Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could see your future by simply observing the present? I believe that’s possible, and here’s why.
Let’s do a quick rewind to set the stage… Before most American megachurches even existed, a group of evangelical South Koreans in the 1960s were struggling to keep up with seven overflowing Sunday services. To address their growing demand, Seoul’s Full Gospel Church pioneered a unique version of the “cell group” model. Full Gospel innovated further by introducing satellite churches featuring live broadcasts to each location. Eventually this congregation became the largest church in the world with over 830,000 members!
So, why does this church thousands of miles away have a connection with Christian radio in the US?
South Korea is widely viewed by leading researchers and economists as a forecast for how the US economy will look in the future.
By zooming in on present day Seoul, we’re getting a preview of how technology will influence behavioral and media changes in our own future. This future will require innovation and an ongoing commitment to change to ensure your ministry stays relevant.
At present, South Korea is the 10th largest economy in the world, with a population of over 51 million. Its people consume content, shop, and engage digitally with each other more than any other country in the world.
- Since 2005, South Korean’s mobile devices have supported access to free, over-the-air digital and terrestrial broadcasts for radio and TV. Wouldn’t it be awesome for all mobile users to access your local radio signal on their phone!
- South Korea is home to the world’s first commercial rollout of 5G and 98% of the population has high-speed internet access. South Koreans are experiencing the reality of what were once only virtual dreams.
- There are autonomous vehicles for shuttle service, along with enough bandwidth to stream any media choice instantly while the self-driving vehicle delivers riders.
- And thanks to 5G, the ubiquitous high-speed is fueling a national passion for online gaming. Plus, access to the metaverse is already in play for younger South Koreans with Facebook and Google playing catch-up to local start-ups, telecoms, and internet providers.
Since South Korea leads the world with the highest portion of the population using 5G daily, where does this place terrestrial radio in the media choices of its people?
- According to KISDI, in 2020, the rate of radio usage in South Korea was 16.5 percent. Radio usage has continuously decreased over the past years, from 34.6 percent in 2011.
- In a 2021 survey, about one-third of South Korean respondents stated they spent a daily average of 30 minutes to one hour listening to the radio on weekdays. Another 28 percent said they listened for an average of one to 1.5 hours per weekday. Only a small share of South Koreans listened for longer than two hours.
- Along with listening trends, South Korean spending on radio and TV advertising is also expecting to trend down with online advertising, mobile in particular, taking its place.
For decades, South Korea has been a preview of our American future, including the evangelical church and ministries creatively seeking to bring more people into a relationship with Jesus.
My encouragement is to give yourself permission to pause for a moment to see the opportunities for your organization. As you process the data above and what may be in store for the market your ministry serves, here’s something you can do right now.
Take the time to intentionally refocus and refine your mission. What unique part do you play in serving the faithful and strengthening outreach to those searching for real hope? What could you do if you had all the funding needed? Whether you’re beginning the journey or continuing existing strategic development, you’re now empowered by this South Korean data to leverage as a tool for market forecasting and innovation.
And with the limited time each of us is given to serve, I believe God will provide the inspiration and vision for what’s next, along with the funding.
1 Chronicles 29:14-15, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us! We are here for only a moment, visitors, and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” (NLT)
Listen to your staff, volunteers, and donors. There is wisdom in the counsel of many, which is why Dunham and Company offers a full-day, high-impact workshop for ministries to access the past, analyze the present and help you forecast and focus on the future.
You can also learn from those who are already blazing trails like:
- HIS Radio network Morning Crew, led by Rob Dempsey, who have been live streaming video of their show for years, while offering best of breaks on demand and repurposing content across multiple channels.
- WayFM network created WAY Nation as an online content platform to connect with those that might not be in one of their markets or listen to terrestrial radio.
- EMF launched the AccessMore podcast network as a brand extension and companion to their national radio networks with exclusive content.
15 years ago, Dunham+Company had a digital department with 3 team members. That number has exploded to over 20 on the global team and is continuing to grow.
Regardless of where trends and technologies take us, if you need practical help driven by ongoing, exclusive research, our team of innovators and holistic practitioners is here to help your organization do even more.
Our stress-tested, proven experts will work in tandem with your team to deliver a roadmap to address the now and prepare for what’s next. Ultimately, we’ll help ensure your mission continues to have relevancy and more Kingdom impact.
Have questions? Contact my team member Jim Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know how we can serve you!
Jason Parker is Chief Strategy Officer at Dunham+Company. Jason has over 20 years of experience in successful corporate leadership roles and entrepreneurial endeavors.
Leveraging those leadership skills, Jason now channels his passion, creativity, and calling through collaborative relationships with radio ministry and faith-based clients.
By providing fresh approaches, creatively designed communication strategies, and cost-efficient ways to maximize resources, Jason equips our ministry partners to emotionally engage with supporters and create loyal advocates. His work allows each organization to fully realize over time the essential bond with their audience, foster long-lasting relationships, and fulfill their unique mission.