Author: Lars Dahle
Category: Media and Communications
What a privilege to have been part of the Cape Town Congress 2010! Together, as representatives of the global church, we have listened to the Word of God, prayed, shared, discussed and partnered.
As point person for the topic Media and Technology, I have deeply appreciated the many comments in the Global Conversation as well as the many encouraging responses after the multiplex session Media Messages Matter and the various related dialogue sessions. All this indicate the need to take “media and technology” forward as a key topic in the Lausanne context beyond the Congress.
As shown in the advance paper Media Messages Matter: Christ, Truth and the Media, this must include at least three key areas:
1. Media Ministries: We need to encourage and enable each other in the global missional community to use all available media technologies appropriately and creatively for apologetics, evangelism, discipleship and Christian community-building. The arrival of the internet and the social media is now transforming every church and Christian ministry into media outlets. We need to use any and every opportunity in this exciting new area.
2. Media Presence: We need to encourage and enable each other as a global missional community to equip talented young Christians to enter the news and the entertainment media with Christian integrity. There is an urgent need for a credible Christian presence in the public square of these influential media. This is true whether this is in the fields of news, documentary, creative programming and entertainment – or as debater and commentator. We need to engage key issues publicly in these media as evangelicals, in professional, creative and appropriate ways.
3. Media Awareness: We need to encourage and enable each other in the global missional community to take this forgotten dimension in mission seriously. The Global South is facing globalization with IT technology and media as key channels. Wherever technology goes, the news and entertainment media follow, with underlying secular and religious worldviews. The church in the Global South needs to prepare itself for a missional encounter with globalization in general and technology and media specifically. This includes the urgent need for strategic worldview resources for media awareness and media critique.
Therefore, we have already launched a pilot version of a new global resource site called www.EngagingMedia.info, equipping churches to be involved in media awareness, media presence and media ministries. We invite others in to participate, share and contribute. More about this key development later!
However, I have become increasingly convinced, as a result of a number of dialogues during the Congress (both with the Lausanne leadership and with a number of delegates), that we also need to focus on a fourth issue:
4. Word and image: We need to reflect together on the theological, philosophical and practical dimensions of "Word and image". This relates to such key issues as our cultural analysis, our view of the Bible in a visual cultural context, and our use of various visual images in our communication of biblical truth (including in services, bible teaching and evangelism).
As a global missional evangelical community engaging the world of media, we need to be committed to the Truth of Christ, critical thinking, and creativity. I am convinced that the new Cape Town Commitment will become a key resource for all of us also when engaging media.