The reports about Andrew Brunson’s release are just another example of how little the media know about evangelical churches.
We love new technologies and we use them passionately. But we also know God’s mission is done through and for real people. The ELF conference in Wisla (Poland) reinforces our aim to analyse the big challenges of today through the Christian worldview.
More than 700 participants from across Europe and other parts of the world have just left the small Polish Protestant town of Wisla. After a week of countless personal connections, top quality training, and a clear and honest Biblical perspective on the reality of our continent, this is a great moment to renew our vision (in the sense of actually seeing better).
God’s mission is real and visible in our own country, we were reminded, and in our own very specific professional context.
Three members of the Evangelical Focus team took part of the 2016 European Leadership Forum conference (a full report of the conference will be published next week). Joel Forster, Belén Díaz and Daniel Hofkamp (also Editor in Chief of Protestante Digital) joined other 15 participants in the Media Communicators network, in a week of deep conversations about Europe’s crisis, the role of journalism and how everything is connected to the gospel of Jesus.
Conversations during coffee breaks, times of prayer with people we had met randomly, connections at the Expo with readers we didn’t know were following us, and the opportunity to share some of our own experiences in one of the sessions helped us to get loads of feedback to Evangelical Focus’ experience so far.
Good journalism and a clear Christian identity are not in conflict, we heard repeatedly. As Lars Dahle, Professor at NLA University College (Norway), put it: ‘We need media projects with soft edges and a firm centre.’ Quality and identity should go together.
For an online media project like ours, it is very important to have reality checks like this week in Poland. To hear the feedback of people you meet face to face. At times, we were overwhelmed. Several of the participants told us they open our daily newsletter in countries like Croatia, Finland, Czech Republic or Romania. Others asked: ‘How do you pay for all this?’ and thought they really wanted to help us to be more sustainable financially (through advertising and donations).
People we have been introducing to our readership told us our interviews had helped them to make their mission known in other countries. Representatives of key networks like the European Evangelical Alliance expressed their desire to partner with us. Authors with great teaching accepted our invitation to join the Blogs section. A writer from Bulgaria was even producing contents for Evangelical Focus live during the conference.
In a media context in which we depend so much on screens and virtual contents, building personal relationships and engage in face-to-face dialogues is more important than ever. Although we love technologies and use them all the time, we also know that God’s mission is done through and for real people.
We only can thank God for using all of you who are part of Evangelical Focus. Our readers (+25,000 hits / month) and the 102 authors who have already contributed with at least one article since this website was launched in January 2015. May all of this work be a tool for God’s mission and His Church.