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Georgia Baptist-initiated video stream looking to share SBC stories

Jon Graham produces a video in his studio at the Georgia Baptist Missions and Ministry Center in Duluth, Ga. Photo by Scott Smith

DULUTH, Ga. (BP) – Streaming services have revolutionized the way Americans view television programming. Jon Graham feels Southern Baptists are primed for a new era of just the same.

The Georgia Baptist Mission Board, where Graham is the lead video producer, unveiled the ACTS2 streaming service last November. Graham said at the time that the service could fill an “obvious void [for] a Southern Baptist voice in the broadcast world.” Now, he’s urging other state conventions to become part of the movement in preparation for another venture – SBC Coast to Coast.

The announcement came earlier this month that through a partnership with the Executive Committee, the ACTS2 app would stream the June 12-15 SBC annual meeting in Anaheim. SBC Coast to Coast will supplement the coverage with content provided by state conventions.

“During non-session times of the live stream for the annual meeting, such as the two-hour gaps on Tuesday and Wednesday when everybody’s going to lunch – I thought there would be an audience throughout the country still watching because it’s not lunchtime where they are,” said, Graham, referring to Anaheim’s West Coast time. “I thought that would be a good time to put original programming in place.”

So far, 26 state conventions have committed to being a part of the programming. Examples include hunger outreach campaigns from the Louisiana and Pennsylvania/South Jersey conventions, a South Carolina evangelism effort and the history of the Canada National Baptist Convention.

Additional submissions must be sent by May 6, Graham stressed. He can be reached at [email protected] and (770) 936-5281.

Thomas Hammond, executive director for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, described ACTS2 and SBC Coast to Coast as opportunities to build unity in the SBC.

“We’re so excited to provide ACTS2 as a place where all Southern Baptists can be ‘in one place’ like Acts 2:1 says. We know when we are unified the Spirit moves. We have seen how unity can be facilitated through media so we are honored to help make this happen.

“We know that missionaries and ministers come from churches. Associations and state conventions are the only entities responsible for helping local SBC churches with their mandate of fulfilling the Great Commission. It makes sense that we would highlight the good work of state conventions from coast to coast while all eyes are on Anaheim. I’m excited to see how Baptists respond to the program and how we can continue to partner across our convention.”

Graham agreed.

“In Acts 2, they were all together in one place. That’s when the Day of Pentecost came and the Holy Spirit came down,” he said. “That’s when unity happens when the Holy Spirit moves. Southern Baptists are long overdue for long-term unity.”

Southern Baptists launched the American Christian Television System (ACTS) in the early 1980s through the Radio and Television Commission (RTVC), building a network of around 100 or more low-power TV stations and a smaller number of those with full power throughout the country. It would go on to produce programming such as “JOT, a children’s animated series, and earn an Emmy Award in 1989 for the documentary “China” Walls and Bridges.”

The RTVC, along with the Brotherhood Commission, merged with the Home Mission Board in 1997 with the formation of the North American Mission Board. In 2007 FamilyNet was sold to Charles Stanley’s In Touch ministry. A year later NAMB sold the Fort Worth broadcast building that had been the RTVC’s home since 1955. In 2009, the network once again changed hands, this time from In Touch to a group affiliated with TV preacher Robert Schuller.