community,” he said. Those in such networks depend on them in the areas of trust and influence awareness, Rainie explained. People are relying much more on their personal networks “to tell them things that institutions” used to tell them and for advice that they need, he added.

According to Rainie, the fourth revolution is near. It is the “Internet of things,” the connection of devices in homes, communities and the environment, he told attendees.

Rainie encouraged summit attendees to "contribute to the conversations" after noting how voices like theirs can have a significant influence on policy decisions. “Don’t assume that just because you haven’t figured everything out that you can’t drive the conversations," he said.

Guy Kawasaki — chief evangelist for the online graphic design service Canva and former chief evangelist for Apple — gave the audience 10 recommendations for optimizing social media, including “be valuable.”

Post what a friend or follower wants to read, hear, or see, not what you want to post, Kawasaki said, adding how every post “should either inform, assist, or entertain.”

Kawasaki’s other nine recommendations were: (1) “Be clever;” (2) “Be gracious;” (3) “Be organized;” (4) “Be dramatic;” (5) “Be optimal;” (6) “Be bold;” (7) “Don’t be clueless;” (8) “Be active;” (9) “Be curious.”

During his presentation, Kawasaki urged attendees to post consistently, not in binges; to add visuals to each post; and be “topical and timely.”

Also speaking at the summit were Justin Wise, Founder and CEO of Think Digital Inc., and Ed Stetzer, Executive Director of LifeWay Research. In addition, author and Break Point Co-Host Eric Metaxas moderated a panel featuring Katie Harbath, manager for policy at Facebook; Casey Short, digital ministry consultant for web development agency Five Q; and Shalini Trehan, head of digital content for the pro-life organization Live Action.

Popular blogger and author Justin Blaney emceed the summit.

By Tom Strode

Published: February 27, 2015

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