2023 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 a highly in-demand speaker, writer, and broadcaster. Based in the UK, he's the director of the Solas, an evangelism and training ministry. Andy is the author of several books including "The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (or: The Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments)… Read more
Charlie Catlett is a computer scientist who has focused his research for nearly 40 years in the development of the Internet and WorldWideWeb, computer security, and high-performance computing, holding scientific leadership positions at multiple universities and national laboratories. During the… Read more
Lars Dahle is a theologian, educator, preacher, and apologist. Having a long previous experience in various academic leadership roles, he now works as Associate Professor in Theology (with special emphasis on Apologetics, Missiology, and Media Theology) at … 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
Julia Garschagen is a theologian and serves as the director of the Pontes Institut for Science, Culture and Faith in the German-speaking region. She speaks at universities and in business contexts across Europe and loves to be in dialogue about a faith that is both intellectually credible and… Read more
Stefan Gustavsson is a member of the European Leadership Forum Steering Committee. He is the director for Apologia – Centre for Christian Apologetics and makes his home in Stockholm. He was the founding general secretary for 16 years of the Swedish Evangelical Alliance. Stefan travels widely… Read more
Ross Hendry serves as CEO of CARE since November 2021. Prior to joining the team, he was the CEO of Spurgeon’s, one of the UK’s largest children’s charities. He has also served as Deputy CEO at the office for the Children’s Commissioner in England and as Head of Public Policy at Action for… Read more
Espen Ottosen has worked as the information director for Norwegian Lutheran Mission since 2003. In that capacity, he has frequently appeared in debates on national television and radio. Also he has written essays and articles in a wide range of Norwegian newspapers and publications. For many… Read more
Sunday, 21 May
Today’s public square is largely a digital one, so it’s vital that Christians, ministries, and Churches think creatively and clearly about how to engage the world of media, social media, and other digital spaces. Andy Bannister, Director of Solas, a UK based evangelism ministry that specialises in digital content creation, will help us explore how we engage hearts, minds, and souls through the digital realm. How can we create content that will be read widely and shared? Do some things work better in digital spaces and others less effectively? What are the positives and what are the pitfalls of digital spaces? Does digital evangelism need huge budgets, or can one do a lot with a little? We’ll explore all this and more in this interactive session.
How do we reach the young generation with the Gospel where they are—in the digital world? Julia co-leads the largest national evangelistic youth-outreach in Germany that reached half a million people through a YouTube-format in 2020, has 10K follower on Instagram, and a wide TikTok reach. In this session, she will share experiences, principles, and ideas for how to effectively engage and communicate with youth.
Monday, 22 May
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 deep 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.
Through Damaris Norway and NLA University College we are strategically placed at the heart of a growing apologetic ministry in Norway, where online presence has been a significant part. Central in this growth has been the annual national “Veritas Conference” and the many strategic initiatives that have sprung from it. This seminar will focus on the wider picture of how this ministry has developed, with a special focus on the online dimensions. The seminar will provide reflections on what we can learn from this experience about developing strategic online ministries.
Tuesday, 23 May
With over 20 years working in Government, NGOs, and frontline politics Ross will share reflections on how the news media is perceived to work (for good and bad) from the perspective of public affairs, and consider what might be the Christian’s appropriate faithful response, whether politician, journalist, or public square influencer. The aim will be to better understand a different perspective on the news media and a practical discussion about how to engage positively and effectively, and get the most out of those working in politics and the wider public square.
There is an urgent need for faithful Christian presence in mainstream media. How to be salt and light through the writing of opinion pieces? In this session, Stefan Gustavsson and Espen Ottosen will share from their wide experience as evangelical opinion writers in Sweden and Norway, respectively. Based on case studies from their opinion pieces on key Gospel and cultural issues in different newspapers, we will get fascinating insights into the actual writing process. Writing in a clear, winsome, and persuasive way is both a craft and an art. This includes such key elements as understanding the context (responding or agenda-setting?), analyzing the issues (what and why?), developing the idea (the argument), grasping the format (the structure), and communicating to the audience (target group(s)). The session will be in a conversation format, including brief presentations and an open discussion.
Wednesday, 24 May
Mathematicians and computer scientists have developed and studied Artificial Intelligence (AI) for many decades. In 1950 Alan Turing, considered one of the fathers of computer science, proposed the "imitation game" (now called the Turing Test) to assess a computer's ability to interact in a fashion indistinguishable from a human. We discuss how AI systems work (without formulae or buzzwords), what we might expect in the coming decade, and how AI systems are playing an increasingly central role in culture and society, including our interactions with media and entertainment.