How is the church influencing the greatest influence in the world?
The media dominates our world. It is part of virtually every society on every continent. It is the primary way in which news and stories travel. It is by far the most important channel for ideas to spread. It shapes every aspect of human experience, from our sense of identity to our views on the biggest challenges facing humanity. The Lausanne Media Engagement issue network is helping the global church to engage with media in three main areas, as highlighted in The Cape Town Commitment.
Many Christians in the West are so accustomed to a media-saturated culture that they often take it for granted and fail to think critically about it. Many parts of the majority world, on the other hand, have experienced extremely rapid and unsettling changes in the media’s presence within the culture.
Whatever the context, the church often struggles to know how best to respond. What does faithful discipleship in a media-dominated world look like? The Lausanne Media Engagement issue network is working on ways of resourcing the global church to think critically about, and to respond constructively to, the messages of mainstream media.
The world of mainstream media, whether news and current affairs or creative and entertainment media, is a challenging place to be a Christian. But it is also a highly strategic place to be a Christian, since the media has such an enormous influence on society. We need Christians to be salt and light as they work with professionalism and Christian integrity in mainstream media. Our network is working to encourage and equip churches to support and disciple such Christians. Many Christians are also active in social media, so we are providing resources to help them do so thoughtfully and intentionally.
There is a long history of the global church using media technologies—from papyrus through printed books to radio, television, and the Internet. Digital technologies have developed so much that it is now possible, maybe essential, for every Christian organisation, institution, and church to be involved in media ministry. Individual Christians too can have a significant, far-reaching ministry through social media. Our network is connecting media ministries and various groups in order to discover innovative ways of using media technologies in global mission, and to create media to the highest possible standards, both creatively and technically.
The Lausanne Media Engagement issue network is helping connect key influential Christian media professionals, thought leaders, and leaders, to enable effective cooperation and sharing of resources, as well as the development of emerging leaders. The network is continuing to reflect biblically and strategically on the whole area of media engagement to better understand the needs of the global church and identify the highest priorities.