Rather than taking a breather during this downturn in the economy, NRB is pushing full-steam ahead with an electrifying array of boot camps, educational sessions, speakers and musicians to capture the hearts and minds of this year’s attendees.
NRB 2010 kicks off Feb. 27 and runs through March 2 here at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. NRB said it feels the spark that is created when like-minded attendees gather in one setting and exchange information and ideas will create enough energy to power ministries the whole year through.
“Now more than ever is a time Christian media professionals need to stay engaged and come together,” said Dave Keith, vice president of operations, National Religious Broadcasters. “This is not only to advance their own work and ministry but to also share the burden of defending our rights to speak freely and openly about the gospel of Jesus Christ to a generation in desperate need of answers.”
With unemployment high and morale low country-wide, Keith said it may seem counter-intuitive to spend time and resources attending a convention like NRB. However, he said he believes attendees will find inspiration and renewal for their ministry, along with a greater awareness of how they fit into “the bigger picture of what God is doing around the globe.”
NRB takes place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, Feb. 27-March 2.
That being said, NRB is unfolding several new offerings at this year’s convention. One such offering—which is actually a renewal of a successful venue from the past—is the Saturday Boot Camps on Feb. 27.
Each committee—radio, television, Internet, church media, leadership and international—has designed full-day agendas of concentrated studies and analysis of current trends within the industry groups.
“You will find everything from ministry makeovers to staying relevant with the new social media tools,” Keith said.
The Church Media boot camp—“Making Sunday Stick – Sessions I and II”—is all about creating a Sunday service that resonates throughout the week. Wade Mumm of Greeneway Church in Orlando, Fla., this year’s Church Media Committee Chair, said churches that have proven successful in creating a lasting impact through media will help explain what works and what doesn’t.
“We are taking a comprehensive approach that will unlock the secrets and details that these leading media pastors use in their own ministries,” Mumm said. “After all, it is the hope of every media pastor—and all pastors for that matter—that what is done on Sunday makes a lasting impact. If not, why are we doing what we do?”
NRB is also launching “International Exchange” on Sunday, Feb. 28. The concept is to pull people together who may be ministering in certain regions around the world with those people interested in ministering to the same region, Keith said.
“If you are a U.S.-based ministry looking to expand your work into the Middle East, this would be an excellent opportunity to hear firsthand from those al-ready working in that region of the world,” Keith said. “We believe this could be one of the best investments of time and energy during the convention.”
Ron Harris, NRB senior vice president for strategic partnership, said the Exchange provides the perfect forum for the international community to min-gle at NRB. “It’s a great opportunity for internationals to get together since they’re already at NRB and to find out what works in their area,” Harris said. “They will be able to sit down and get to know each other face-to-face, allowing them to function better within their own region.”
Harris said that since this is the first year for the International Exchange, “I’m sure we’ll learn this year how to make it even more effective in the years to come.”
In the same vein will be Tuesday morning’s Innovation Exchange. The idea is similar to the International Exchange, but instead of regional emphasis it will be broken down by industry groups, such as Internet, radio, TV, etc.
“The format will be open dialogue with the goal of netting the best ideas and practices from your peers along with sharing what you have learned and gained through experience in your own work,” Keith said.
One other innovation this year is Internet Evangelism, which will study and demonstrate ways to be effective in sharing the Christian faith electroni-cally—and solely electronically.
“A great deal of emphasis will be in a thorough understanding of the social networking sites along with how to build sites that engage and attract secu-lar audiences,” Keith said. “One example will be a session studying the value and purpose behind building interactive games with a message.”
TRIED AND TRUE
Of course, some of the convention’s mainstay offerings will still be around the exhibition this year. The Reach series of keynotes that focus on media in-novations will feature two keynotes sessions returns. On Saturday, Feb. 27, Phil Cooke, CEO of media production company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, Calif., will lead “From Disruption to Destiny: Turning Crisis into Opportunity,” discussing how to turn a life-long dream of ministry work into a successful venture. Cooke will help attendees turn the corner when their career hits a seemingly dead end.
On Sunday, Feb. 28, Bob Lepine, co-host of Family Life Today, will head a panel discussing ways to connect with readers, listeners and viewers online in “On the Trail of the New Media Pioneers.”
Sure to spark some fireworks will be the annual Public Policy Debate on Tuesday, March 2, between Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Craig Parshall, NRB senior vice president and general counsel.
The legal eagles will debate church/state and public policy issues that will affect Christian broadcasters and communicators, churches and Gospel-preaching ministries. Keith said the debate “is sure to enlighten along with raise a few eyebrows as they get into some dicey and controversial topics.”
Keith said he encourages attendees to visit the NRB Web site at www.nrbconvention.org weekly, adding, “I guarantee you something new will appear there in the coming weeks before the convention.”