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How to brainstorm, how to face online critics and more

Last Saturday I was at the Christian New Media Conference and Awards.
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It was quite a day. The hall was packed with people ranging from leaders in the field of digital communications to ordinary church members trying to use the new tools available. Those plenary seasons were good. I particularly appreciated Micah Purnell’s intriguing use of public spaces and on-street advertising to share Christian values in an really original way. 
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But much of the day was spent in smaller groups. The highlight for me was Ruth Jackson’s session - ‘Grace Under Fire’. It was based on 1 Peter 3 v15: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 
She shared her experience of responding to atheists and other critics of our faith online. Two of the many good points she made particularly stuck with me. Firstly, it’s good to ask questions. Jesus engaged in dialogue more than preaching. And also, it’s ok to throw a pebble in the pond and move on. You can read a few more of her thoughts here
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Ruth was of course themedianet’s development worker a couple of years ago, and prior to that worked at Blue Peter. We’ve just put her piece on effective brainstorming on our new site - why not take a look?
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It’s interesting to think about the values behind the (charming and beautifully produced) John Lewis advert which was unveiled today. So apparently Christmas is about love, doing something for someone else, and of course, children. 
It’s a start, but for Christians it doesn’t end there of course. Or even begin there. The Christmas Starts With Christ campaign (also represented at the CNM conference) is aimed at keeping Jesus in the picture next month. They’ve got posters, radio commercials and more to help us do our bit.
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And here's one other thing I noticed this week - a piece in the NY Times about the lengths to which TV channels will go to get audiences, which asks questions about how far entertainment companies should go in putting on programmes where the threat of death is real. Their Hunger Games reference may seem a little far fetched… what do you think? Let us know on Facebook, or Twitter.
Have you got something else you’d like to share a few words about? Guest blogs for themedianet are always welcome - just let me know.


medianett-er Neil Thompson is looking for a Communications and Media Officer to join his Church Army team in Sheffield. More details here.

And Tearfund are looking for an experienced Communications Officer for a year’s contract based on Jordan, to help them communicate their response to the crisis in the Middle east.

Tearfund are also part of the response to the Ebola crisis faced by some of the poorest countries in West Africa. You can donate to the joint DEC appeal via their site, where I also found the prayer below. Let’s also pray and give thanks for those who are helping by getting the word out. 

Lord God our comforter, we pray for communities affected by the current Ebola outbreak. We lift up the thousands of families who have lost loved ones, and ask that they will be comforted and kept safe from infection. 

We lift up individuals in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea who are infected by the virus. We pray that they will have access to medical care and be restored to full health.

We pray for the people of West Africa who are living in fear and distress because of the Ebola outbreak. We pray that effective prevention measures will be put in place, and ask that medical supplies and hygiene kits will reach those most in need. We pray also for protection of Tearfund partner staff and other aid workers in the area.

Paul Arnold
Coordinator, themedianet

† Prayer from Tearfund's church resources at