On Monday, the nation's largest association of Christian media professionals marked 65 years since the face of religious broadcasting was "forever changed."
It was on Sept. 21, 1944, that a committee of evangelical broadcasters held a constitutional convention in the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago after first coming to together the year before to discuss the challenges they faced in purchasing airtime - something that was virtually impossible for them.
"NRB's founders came together to face a great challenge, yet they experienced a surprising blessing, as the unity forged out of those early trials continued in bonds of fellowship that have extended from generation to generation down to this day," remarked Dr. Frank Wright, president and CEO of the National Religious Broadcasters, whose member organizations today represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers worldwide.
"NRB was birthed in the fires of adversity and these many years later the fires burn hotter than ever," he added, noting that challenges still exist today, including proposed legislation that could potentially influence their content and hiring policies.
When the first NRB convention was held, those gathered approved a Constitution and Bylaws, a Code of Ethics, and a slate for the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The broadcasters also voted to incorporate, and on Dec. 18, 1944, the state of Delaware awarded the NRB a charter of incorporation.
Since then, religious broadcasting has blossomed, starting from radio and expanding to television and film. Entire Christian networks have also been formed and satellites have been built that take the Gospel to every corner of the globe.
"Sixty-five years after a birth in humble circumstances, NRB continues on with the vision of its founders – keeping the doors of electronic media open for the spread of the Gospel," Wright commented.
The NRB has also grown into an international organization with members from throughout the world. Presently, the association claims a membership of more than 1,700 organizations, including FamilyNet and the Christian Broadcasting Network.
The association's annual convention boasts itself as the world's largest gathering of Christian broadcasters. This year's convention, held in Nashville this past February, drew over 6,000 attendees.