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SBC DIGEST: Media webinar to focus on missions; ‘Where Was God?’ still making impact

Webinar to address media in missions

By Jim Burton

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — To help Southern Baptist communicators better utilize technology in spreading the Gospel message, the International Mission Board will conduct a three-day, worldwide interactive webinar called ConnectX.

It will meet June 8-10 for two hours each day, from 7-9 a.m., Eastern time.

For three-days, participants will have access to nine seminars. Presenters range from a Pulitzer Prize recipient, an internationally known expert in marketing and a former director of photography at National Geographic magazine.

Topics include ethics, relationships through social media, marketing to the heart to capture the mind, and building a picture story. Presenters will speak for 15 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of open dialog by participants.

Individuals, small and large communications teams are invited to participate.

“It’s not just a come and listen event,” said Bill Bangham, IMB’s director for The Academy, a communications training service. “It is an exchange of ideas within a global community of communicators.”

Participants will be able to access the webinar through iPhones, iPads and computers. Android access is not yet available, but will be in the future.

The IMB has communication personnel scattered around the world. ConnectX is offered to support their professional growth, nurture and training, Bangham said. But it is also offered to churches, students and other professionals.

The webinar will address how Gospel communication today is more savvy and diverse than ever before. Keeping up with technology changes, particularly in social media, is critical to reach much of the modern world.
The webinar’s format of two hours a day for three days, reflects how technology can change an international organization’s business model.
It’s possible for hundreds of people to participate in ConnectX and never leave their home or office, and they don’t have to be in the same time zone.

“Not all our participating personnel are in the United States,” Bangham said. “Most are in other parts of the world. So when we start at 7 a.m. on the East Coast, it’s noon in London. And in parts of Asia it’s 6 p.m. Then there is everyone else in between.”

The cost for participation is $50. For members of Baptist Communicators Association (BCA) and International Mission Board personnel it is free. Registration closes May 27, 2015. Register online at: https://www.regonline.com/connectx

For more information, contact: Bill Bangham at [email protected] or Jullianne Kramer [email protected].

‘Where Was God?’ documentary still making impact
By Staff/The Baptist Messenger

MOORE, Okla. (BP) — It has been one year since the premiere of the documentary “Where Was God?” at the Moore Warren Theatre May 16, 2014. The award-winning film, which featured the Baptist General of Oklahoma’s disaster relief director Sam Porter, continues to make an impact.

The documentary that follows the lives of several families and individuals who were impacted by the May 20, 2013 tornado that struck the Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, has been shown in 12 states, won best documentary awards at film festivals and will be released online and on DVD in stores nationally June 2.

“We began this project intending to minister to the people of Moore and to give their stories a voice to impact lives all over the world,” producer Brian Cates said. “As the film’s release expanded beyond the city, we have seen God do exactly that. We are very excited and anticipating God will continue to use it now that it will be available online and on DVD.”

The film was entered into several film festivals. Production representative Ricky Pope said the film was well received. “We actually did a little better in the secular festivals, ironically,” Pope acknowledged. “It speaks to the openness of the film community to the message and the quality of the production.”

The film won the Best Social Debate Documentary award at the Bare Bones International Independent Film Festival in Muskogee on April 19. Other awards include: 5 Doves from the Dove Foundation; Best Documentary at festivals Trail Dance in Duncan and Maryland International in Hagerstown, Md. The film also received the Oklahoma Strong Inspirational Award at the Clean Shorts Film festival in Choctaw.

Director Travis Palmer and producers accepted the awards on behalf of the film’s cast who shared their stories.

“God doesn’t care about these temporal awards that men bestow upon one another,” Palmer said. “His win is in our faithfulness to share the Gospel message. The awards opened doors for His light to flood through.”

Producer Chris Forbes said the film’s success has been the result of the efforts of a lot of people.

“We are a grassroots independent production, so we don’t have a huge advertising budget. Our screenings have been the result of our supporters’ efforts to bring the message to their communities,” he said.

One unexpected outcome of the film affected executive producer and pastor Steven Earp of Moore.

“Prior to the tornado, I had a low view of denominations. But when I saw the yellow shirts of Baptist disaster relief volunteers running chainsaws, making thousands of meals, clearing more than 7,000 residential lots, giving more than 70 refurbished mobile homes to people with no expectations, just sacrifice and service, it changed my heart,” he said.

“Where Was God?” will be available June 2 at Walmart, Target, Amazon, Christian bookstores and other establishments and through the film’s website. A companion book, “Storms of Life: Learning to Trust God Again” by Earp also is available, along with church screening information at WhereWasGod.com.

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