November 25, 2023

Two Adventist YouTubers Lead Evangelistic Meetings in Croatia

They engaged with followers as the country prepares for major evangelism push.

Vanesa Pizzuto, Trans-European Division
Two Adventist YouTubers led recent evangelistic meetings in Croatia. [Photos: Vanesa Pizzuto/Adventist Media Exchange, CC BY 4.0]

Dani odluke (Decision Days) was a unique evangelistic series organized by Hope Channel Croatia to connect online viewers to local Adventist communities. To achieve this, Hope Channel Croatia enlisted the participation of two emerging Adventist YouTubers, Croatian pastor Dario Kovačević (@BIBLIJA_n_dianu, 5.01k subscribers) and Serbian psychologist Nemanja Boričić (@NemanjaBoricic, 23.8K subscribers), to lead the activity. Together, they toured four cities — Osijek, Vukovar, Slavonski Brod, and Zagreb — meeting their YouTube followers in person for the first time and delivering powerful messages about the gospel.

At their final stop at Rakovčeva Adventist Church in Zagreb, Kovačević and Boričić preached in tandem, radiating a palpable energy and friendship. Reflecting on the history of Serbia and Croatia, as well as their unlikely friendship, Boričić remarked, “This unity itself is the gospel. We are different but one in spirit.”

Using the story of Elijah as a thematic thread to connect all reflections, Kovačević and Boričić shared practical and insightful messages each night. “The dried brook is signaling the beginning of a new season for your life,” Kovačević said one night, reflecting on 1 Kings 17. On another night, Boričić explored the topic of depression and how God handles it, illustrating his points with the story of Elijah fleeing to Horeb. “God is not criticizing or judging him but asking questions and helping with the process by providing a new vision,” Boričić said, highlighting the importance of emulating God’s model of empathy.

Throughout the campaign, from November 10-16, the church was packed, with 150 people in attendance (roughly 20 percent of them were guests), along with 250-350 viewers watching the livestream, and up to 9,000 individuals watching the videos later in the week.

Spiritually and Technically Prepared

The team in Zagreb left nothing to chance. Every night, a group of prayer warriors gathered to pray for the people listening to the message. Meanwhile, the media team, an impressive group of seven volunteers led by Boris Brkić, managed five cameras, live mixing, and streaming on YouTube.

“It’s my first time doing this, but I’m one of the prayer team members,” Alan Požgaj said. “We meet half an hour before the meetings start with the speakers and pray. Then, while they preach, we stay in a little room in the church and pray the whole time. We pray for God’s spirit, his angels, and everything happening … the experience is awe-inspiring. It gives me goosebumps!”

“I know a woman who watched one of our YouTube channels, and then she found a local church and eventually got baptized,” commented Brkić, emphasizing the importance of making the campaign available on YouTube. “We are trying to grow our online community, which now has roughly 10,000 subscribers. We started during COVID three years ago; we are still young … God is helping us, and we have lots of good feedback and blessings.”

A Story of Synergy

According to Neven Klačmer, Croatian Conference executive secretary and communication director, the word that best describes this evangelistic campaign is ‘synergy.’ “Dario was involved with Hope Channel Croatia from the beginning. So, two years ago, he moved away from Zagreb [where Hope Channel Croatia is based] and started his own YouTube channel; many people were following him.”

“He then contacted Nemanja in Serbia, and they both accepted the invitation to tour Croatia, promoting both their own YouTube channels and Hope Channel Croatia,” Klačmer said. As many of their followers came to meet them in person in every city, “it helped us bridge the gap between the digital and the analogue church.”

Rather than competing for an audience, “we thought, let us bring them under the umbrella of Hope Channel; with such synergy, we all can be stronger than we would individually,” Klačmer said.

What’s Next?

Decision Days served as an introductory campaign, paving the way for the Christ for Europe initiative scheduled for December. “Most people who attended the tour in the four cities are ready to study the Bible. They have been watching many of our videos during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, this was an opportunity to connect without being behind a screen,” Klačmer said. Indeed, local pastors in Osijek, Vukovar, Slavonski Brod, and Zagreb are already agreeing on times and dates to study the Bible with some of the guests who attended the campaign — a promising start!

“We want digital evangelism to be our focus,” Klačmer said. “We are learning that sometimes we spread ourselves too thin with too many projects that only scratch the surface. We are finding that it is best to focus on one big project and that digital evangelism can bring all the church departments together, creating great synergy.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.