Media Outreach in World Missions Conference
Sponsored by the Christ in Media Institute
this Conference was held on October 12-14, 2012
at Bethany Lutheran College, Mankato, Minnesota, USA
To advance the effective use of technology for Gospel outreach in world missions;
The conference aimed to do this, specifically, by bringing together individuals with a variety of experience and expertise in a dynamic atmosphere of creative problem-solving and innovation, in the expectation that current efforts will be encouraged and extended, and new directions planned.
- A number of world missionaries, current and past, representing a variety of cultural, social, and technological conditions on various continents around the world
- A number of leaders of national church bodies of our fellowship (CELC) from around the world
- Goal for the above: to enable them in a face-to-face forum to explore challenges and share solutions in regard to using technology in Gospel outreach in a variety of settings.
- Leaders and members of the various boards and commissions of the ELS/WELS that are concerned with world mission outreach
- Goal for these: to continue exploring the feasible, the efficient, and the effective in the stewardship of using technology in mission outreach.
- Leaders and members of various mission societies
- Goal for these: to exchange ideas about ways to support the use of cutting edge technology in mission outreach.
- Media professionals, who have experience in production and distribution via a variety of media
- Goal for these: to increase everyone’s awareness of current and new possibilities, and to expand networks for professional support of missionary media production.
- Students and faculty from seminaries, colleges, and high schools. Interested students are encouraged to attend by very low registration fees, and a special opportunity to meet one-on-one with specialists in their particular areas of interest.
- Individuals that are interested in supporting world mission outreach and are able to do so through the temporal blessings they have received
- Interested congregation members, pastors, and the general public
- Goal for the above: to tap their interest in mission outreach, and direct talented and able individuals into active support of this work now and in the future.
Issues and challenges to be explored:
- Cultural: While the Gospel message is universal, its presentation might be tailored to peculiar features of the culture in which it is preached. What kinds of cultural elements should be taken into account, and how can this be done without distorting or weakening the Scriptural message? (leader comments)
- Technological: What media are (or will be) available in various mission situations that can be used to reach large audiences with the Gospel message? What means of message distribution are available? (leader comments)
- Creative: How can messages be crafted that will deliver the Gospel via technology to large audiences in a way that will draw attention, and will be of the high quality worthy of the task? What form can media messages take, and who will create them? (leader comments)
- Legal / Political: What legal / political barriers must be addressed in each nation in order to deliver Gospel messages to large audiences via media? How should risks to life and livelihood be addressed? (leader comments)
- Teaching: Since ideally the media messages for a particular culture should be produced by people within that culture, how can local expertise be developed, supported, and encouraged? What partnerships can support these efforts? (leader comments)
- Management and funding: Since media production and distribution are expensive, how can financial support be obtained, and how can production and distribution be managed in an efficient and business-like manner? (leader comments)
- Discipleship: How can scattered believers, created by the Spirit through mass media Gospel messages, be gathered and nurtured in their faith? (leader comments)
The conference extended over three days.
Prior to the conference:
- Visiting missionaries and national church leaders from around the world prepared brief observations from their own experiences regarding each of the issues/ challenges listed above. These statements could be read in advance by attendees, and functioned as springboards for discussion
During the conference:
- A conference session was dedicated to each of the issues/challenges listed above. Missionaries and national church leaders formed panels, presented their experiences and views on each of the issues, and engaged in subsequent discussion to frame questions and propose solutions.
After the conference:
- Conference attendees extracted from the discussions those ideas that lent themselves to action. Action items were discussed in the final conference session, with recommendations to appropriate agencies for implementing these action items.
Friday 12 October
- 10:00 a.m. – noon arrival and registration
- 11:30 a.m – 12:30 p.m. luncheon – greetings and introduction
- 12:30 – 1:00 p.m. opening devotion, Trinity Chapel
- 1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Session one: Cultural issues and challenges
- 2:15 – 3:30 p.m. Session two: Technological issues and challenges
- 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. Session three: Creative issues and challenge
- 5:15 – 7:00 p.m. break for dinner in Bethany dining room
- 6:00 – 6:55 p.m. “students meet the experts” sessions
- 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. media showcase 1: samples of Gospel-bearing messages produced among us
Saturday 13 October
- 8:00 – 8:45 a.m. breakfast on site
- 8:45 – 9:00 a.m. daily devotion
- 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Session four: Legal / Political issues and challenges
- 11:00 – 12:15 p.m. Session five: Teaching local production issues and challenges
- 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. lunch on site
- 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Session six: Management and funding issues and challenges
- 3:15 – 4:30 p.m. Session Seven: Discipleship issues and challenges
- 4:30- 6:30 p.m. break for dinner in Bethany dining room
- 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. media showcase 2: samples of Gospel-bearing messages produced among us
Sunday 14 October
- 9:30 – 10:45 a.m. Closing session: summary of action items
- 11:00 a.m. International worship service, Trinity Chapel
- followed by adjournment
- noon – 1:00 p.m. lunch available for those wishing to remain