From Christian media leaders and executives to preachers and ministers, the message is clear.
The end is near.
"We're looking at the end of human history," said Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of renowned evangelist Billy Graham and president of AnGeL Ministries, at the recent convention of the National Religious Broadcasters. "That our generation is the generation that precedes the return of Christ, what a privilege, what a responsibility to share the gospel with the world in this generation."
Though it's been said many times before in the past that the end is near, the signs of "the end" are notably clearer for many in this generation than in past ones, whether they're found in the record number of wars, the world's environmental calamities, or the increasing number of scandals that lace today's news – from celebrity assaults and athlete drug use to political corruption and decline in moral values.
"The world is crumbling, isn't it? And it's unraveling. And I don't think it's going to get better," Graham Lotz told thousands of Christian media professionals during a general session at the recently concluded NRB Convention. "I think superficially, maybe, but it's not really going to get better, not if what we're experiencing is the judgment of God, which I believe it is."
Of course, amid the chaos and crises in the world, there have also been advances and developments, many of which have been increasingly utilized by believers for the proclamation of the gospel. However, even in the positive developments, ministry leaders see an end approaching.
"We see that maybe for the first time, because of the technology available to us today, we can say, 'This may be the generation in which we reach the entire world for Christ,'" says NRB president and CEO Dr. Frank Wright, whose association comprises over 1,400 Christian media organizations.
Whether it is social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace, more tools are being created and utilized to reach out to people and spread the message of Christ. Last year, over 3 million decisions for Christ were reportedly made through the internet alone, and some 5 million more are projected for 2009. According to the Internet Evangelism Coalition, an umbrella group of online ministries, 1.5 billion people now access the Web for a wide range of activities.
"I've watched God operate through the years and I've seen Him do incredible things and much more incredible things in the last 5-10 years," says Campus Crusade for Christ International president Steve Douglass, who spent all of his adult career in ministry and personally believes the Great Commission will be fulfilled in the next decade.
Aside from the internet, very fruitful ministry methods have been and are being continually developed, scripture translation is expanding rapidly, and believers are praying, planning, and more at one now than they have been in the past centuries, says Douglass.
"It's not going to be 'business as usual' for the church anymore," he told some 300 attendees of the North American Call2All Congress in Dayton, Ohio, last month. "We are experiencing increasing shakings all around the world; this is a prelude to the greatest ingathering into God's Kingdom we have ever seen.
"The time is now," Douglass exclaimed. "It is imperative we plan and work together to see the Great Commission completed."
In her message this week during the NRB Convention in Nashville, Graham Lotz also emphasized the importance of unity among believers as "the time clock of human history is winding down."
"Let's bring integrity back, and unity ... at least let's bring it back in the Church," she said after having acknowledged division in the Church as a spiritual sign of the End Times.
"God's people need to be people of integrity and humility and purity and unity," she said. "We need to do all we can to set wrongs right and to reach out to other people so that we're united with our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ because ... in these last days, we need each other."
"We need to encourage each other and strengthen each other and pray for each other," Graham Lotz exhorted. "It's going to take us together to withstand the onslaught of the enemy in order to lift up Jesus in these last days. "
From Saturday to Tuesday, over six thousand Christian ministry and media representatives gathered in Nashville for this year's NRB Convention, looking for new tools, services, and relationships to expand their ministries and to get up to speed on the latest advances in Christian radio, television and internet media.
Keynote speakers included Graham Lotz, John McArthur, and Charles Stanley, among others.