The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) annual meeting brings together Christian radio, television, and other media people from across the nation and, in more recent years, the world. This year’s event at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, February 26-March 1, 2011, represents my second visit.
The Charlotte, North Carolina event a few years ago was my first event, which I attended after several years of our radio staff at WCSG inviting me to go with them. At the time I was still serving in the university presidency. In other words, I was more of an academic than a broadcaster, so much of the potential of the NRB blew past me. I focused on my staff friends.
This year in Nashville has been different. I’ve been serving with SAT-7 for about a year and one-half and this changed everything.
After 34 years in Christian higher education I knew the principals. I knew which organization represented what and which school or leader was known for this or that. Now I’m in a new element. I’m learning a new landscape, actually what I call a “people-scape.”
Even more, really—I’m learning the key people, organizations, and culture of three areas at once: Broadcasting, Missions, and Middle East. The people-scape in all three of these areas of expertise and service is substantially different from Christian higher education, as is the politics and culture. There’s some overlap: I met one former Christian university president who has spent years in the NRB. We enjoyed a good chat about “life after the university presidency.” But mostly, things are new, challenging, and interesting.
I was impressed by the spiritual energy of the event. People I met, sessions in which I participated, large plenary meetings I attended, all evidenced a passion for Christian ministry, service, and use of media to advance the message and person of Christ. Quality ran high—events were professionally produced. And I appreciated the fact that I didn’t run into a kind of personal or institutional arrogance—my ministry’s more significant than your ministry—I’ve witnessed in other Christian settings from time to time.
Given the unprecedented and continuing events of the past six weeks or so in the Middle East, people’s interest in the region is higher and more energized. People wanted to know about SAT-7, about Christian ministry in the Middle East and North Africa, what’s going to happen next, and how media might play some positive role. Consequently, we did radio and television interviews and connected with key leaders whose influence can help SAT-7 communicate its mission in the States.
We made a long list of contacts that will likely result in future interviews, name recognition for SAT-7, and ministry. We saw what we needed to do, which is get more content into audio and video format for sharing. And we made a lot of new friends. For SAT-7 and for me I’d say this event was a success. We plan, Lord willing, to return next year.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2011
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