Interview with David Spencer
An Interview with David Spencer the Founder and Project Leader for ChristianMedia.ca
- 1 What was ChristianMedia.ca ?
- 2 Who is David Spencer?
- 3 Was There a Need Canadian Christians in Media to Connect?
- 4 How did ChristianMedia.ca get started?
- 5 Describe the impact made by ChristianMedia.ca.
- 6 Did the impact of ChristianMedia.ca on the arts, film, radio, television and writing communities meet your expectations?
- 7 Why are you deciding to move on from ChristianMedia.ca?
- 8 What's been the reaction from Canada's Christian media community to your moving on?
- 9 The Christian media community is carrying on the vision of ChristianMedia.ca
What was ChristianMedia.ca ?
ChristianMedia.ca was a community of Christians and an online database that provided the history of Canadian Christians working, volunteering and ministering in media in Canada. There were 222 members listed and 1085 subscribers to our fourteen (14) e-newsletters.
We also had entries recording the history of their activities and influence of Canadian Christians on Canadian media. This includes 159 female media workers and 253 male media workers listed.
ChristianMedia.ca has 5,948 pages and received 2,269,477 page views since launching in the year 2000. The site receives 17,577 hits per day.
Who is David Spencer?
David Spencer is the founder and former Project Leader for ChristianMedia.ca. He has gained practical experience in working with people, mobilizing people to work towards a vision and understanding media in Canada.
He promoted contemporary Christian music on secular radio stations and published a magazine from 1982 to 1986 and helped promote GreenFest in 1986 with Sjon Deters. David made a presentation to the CRTC:Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Hull, Quebec during the January 1982 Religious Broadcasting Hearings. During his deputation, he played a variety of music created by Canadian Christians. He asked the CRTC Commissioners to encourage the radio airplay of music written, recorded and produced by Canadian Christians on Canadian AM radio and FM radio stations. The 1982 CRTC Commissioners learned that there was a considerable amount of CANCON (Canadian content) being produced by Christian artists.
David produced music, arts and media ministry conferences in 1985, 1986, 1999 and 2001. He produced a youth television show from 1988 to 1989, co-authored resources for environmental education in 1991 and 1992 and made presentations on media to MissionFest Toronto in 2003, York University in 2007 and The Word Guild in 2002 and 2008. From 2003 to 2006 he helped form a team that launched a community FM radio station in Erin, Ontario.
David is also a musician and songwriter who plays piano, organ, bass guitar, acoustic guitar and harmonica. He recorded his first album distributed on audio cassette in 1990. In 1991 he co-authored an educational book called "The Green School" for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation. He has written articles on environmental education for "Pathways" the Journal of the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario.
Was There a Need Canadian Christians in Media to Connect?
Since the 1980's David encountered a number of Christian musicians and artists with recordings in hand looking for radio airplay and venues to play and sing. Many of them had difficulty connecting with Churches, coffee house managers, concert promoters and radio stations. Since staff and volunteers changed often, it was difficult for artists to make bookings, arrange tours or build relationships with Christian radio stations.
A number of Christians felt led by God to become involved in a radio ministry. Some tried to produce a gospel or CCM music show for a local radio station. Some were interested in starting a community radio station. However, they did not know who to contact nor did many of them have a background in dealing with the CRTC.
As a result of these observations and encouraged by other Christian media workers David organized Media Ministry Conference '99 which led to the forming of ChristianMedia.ca.
How did ChristianMedia.ca get started?
David began ministry on the Internet in 1991 with a 9600 baud modem and an Apple Macintosh II computer. In 1999, David and James Houssen launched a listserv that eventually became ChristianRadioCanada News.
Due to David's persistence, prayers and connections skills, he and Tyndale University and other partners were able to assemble enough people in media and music to hold the Media Ministry Conference in Toronto in June 1999. The ground swell provided enough people interested in continuing to connect and sharing ideas and resources. David spoke with a number of people during the Media Ministry Conference who were interested in building connections for musicians and radio people.
David registered the .ca web domain called christianmedia.ca on November 10, 2000. He posted his vision in HTML format and began connecting through the web. Then he spent a couple of years looking for an online database solution that would serve the pages. He experiemented with FileMaker Pro and writing PHP. He took a course at Humber College to learn more about PHP and web site design.
MediaWiki, the software used for Wikipedia was not invented until January 15, 2001. David finally discovered MediaWiki software through Wikipedia and decided to use this platform so that Members of ChristianMedia.ca could edit their own pages. To help Canadian media workers connect David launched fourteen media related e-newsletters.
Describe the impact made by ChristianMedia.ca.
People have requested to join and have their own page on ChristianMedia.ca.
We had 220 members listed and 1085 subscribers to our fourteen (14) e-newsletters.
We also had entries recording the history of their activities and influence of Canadian Christians on Canadian media. This includes 159 female media workers and 253 male media workers listed.
ChristianMedia.ca had 5,943 pages and received 2,232,763 page views since launching in the year 2000.
We received web referrals from Briercrest College and Seminary every day.
Did the impact of ChristianMedia.ca on the arts, film, radio, television and writing communities meet your expectations?
I expected media workers and church leaders to understand what I was attempting to do. The biggest challenge was to concisely explain the ChristianMedia.ca vision for a national network of media partnering and prayer supporters. A number of individuals and organizations involved in media ministry were too busy trying to keep their own ministry or business afloat. Many did not see the priority of taking time to connect and pray with others in similar areas of media ministry.
Those media workers who took the time to join ChristianMedia.ca and/or sign up for one or more of our e-newsletters were blessed and encouraged. They gained technical expertise and found sources of technical training. Some even found a mentor to guide them along.
When dealing with some large Canadian Christian ministries and businesses I was expecting a response that would encourage continued dialogue. I found that some large Canadian Christian ministries and businesses have lost the connection with the individual as a person. To some, the individual is a potential marketing account that can be sent mass mailings and e-mail messages soliciting donations.
I found some Canadian Christians in the arts, film, radio, television and writing communities have lost sight of Biblical Christianity and the great commission. Some were more concerned about how a non-Christian might respond to their media product and if they might be offended, than thinking about the truth presented (or not) in their project.
Through the ChristianMedia.ca network, I learned about Canadian Christians who felt called by God to start up a Christian radio stations, newspaper, web development ministry or music ministry. Through the ChristianMedia.ca network, they were able to find other liked-minded individuals and groups who helped them out. I found this activity very exciting to see the hand of God moving through many lives across Canada.
Why are you deciding to move on from ChristianMedia.ca?
ChristianMedia.ca grew from a part-time hobby ministry to a full-time ministry within eight years. I did not feel led to give up my full time day job and pursue ChristianMedia.ca full time.
I find that my ideas and initiatives are usually five (5) to ten (10) years ahead of the Christian community. I have finished sharing all my ideas and connections for ChristianMedia.ca. It is time for me to move on to my next project which will help strengthen my understanding of the Bible, church history, creation and my faith in Jesus Christ.
Since Media Ministry Conference '99, I spent nine years researching, connecting Canadian media workers, attending writing and media networking conferences and musician gatherings and building the ChristianMedia.ca web site and database. No other individual or ministry has been as focused and effective in undertaking the vision "Connecting Canadian Christians with a heart for media ministry".
If ChristianMedia.ca is to continue in its present form, other Canadian Christians will need to step up to the plate to take over.
I am stepping down as Project Leader for ChristianMedia.ca. I will now have more time for family, friends, Bible study, learning more about creation science, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and playing my guitar.
What's been the reaction from Canada's Christian media community to your moving on?
Since June 2008, I have spoken to a number of Canadian media workers and Christian ministries involved in media ministry. I explained to them that I am looking for a Canadian Christian charity to carry on the work and vision of ChristianMedia.ca. I have also connected with a number of people who have expressed interest in taking over one or more of our E-Newsletters.
The following charities and ministries were contacted by David Spencer an asked if they would like to take over the christianmedia.ca web domain, content and e-newsletters:
- Artists In Christian Testimony International - Rev. Byron Spradlin, President
Response: Great idea, however we don't have the staff to manage this. If it would be of help for us to Steward the “ownership” of the domain name, we would not only LOVE to do that, but to promise to preserve the “purpose” of the website, and strive to protect its integrity—that is; we would not take it and then try to change it.- Byron We accepted Byron's offer. Artists In Christian Testimony International now hosts the ChristianMedia.ca domain here.
- Beth Warden, President of Beth Warden Professional Voiceovers
Response: I would be honored to take over the ChristianRadioCanada News forum, with the help of our current moderators.I'm humbled that you've asked me to moderate the forum after the many years you've invested to build this! -Beth
Regarding CanadianChristiansinMedia ... I'd be happy to moderate that group as well. - Beth
- Canada Family Action Coalition - Brian Rushfeldt, Executive Director
Response: We don't have the staff to manage the listserv CanadianChristiansofAction e-newsletter. - Brian
- Canadian Church Press - Glen Argan, President
- Christian Canadian Sports Magazine - Bob McKenna - Publisher
Response: I did not get to know you but want you to know that I applaud you for the work that you did. I feel compelled to respond to your request asking for a volunteer to continue the PublishingMinistryCanada_Newsletter. I am not sure what qualifications are necessary but being one that puts his heart and soul into everything he does I can’t imagine anything more worthy of my time than something like this . So, let me know how I can help... - Bob
- Christian Info Canada and The Word Guild - Les Lindquist, Chairman of the Board and N. J. Lindquist Co-founder of The Word Guild
Response: We will have a preliminary discussion with our board and then I will discuss with you. - Les
- Christian Info Society and CanadianChristianity.com - Flyn Ritchie, Publisher and Editor and Peter Biggs
Response: I am up to my eyes in editorial work right now, tomorrow I can put on the 'digital hat'!-Peter Thanks David. Good talking with you today, and I’m looking forward to more.-Flyn We are not able to purchase ChristianMedia.ca form you. Nor is the Christian Info Society able to give you an income tax receipt for your donation of the ChristianMedia.ca web domain. -Flyn
- Compassion Canada - John McDonald, Marketing & Media Communications and Web Marketing Specialist
Response: We unfortunately have no use or interest in this domain at this time, and so it would be difficult for Compassion to gauge and meet the fair market value of the site. I will forward on the link to our Marketing & Media Communications and Church & Ministry Relations department to see if there is further interest in joining or contributing to Christianmedia.ca -John
- Fellowship for Print Witness and ChristianWeek - Doug Koop, Editorial Director
Response: I'll mention this to our Board. - Doug
- Evangelical Fellowship of Canada - Aileen Van Ginkel, Vice-President, Ministry Services
Response: "I wanted to let you know that I was able to raise the matter of the EFC taking on ChristianMedia.ca at our meeting last week. We decided at that time not to take you up on the offer.
I know you’ve put much time and effort into this website, David, but unfortunately we do not have the staffing or financial resources to take it over. If the Christian Media Roundtable were still active, it might have been different, but at this point, we do not see the fit with what the EFC is doing.
With best wishes." – Aileen.
- Focus on the Family Canada - Derek Rogusky, Senior Vice President
Response: "I appreciate the fact that you felt Focus on the Family Canada might be a good home for a project that I am sure has been near and dear to your heart. There is certainly a lot of work that has gone into creating and growing this and I believe that the Christian arts community is well served by it.
I spent a fair bit of time before Christmas reviewing the site and investigating the various technologies you have used and without going into a lot of detail, have concluded that ChristianMedia.ca doesn’t have a tight fit with our strategic vision. The effort required to effectively maintain and build upon what you have established would need management attention and organizational resources currently needed to fulfill the strategic vision we feel the Lord has placed before us. It is difficult, but we often have had to pass on good opportunities in order to stay focused on what we believe is our calling -- providing Biblical marriage and parenting help and encouragement to Canadians. Again thank you for considering us with this opportunity."
- GMA Canada - Martin Smith, President and Peter Fleck, Membership Director and Leroy Harder, Member at Large
Regarding GMA Canada taking over the MusicMinistryCanada Newsletter... Response:"I appreciate the letter we received. We are under-going some significant changes at the GMA Canada board as well, which I believe will end in the new year with a much healthier organization capable of taking on a lot more of these types of initiatives. In the meantime, what specifically did you have in mind for your site? There is a lot of info there, and I can imagine it takes a lot of effort and time to keep up to date... I would like to officially open the door to further discussion"... - Leroy
- InScribe Christian Writers' Fellowship - Marcia Laycock, President
Response: "I'll check with our team about taking over the ChristianWritersCanada Newsletter and get back to you." - Marcia
- JesusCanada.com - Brett Ullman
Regarding taking over the domain name ChristianMedia.ca Response: Thanks for the offer but I would not be able to use the domain. -Brett
- Northern Praise Ministries - Michelle Sim, President
Regarding Northern Praise Ministries taking over the MusicMinistryCanada Newsletter ... Response: "I do not think that I can take on this responsibility David. I need to really gauge my energy these days. All the best to you and the new owners"... - Michelle
- Ministry Networks - Laurie Marks Vincent, President
Regarding Ministry Networks taking over the MusicMinistryCanada Newsletter ... Yes I would be pleased to moderate the MusicMinistryCanada Newsletter - Laurie
- Pacific Theatre - Julie Sutherland, Director of Public Relations
Response: Thanks, David. I'll talk to the GM about this and get back to you." - Julie
- Salem Communications - David A. R. Evans,President, of New Business Development, Interactive and Publishing and Rick Killingsworth
Response: "Dave has read your information and has asked that I forward it to the person who is in charge of our Salem Web Network. His name is Rick Killingsworth and he will contact you if he feels your website is a good match for Salem."- Emily, Admin Assistant for David A. R. Evans
- Sanctified Media - Sam McGrew, President If you haven't found someone to step in to moderate FilmandVideoMinistryCanada_Newsletter I'd be willing to do it. I have the time and the passion to make it worth everyone's while. - Sam
- Technologies for Worship Magazine - Kevin Rogers Cobus, Executive Editor
Response: Regarding taking over the NewMediaMinistry_Newsletter ... We would be interested in speaking further about getting something going. - Kevin
- TruthMedia Internet Group - Karen Shank, President
Response: Thanks for your kind offer. We shall decline. Your ChristianMedia.ca project does not fit the present mandate of our TruthMedia Internet Group web ministry. - Karen
- WikiChristian.org - Graham Llewellyn Grove and Prab R. Tumpati
Response: I've browsed through your website and I think that you too have done an excellent job creating what looks like a very useful and used website. By all means we would be happy for you to transfer any data that you think is relevant over to WikiChristian - certainly we want WikiChristian to be a place where people can put up information about local churches and Christian outreach events etc.-Graham Llewellyn Grove
If you would like to move some of the articles to Wikichristian, please feel free to do. The vision of Wikichristian is to serve as a forum for all Christians including those in Canada.-Prab R. Tumpati
- World Vision Canada - Alana Mascoll, Program Manager for Resources-In-Kind-January 13, 2009 Thank you for sending this offer to us. It is quite different from our usual offers of clothing or medicines, so it took me a day or so to determine our ability to accept it. I have made some inquiries about this opportunity and our current media objectives and right now there is minimal alignment. World Vision is a trusted brand and we are using our website (www.worldvision.ca) to engage Canadians on issues of poverty and justice. We appreciate your generosity and the chance to leverage the visibility of ChristianMedia.ca, but at this time, we cannot accept this donation. Thank you.- Alana Mascoll
The Christian media community is carrying on the vision of ChristianMedia.ca
As of Sunday March 26, 2023 portions of ChristianMedia.ca have been taken over by Christians from various parts of the world.
- 222 Members of ChristianMedia.ca now have a home and a page describing their media service on WikiChristian.org thanks to Graham Llewellyn Grove based in Adelaide, Australia and Prab R. Tumpati based Philadelphia, United States of America.
- Thanks to Rev. Byron Spradlin of Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America Artists In Christian Testimony International now hosts the ChristianMedia.ca web domain <www.christianmedia.ca> here.
- CanadianChristiansinMedia serving 5 Christians working in secular media is now owned and moderated by Beth Warden based in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
- CanadianPerformingArtsMinistry Newsletter serving 51 Christians actors, dancers, directors, performing artists, stage managers, lighting and costume experts involved in theatre ministries is now owned and moderated by Susan G. Acheson based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- ChristianRadioCanada News serving 169 Christian radio supporters is now owned and moderated by Beth Warden based in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
- ChristianWritersCanada_Newsletter serving 92 Christian writers and editors is now owned and moderated by Gerri Maynard based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- MusicMinistryCanada Newsletter serving 133 Christians involved in music ministry is now owned and moderated by Laurie Marks Vincent based in London, Ontario.
The following e-newsletters have been discontinued and deleted.