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Media Communicators

2020 European Media Communicators Network

In today's world, journalism, film, television, and the Internet 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 and relevance 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.

Applicants should be current or potential leaders who are gifted communicators in the media (in such creative fields as journalism, film, TV or Internet), 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.

Prior preparation will be set for all applicants.

 

NETWORK LEADERS

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 Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communication (NLA Kristiansand), where he has lectured in worldviews, ethics, and apologetics since 1991. Lars wrote his PhD on Acts 17:16-34. It is entitled An Apologetic Model Then and Now? (Open University, UK). Since 2013, he is also the Lausanne Catalyst for Media Engagement. Lars has written several academic and popular articles on apologetics, media engagement and missiology and was a co-editor of The Lausanne Movement: A Range of Perspectives (Oxford: Regnum, 2014). He is also the Founding Editor of the peer-reviewed Nordic apologetic journal Theofilos. In addition, Lars co-leads the European Leadership Forum Media Communicators Network with his wife, Margunn. Follow Lars on his blog Media Messages Matter or on his Twitter account @LarsDahle.

 

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 years Programme Director for the Communication and Worldviews Bachelor Program, which is designed to equip evangelical communicators and apologists in various fields for the contemporary Western cultural context. Especially connected to her Damaris involvement, she is a regular lecturer, speaker and writer in various contexts in Norway and beyond. She was a co-editor of The Lausanne Movement: A Range of Perspectives (Oxford: Regnum, 2014). Margunn formerly served as Chairman of Lunde Publishing House.

 

Tony Watkins is a speaker and writer on media and the Bible. He works alongside several organisations including Damaris Norway and the Lausanne Media Engagement Network (as Network Co-ordinator). He teaches at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communications, Norway, and the Norwegian School of Theology. He is doing doctoral research in the relationship between the biblical prophets and today’s media. Tony has written, or co-written, several books including Focus: The Art and Soul of Cinema and Dark Matter: A Thinking Fan’s Guide to Philip Pullman. Tony and his family are involved in Above Bar Church, Southampton, where he is part of the leadership team.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Andy Bannister is the Director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity in Scotland and an Adjunct Speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Andy holds a PhD in Islamic studies and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology. Andy is the author of An Oral-Formulaic Study of the Qur’an, and his latest book, The Atheist Who Didn’t Exist (or: The Terrible Consequences of Really Bad Arguments), is a humorous engagement with the New Atheism. When not traveling, speaking, or writing, Andy is a keen hiker, mountain climber, and photographer. He is married to Astrid; they have two children, Caitriona and Christopher. See more at andybannister.net.

 

Anne Solfrid Brennhovd is the editor of the Norwegian website SnakkOmTro.no (Talk About Faith) and a speaker and writer for Damaris Norway. She has been with the Damaris Norway team since 2001, and she serves as a part-time teacher at Fjelltun Bible School in Stavanger. SnakkOmTro.no is a website serving a wide range of teachers, youth leaders, pastors, parents and young people, providing resources for engaging in popular culture and apologetics. 

 

René Breuel is the lead pastor of Hopera, a church in Rome, Italy, which started in 2012 and is currently planting its second daughter church. He has an MDiv from Regent College, Canada; an MSt in Creative Writing from Oxford University; and is the author of The Paradox of Happiness. He is married to Sarah and is the father of two energetic boys.

 

 

Michael Longinow is a senior faculty member in Biola University’s Department of Media, Journalism and Public Relations. He earned a BA in political science at Wheaton College (IL), an MS in news-editorial journalism at the University of Illinois  (Champaign-Urbana), and a PhD in educational policy studies at the University of Kentucky. He has contributed chapters to numerous anthologies on the history of evangelical Christianity and the intersection of media, faith and culture. Longinow is active in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and was a founding adviser member of the Advisers of Christian Collegiate Media (ACCM). He is a frequent workshop presenter and panelist at national conventions of the Evangelical Press Association, Associated Collegiate Press, and College Media Advisers (CMA/ACP). Longinow has three grown children and two grandchildren. He and his wife Robin are active in Chino Valley Community Church in Chino Hills, CA. They live in Yorba Linda.

 

Keith Ogorek, president of the Author Learning Center, brings a unique perspective to communications, having worked simultaneously in ministry and the marketplace for virtually his whole career. Using his experience as a marketing and communications professional for banks, as an ad agency creative director, and at the world’s leading self-publishing company, he has worked with a number of ministries to vastly improve their communication and development efforts by crafting a message that is compelling, differentiating, and true. In addition, he has cultivated unique opportunities for independent authors to have their work pitched to Hollywood. Along with pursuing excellence in the marketplace, Keith is passionate about discipleship and has led multiple men’s groups through a two-year discipleship process at his local church. His book, A Clear View, which addresses how a person’s worldview is formed, is now used in select high schools and at a Biblical Institute in Italy. When his schedule allows, Keith speaks at conferences on the topic of marketing communications for ministries, as well as at men’s retreats and family camps.

 

Pasi Turunen, theologian (M.Th), author, blogger, and apologist, has been working as a Christian radio broadcaster for 25 years. He studied theology at Helsinki University, where his master’s thesis dealt with Jewish views on resurrection in the intertestamental Jewish literature. Turunen is a well-known Bible teacher and is often invited to speak to various apologetic seminars in Finland. He has written number of books dealing with subjects such as cult evangelism, same-sex marriage, inerrancy of the Bible, and apologetics. He has experience with Christian television and currently hosts a weekly radio program that analyzes current events and changing culture in light of the Christian worldview and the Scriptures. Turunen has also appeared on secular national television and radio programs in Finland defending Christian faith and views on contemporary issues. He is the current president of the Patmos Foundation for World Missions, an evangelical missions and relief organization bringing humanitarian aid and the Gospel of Christ to 25 nations across the world. The Patmos Foundation has an extensive media ministry in Finland and was the first Finnish Christian organization to start broadcasting Christian programs on commercial radio stations in 1985. Pasi is married to Parvin, who was born in the Middle East and in 1984 was supernaturally led to Finland to find Jesus and be saved.

 

NETWORK PROGRAMME

DAY 1

Scripts for Life

Margunn Dahle and Anne Solfrid Brennhovd

The narratives that we encounter in films express a vision for life, sometimes explicitly and sometimes in more subtle ways. These stories grab our imagination and shape the ways in which we think, live, and search for hope. But Christians need to see themselves as part of God’s story, not the stories that we pick up from films. In this session we will focus on helpful ways to watch and understand films as Christians, and how we can relate to their stories in different ways in our families, youth groups, Bible study groups, in preaching and other contexts. Throughout the session, we will give examples from our new book on how to use film on the church arena.

 

Cross-Cultural Encounter and the Power of the Other

Michael Longinow

We live in a world of walls and barriers. The international refugee crisis and the responses of nations to the newcomers at their borders has raised fears, rage, and debate about the importance of welcoming people into our midst. This session draws lessons about cross-cultural encounter from a project at a university in Southern California in which students built relationships of trust with people on the margins of life and who have felt alienated because they are from areas of the world where conflict and violence are taking place.


DAY 2

The Second Gutenberg Effect: Impacting the World Through Story

Keith Ogorek

Technology has radically changed the world for authors and film makers and created new opportunities for Christians to use books, shows and movies to capture the imagination of people and open doors for conversations about the most important issues of life. In this seminar, Keith Ogorek will draw from his years of working in publishing and connecting independent authors to Hollywood to show how there has never been a better time to tell meaningful stories through publishing and video. He will walk through the five essential element of every great story and discuss the new ways content creators are connecting with audiences. 

 

Screenwriting Principles for Effective Storytelling

René Breuel

Jesus used parables to teach, inspire, and reach multitudes. What stories are we telling today? This workshop will explore principles from screenwriting and modern fiction that help stories debate ideas through dramatic conflict. Characters’ desires and flaws embody values that struggle in the course of a story until broken alternatives are exposed and a better vision for life triumphs. This workshop will be relevant for those working in film, creative writing, apologetics, and preaching that uses storytelling.


DAY 3

The Art and Science of Communication

Andy Bannister

The reality is that one can be a great scholar and a poor communicator and have little impact; or one can be an average scholar and a great communicator and have much greater impact! In this session, we’ll help academics learn some of the tools of communication and persuasion that apologists and evangelists use to engage audiences with their ideas—and help you learn how not just to communicate your ideas better, but how to communicate the gospel into the academy with maximum impact.

 

Panel Discussion

Tony Watkins, Pasi Turunen, & Anne Solfrid Brennhovd (with Lars Dahle as moderator)

The panel discussion will be a chance for the panelists to talk about their roles, practices and strategies, and to answer questions from the network participants.


DAY 4

Ministry and Mission in a Media World

Tony Watkins

Media technologies and media communication are transforming western culture, and the rate of change continues to be dizzying. They pervade every aspect of life; the world has become ‘mediatized’. This presents huge challenges and opportunities for both discipling Christians and for reaching those who are not Christians. How can we navigate the many diverse perspectives demanding our attention within both mainstream and social media, and stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ? How can we bear witness to Jesus in a mediatized world so that others may see the plausibility, relevance, and truth of that message? This session steps back to take a broad look at the implications of being a missional church in a mediatized world and explores how we might wisely and faithfully interact with the culture.

 

Group Discussion      

Lars Dahle, Margunn Serigstad Dahle and Tony Watkins

In the final session of the Network, participants will be able to share their work, discuss the challenges they face, and plan to implement the lessons learned from the week.

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