Forty communication professionals from 13 Seventh-day Adventist media centers across Europe met February 24-27 on the premises of Hope Media Europe in Germany.
During the four days of meetings, church media professionals had the opportunity to present their specific realities and current projects, exchange experiences related to their challenges, and find new paths together for the church’s mission through communication.
“The purpose of this meeting was to put in close contact, hopefully on a permanent basis, those responsible for the media centers in the territory of the Inter-European Division [EUD], joined by some from the Trans-European Division [TED],” EUD communication director Paulo Macedo said.
“There was no formal forum at this level for them to exchange information and experiences, coordinate projects, and find a common platform to fulfil the mission through media. And that is why we have come together here and now,” he added.
Media centers represented were from the EUD fields of Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Romania, and Spain. From the TED fields, representatives came from England, Iceland, Ireland, and Latvia. A special invitee was Maksym Krupskyi, director of the church media center in Ukraine.
The Weekend Program
EUD president Mário Brito launched the weekend with a devotional on Friday evening on the topic, “Real Purpose in Communicating,” based on Ezekiel 47 and John 17.
“The most powerful messages sometimes are not written or spoken. We read people as people read us,” Brito said. “Think about your intention when you communicate. Is it only to inform? Is it only to train? Is it only to transmit what you think is the right message? Or is it really to change people’s existence?”
Brito called on attendees to search for communication that brings hope and life to people through Christ. “[But] don’t forget that you will not convey hope and life if you yourself don’t have Christ,” he said. “Only then you can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to change people’s lives, like the water coming out from the temple and bringing life, in the book of Ezekiel.”
On Saturday (Sabbath) morning, TED communication director David Neal delivered a message on the hope present in the apostle Paul’s texts in 1 Thessalonians 5.
“God’s people are meant to bring hope to a world now in permanent global crisis and to people in deep existential crisis,” Neal said. “This hope becomes our purpose because a Christian lives a life of purpose, which we find at the cross, in and through what Christ has done for us.”
Neal said that, given the fact that hope “is embedded in the Adventist DNA,” we should “act and live as an expectant church ready for Christ’s return and, like the Thessalonian church, be a happy, prayerful and grateful church grounded in grace.”
Feedback From Attendees
Florian Ristea, director of EUD Adventist Mission, Sabbath School, and Personal Ministries, said “it was encouraging to see people, especially young leaders, from around Europe, being so dedicated and focused on mission, and using their creativity and resources in creating content for reaching people in their own countries with the Good News.” Ristea reminded European Adventist communicators that media is a powerful tool. “It is obvious that the time has come to become … a leading force in the church’s mission.”
Klaus Popa, president of Hope Media Europe, explained that the various media centers find themselves at different stages of development of their media ministry work. “[Thus,] coming together as a Hope Media Europe network enables the media centers not only to grow together by learning from one another but also to develop together an integrated media ministry strategy that will increase the impact of the singular media centers as well as of all the network,” he said.
Macedo agreed. “There was a lot of good news about everything that has been done in mission through communication in Europe, along with promising ideas, plans, and projects. Learning, sharing, and coordinating will save resources and hasten time in our common purpose,” he said. “Just look at the hopeful message coming from the Ukrainian media center.”
Ukraine Media Center
During the meetings, EUD and TED News interviewed Maksym Krupskyi, Hope Media Ukraine director.
“First, we saw people suffering and leaving, and we thought everything was lost,” Krupskyi told TED communication associate director Vanessa Pizzuto and Hope Media Spain director Samuel Gil. “Then we started to help people [to cover] their basic, essential needs. Right after the first few months of war, we realized there was an opportunity to evangelize. People need hope to continue wanting to live.”
Krupskyi gets emotional when discussing the suffering of his people and, at the same time, the joy of announcing positive news in the midst of distress and uncertainty. “We’ve already had more than 1,000 baptisms since the beginning of this terrible war,” he shared. “And we inaugurated a new studio in the summer. If you had told me we would inaugurate a studio, even before the war, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Ukraine is suffering the consequences of a year of fighting. At the church level, 8,000 of the 30,000 Adventist church members have left the country. But mission continues and grows with the 100 staff members working in the seven studios of Hope Media Ukraine, Krupskyi emphasized.
“We thank everyone for supporting our people and our members. We are doing mission as needed,” he said.