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Speakers Discuss Technology, Digital Ministry, and the Future of the Church at NRB 2021

GRAPEVINE, Texas (NRB) – Day three of the NRB 2021 convention started with attendees gathering to hear two important discussions on technology within the church.

In the first session, Bob Pritchett, CEO of Faithlife, talked about Faithlife’s Bible software, online learning, publishing, church software, and many other digital tools. He discussed a variety of ways that technology can equip the church. This was followed by a panel session hosted by Phil Cooke, Producer and CEO of Cooke Media Group. Panel participants included Tony Reinke, Senior Teacher for Desiring God; Matt Brown, Evangelist for Think Eternity; and Matt Wood, Vice President of Marketing for RightNow Media.

The discussion began with an observation of how the COVID-19 pandemic affected churches in their ability to preach the gospel this past year. The panelists agreed that churches’ views of media drastically changed during the pandemic.

“When the shutdowns happened, the way the church views media changed forever,” Cooke said.

The shutdowns caused churches to think differently and try things they had never tried before. 

“The word of God can’t be chained,” Brown said. “The word of God through this time spread more than ever through the unexpected.” 

Churches were forced to quickly adapt their services to a digital format.

“What we are seeing with the creation of content and digital interaction is that the church can still grow and be disciples,” Brown said.

The panel stressed that churches need to be open to learning more as they adapt moving forward. Panelists also discussed the need for church media staff to understand where they’re posting their content and how they can adapt it for that particular platform.

“The way we share our message is just as important as the message we share,” Cooke said.

The discussion shifted to the topic of podcasts. The panel contributors agreed that there is a real audience for podcasts and that Christians have a wide opportunity to reach them.

The average American commute to work is 25 minutes to an hour. People are increasingly using this time to listen to podcasts on their way to work.

The panel discussion also included thoughts on the importance of digital media content from churches during the shutdown.

“No Hollywood productions were happening during the shutdown. The church produced more media than Hollywood did,” Cooke said. “Let’s not let off the gas.”

Cooke encouraged attendees to keep producing content even as churches across America are opening back up.

Prior to the panel discussion, another session on Wednesday morning covered the history of technology within the church. As technology changes, the church has adapted to new technology.

“The use of technology in the church can be glorifying to the Lord and the use of technology can deepen and enrich our opportunities,” Bob Pritchett, CEO of FaithLife, said. The Bible is one of the first books to be digitized. 

NRB is the world’s preeminent association of Christian communicators. Since 1944, they have worked to protect free speech and foster excellence in communication.

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