Global News Alliance launched and many faith-based films previewed
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
ORLANDO, FL (ANS – March 10, 2017) — Christian communicators from across the nation and around the world gathered February 27-March 2 for Proclaim 17, the NRB International Christian Media Convention in Orlando, Florida.
Participants heard from key ministry leaders, media mavens, and leading voices in society, while also networking and checking out new resources, services, organizations, and upcoming faith-friendly films, of which there were many.
Among the many movie interviews I did at the event, was one with former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel, and his wife, Leslie, about “The Case for Christ” which is based on Lee’s search for truth, and which you can hear right now at: http://frontpageradio.net/frontpageradiofiles/LeeLeslieStrobelFPR20170319Mono.mp3.
Among the many well-known actors and producers there was veteran Hercules star, Kevin Sorbo, and his wife, Sam, who have just launched a new faith-based movie company called WildFire Films, LLC, Kevin told me that he had just returned from filming a documentary in Oxford, England, with John Lennox, a British mathematician and philosopher of science, who is an expert in apologetics.
Martin Luther’s presence
The shadow of Martin Luther also permeated Proclaim 17, when five Christian leaders and Bible teachers marked the 500th anniversary of the German’s 95 Theses, which was the overarching theme for Proclaim 17.
Dr. Tony Evans, Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, preached on “Sola Gratia” (by grace alone); Dr. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor Emeritus of Moody Church in Chicago, addressed “Sola Fide” (by faith alone); Dr. Mac Brunson, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, preached on “Solus Christus” (through Christ alone); Dr. R.C. Sproul, Founder and Chairman of Ligonier Ministries, spoke on “Sola Scriptura” (by Scripture alone); and Dr. Barry Creamer, President of Criswell College, addressed “Soli Deo Gloria” (glory to God alone).
The five solas, Creamer related, declare that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, revealed through Scripture alone to God’s glory alone.
The glory of God is independent of man and is eternal, universal, objective, and absolute, Creamer said, “but it’s not fully realized until we participate in it.”
NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, in his annual “State of the Association“ address, reminded Convention attendees that “NRB is first and foremost about advancing biblical truth.”
“The Bible is the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God,” he said, and it is powerful as it is preached and taught.
“This is what we’re about. This is who we’re about – the Lord Jesus Christ,” Johnson added.
And while NRB will continue to preach and teach the Gospel of Jesus, Johnson also said “If you’re in the government and you’re trying to take away the freedom of speech or religion or the press, NRB is a fight club and you better get used to it.”
Launch of Global News Alliance
A highlight for me at the convention was when my son, Peter Wooding, arrived from the UK to work with me by filming some of my interviews, but was also was a part of the launch of the Global News Alliance along with GNA founder, Stan Jeter, and CBN President and Chief Operating Officer, Michael Little, who I once traveled to North Korea with. Besides his work for ANS, Peter was announced as the London Bureau Chief for the GNA gave an update on some of the stories he has been covering for them, including an interview in the British House of Lords with Baroness Caroline Cox about her recent brush with death in Nigeria, and also his interview with an Ukrainian Christian soldier close to the war front on the Russian border.
Following the event, veteran journalist/broadcaster, Stan Jeter wrote to me and said, “You’ve got a great journalist son! Chip off the old block. Thanks for being there to support us, Dan!” Here’s my response: Stan, I couldn’t have been more proud than to see my younger son continuing the tradition of his rather elderly father.
Visitor from Burundi
I was able to interview Deogratias Niyonzima, president of Christian Community Development of Burundi, who made a marathon journey to Orlando from Burundi, and who told me about his ministry, which included a moving story about the time his organization decided to help the Japanese who had just lost everything during the most recent tsunami there. Deogratias said he managed to raise as much aid as was possible in his tiny country, got on a plane to Japan, and distributed the aid in the name of Jesus. He added that it was, in many cases, the first time the Japanese people there had met an African. He was hosted at the NRB by Bill Bray, Campus News Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, and I thank him for that.
Among those missing from this year’s convention was Igor Nikitin, president of the TBN-Russia, president of the Russian Broadcasting Network, and chairman of the World Christian Council, who died after a courageous battle with cancer. Igor was married and had three children. Over the years, we had become close friends and traveled to many countries together. The last time we met was in Jerusalem when Igor invited me into a TV studio there and we did a live broadcast to Russia, linked in with some Russian Messianic pastors in Nazareth. To me, that was an amazing use of modern technology. We will miss you, Igor, a true pioneer of Christian broadcasting in the former Soviet Union.
Religious Liberty Focus
At this year at the Convention, there were several sessions highlighting the issue of religious freedom. In one, three clients of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) described their battles for religious liberty with the understanding that their cases and others like them will likely determine the future of religious freedom in America.
“I firmly believe that within the next decade or so how Christians are going to be treated in employment, in the public square, in churches [is] going to be decided in court cases, in the halls of Congress, in administrations,” said ADF Senior Counsel Erik Stanley, who moderated the panel.
Eight Summits and Tracks
In addition to hearing from those in the public domain, Convention attendees heard from speakers from various industries through the eight summits and tracks that took place during Proclaim 17.
During the Digital Media Summit, attendees heard from author Jefferson Bethke, whose topic was “The Sure Way to Fail in a Digital World.”
“If we’re in any type of digital media, we need to be able to synthesize. We have to be able to boil down the big picture and communicate that in a way that’s synthesized and concise and straight to the point,” he said.
Bethke also noted that “we’re going from an information age to a story age,” and that as Christians, “we have the greatest story ever told; we should be telling it.”
At the Radio Summit, Chuck Finney, Founder of Finney Media, guided radio program hosts and associates through a set of data about specific reasons people tune into Christian radio stations. He summarized the data by saying “Your listener wants you to be like Jesus in tone, music, and Scripture.”
During the Church Media Summit, attendees were told that livestreaming services can give churches huge opportunities. Phil Cooke, President of Cooke Pictures, said each year Hollywood publishes Q Scores, an algorithm of the influence of celebrities.
“In 2016, when they came out, for the first time the top six most influential celebrities in Hollywood were YouTube stars,” Cooke said during the “Streaming is Broadcasting” session of the Church Media Summit.
“Out of the top 20 positions, 11 were YouTube stars, which means people that are producing programs in their parents’ basement or in the spare bedroom are now the most influential people in Hollywood,” Cooke added.
That’s a clue for what churches should be doing, Cooke concluded.
Other summits that took place during Proclaim 17 included the Film & Entertainment Summit, the TV Summit, and the Great Commission Summit. There was also a Professional Development Track and a Pastors Track, with speakers including Eric Metaxas, Lee Strobel, and P. Satish Kumar.
In addition to the more than 80 speakers, this year’s Convention featured around 200 organizations that showcased their products, services, and resources on the floor of the Convention’s award-winning Exposition – the largest marketplace dedicated to Christian media professionals.
Among the exhibitors was Museum of the Bible, the Convention’s Platinum Sponsor, which offered attendees a firsthand look at some of the technology that will be used in its 430,000-square-foot museum scheduled to open on November 17 in Washington, DC. A prototype of the handheld digital guide debuted in the exhibit. The museum in Washington will use cutting-edge technologies to provide guests with an immersive and personalized experience as they explore the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible.
Also on the Expo floor was the all-new Learning Arena, which featured speakers from Convention exhibitors, showcasing relevant education and training on new technologies, products and services, and ministries, among others. I was delighted to be there supporting my long-standing Korean friend, Johnny Kim, of the Global Christian Network (GCN). Johnny spoke about “The Power of God & Broadcasting,” based on the powerful ministry of Rev. Dr. Jaerock Lee,.and I talked about my many travels around the world with Johnny and Dr. Lee, particularly to Honduras and India.
NRB Media and Special Service Awards
On the last day of Proclaim 17, several awards were handed out to recognize the service and works of outstanding ministries, programs, producers, and leaders.
At the Media Awards Luncheon, 15 awards were presented in the fields of Church Media, Digital Media, International, Radio, and TV.
During the Closing Gala Dinner, Special Service Awards were presented to nine recipients, including Dr. Alveda C. King, Director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, who received the Chairman’s Award from outgoing NRB Chairman of the Board Bill Blount.
Earlier in the week, awards were also presented to Brod Boyd, Principal of Abram-Leslie New Media Consulting, (Individual Professional Member Award) and Bernard Marcus, Co-Founder of Home Depot (President’s Award). For the complete list of 2017 award recipients, click here: http://nrb.org/membership/media-awards/past_recipients/2017-nrb-media-awards.
Next year’s NRB International Christian Media Convention will be held February 27-March 2, 2018, at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. In 2019, the Convention will be held in Anaheim, California. This year’s Convention was NRB’s 74th.
Note: I would like to thank NRB Staff, with contributions by writers Tom Strode, Erin Roach, and Michael Smith, and RuthAnne Irvin, for providing much of the material in this report. I’d also like to thank the NRB Media Team for doing such a fine job in helping provide locations for my many interviews.
Photo captions: 1) Scene on the exhibit floor. 2) Dan Wooding interviewing Lee and Leslie Strobel about their film, “The Case for Christ.” (Photo: Peter Wooding) 3) Stan Jeter chats with Peter Wooding after the launch of the Global News Alliance. 4) Igor Nikitin was greatly missed. 5) Deogratias Niyonzima. 6) Dan and Peter Wooding with Joni Eareckson Tada and husband, Ken, at the convention. 7) Johnny Kim speaking. 8) Peter and Dan Wooding shortly after their arrival in Orlando.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for nearly 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He has written some 45 books, and has been reporting from the NRB Conventions for more than 35 years.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please tell your friend that they can receive a complimentary subscription to our news service by going to the above ANS website and signing up there.