2021 Media Communicators Network
In today's world, journalism, movies, television, and social media dominate the way we, as an increasingly global community, understand and relate to the world and each other. If Christians wish to continue making a meaningful impact upon the world, gifted communicators who want to relate biblical Christian faith to contemporary culture through these media platforms will be greatly needed.
This Network seeks to encourage and equip such existing or emerging leaders who can speak with authenticity, relevance, and integrity from within these influential cultural arenas. It will also focus on biblical foundations and models, worldview analysis of media and popular culture, and critical reflections on creative communication in contemporary media contexts.
The ELF Media Communicators Network draws upon the strategies and the resources developed within the global Lausanne Media Engagement Network, and will seek to build friendships and facilitate networking and partnership among evangelical media communicators in Europe and beyond.
Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.
Applicants should be current or potential leaders who are gifted communicators in the media (in such creative fields as journalism, movies, television, or social media), media commentators, media critics, media teachers, or media scholars. Whatever the role, the common missional vision should be the wish to relate biblical Christian faith to contemporary media in a way that is authentic, appropriate, and relevant.
Andy Bannister is the director of Solas, an evangelism and training ministry based in Scotland. Andy holds a PhD in Islamic studies and is an adjunct professor at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto. Andy is the author of several books including An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an; The… Read more
James Cary has been writing situation comedy for BBC TV for nearly twenty years (Miranda, Bluestone 42) and BBC Radio (Think the Unthinkable, Hut 33). He has also written books including The Sacred Art of Joking and Death by Civilisation, and runs two podcasts (Sitcom Geeks, Cooper & Cary… Read more
Margunn Serigstad Dahle, the co-leader of the European Media Communicators Network, is Associate Professor at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication, NLA University College, Norway, where she has taught in the fields of communication, media and worldviews since 1991. She was for many… Read more
Paul Glader is an associate professor of journalism, media, and entrepreneurship at The King’s College in New York City, where he also directs the McCandlish Phillips Journalism Institute. He serves as executive director of The Media Project, a non-profit news platform and training program for… Read more
Luke Greenwood is British by birth, grew up in Brazil, and now lives in Wroclaw, Poland, with his wife Ania and their two children. He serves as the European Director for Steiger, a mission dedicated to reaching the Global Youth Culture for Jesus. Together with the Steiger Europe team, Luke has… Read more
Kristi Mair teaches philosophy, ethics, and apologetics at Oak Hill College in London, UK, where she also provides pastoral support for female students. She holds a degree in philosophy and theology, as well as an MA in philosophy of religion and ethics. She is currently working on her PhD in… Read more
Randy Newman is the Senior Fellow for Apologetics and Evangelism at The C. S. Lewis Institute in the Washington, DC area. He has taught at several evangelical seminaries and is currently an adjunct faculty at Reformed Theological Seminary and Patrick Henry College. After serving for over 30… Read more
Daniel Strange is director of Crosslands Forum, a centre for cultural engagement and missional innovation. Formerly he was college director and tutor in culture, religion, and public theology at Oak Hill College, London. Strange is a contributing editor for Themelios, Vice-president of The… Read more
Sunday, 16 May
In a world of lockdowns, isolations, and limited social interaction, most of us have not spent more time at home within our four walls than we have now; and yet, despite this, most of us could not feel less at home. This seminar explores the deep-seated longing for home all humanity bears, and how it is that we can creatively engage with this desire through mainstream media in a world marred by the ongoing pandemic.
We are surrounded by persuasive stories from popular culture, where happiness is portrayed as the good life. Such media stories usually emphasize pleasure, image, possessions, experiences, and personal worldview explorations. These key values reflect that consumerism, materialism, and individualism are influential idols in our contemporary Western culture. At the same time, the media stories also express real longings for true identity, real community, deep joy, and authentic freedom.
This session will explore how we may respond appropriately to these strong idols and deep longings from the perspective of a holistic biblical worldview. Such a response has significant implications for our communication and our everyday life as Christ’s disciples and witnesses. Case studies from popular media stories will be included in the session.
Monday, 17 May
The current urban population, connected by consumerism, social media, and the entertainment industry, forms the largest global youth culture ever to exist. It spans the globe, sharing the same values, listening to the same music, watching the same movies, and sharing the same posts. They do not look to the church for answers but believe it to be a dead and empty tradition of the past. But God’s heart is broken for this lost generation and we need to make the message of his love accessible to them. In this session we want to spark a discussion on how to start missional, evangelistic, and discipling movements in secularised cities, sent from the local church.
As Christians how do we get analytical and apologetic traction with our contemporary culture(s)? In this session, and using specific examples, we will outline the 'subversive fulfilment' framework for cultural engagement, spotlighting the tool of the 'magnetic points' put forward by the Dutch Reformed missiologist J.H. Bavinck.
Tuesday, 18 May
How can we effectively and powerfully use digital media as a platform for the gospel? Andy Bannister will share some key lessons that the Solas team have learnt from Short Answers, their popular series of videos tackling common questions about the Christian faith, that have been viewed, downloaded, and shared almost two million times. Andy will explain how and why the Solas team developed Short Answers, what’s worked, what’s failed, what they’d do differently if they started again from scratch — as well as some of their plans for continuing to use digital media to reach people who might otherwise not step across the door of a church.
The gospel never changes but our audiences do—in seemingly limitless ways. How to proclaim good news, so people actually hear it, has always been a challenge for God’s people. For starters, evangelism needs to be more dialogical and conversational and less confrontational and presentational. This seminar flows out of decades of evangelistic ministry and extensive research about how people are actually coming to faith today.
Wednesday, 19 May
How does Christ affect the stories we tell through the media and the way we tell them to the Church and the wider unbelieving world? Where are the boundaries? And how do we respond to those who draw the boundaries in different places? BBC Sitcom writer James Cary (Miranda, Milton Jones, Bluestone 42) explains, along with some tales of life at the front line of the secular comedy world.
Religion Unplugged is an award-winning non-profit news organization, funded by TheMediaProject.org. It serves as an online news magazine, publishing original reporting of high quality that is public service by nature and focused on religion reporting. The site also publishes some reported opinion and commentary on religion. Its lean staff of editors in New York City welcome pitches and stories on religion from contributors—young and veteran journalists—around the world. This session in the network introduces the vision of Religion Unplugged and explores some fascinating case studies.