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Media Academy in Bulgaria inspires youth to serve the Church

Media Academy in Bulgaria inspires youth to serve the Church

80 young people gathered for a long weekend on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast to better learn how to improve the use of their communication skills in order to reach people with the good news of salvation.

May 09, 2019 | Sofia, Bulgaria. | CD-EUDNews Ivalina Ilieva.

On May 3-6, the Bulgarian Seventh-day Adventist Church (Adventists) organized a Media Academy to learn how to improve the use of communication skills in order to reach people with the good news of salvation. More than 80 participants attended the meeting, hosted in Hotel Detelina in Golden Sands, Varna, on the Black Sea Coast.
The Media Academy was held under the motto “Let Us Do Something New!”

Participants with distinct interest in communications met to learn how to use their God-given talents; a majority of them were young. Addressing the audience, Corrado Cozzi, Adventist Inter-European Region (EUD) Communication Director, remarked that the audience looked to him like a youth camp. “This is surely the best investment for the Church: to have young people involved in Evangelism through media,” said Cozzi. 

The idea of the organizers was to combine lectures, workshops and practical project development. In the effort to motivate the participants, Peter Kusev, Bulgarian Communication Director, invited outstanding international speakers like Victor Hulbert, Adventist Trans-European Region Communication Director; Pedro Torres, Adventists Franco-Belgian Union Communication Director; and Wolfgang Schick, Vice-President of Stimme-der-Hoffnung Media Center in Germany. 

They talked to the group about the role of media in the Church’s outreach activities, how to get a local church event into the news, how to avoid the traps of the fake news, and how ordinary lay-people and volunteers may become full-time media employees.

The very first evening, the participants were challenged by Corrado Cozzi to decide who they want to be – journalists or witnesses. Journalists report other people’s stories which they have never seen for themselves. Witnesses talk about their own experiences as the Gospel’s mission demands. 

The highest point of interest for the participants was linked to workshop topics like “Smartphone vs. Hollywood”; “Blog & Vlog”; “Journalistic Writing”; “How to become successful leaders”; “Artful writing of text for an article, documentary and movie” and “How to improve the image of the Church in the society.”

One of the ideas that emerged at this Media Academy was to organize an outreach event through exhibition of texts, with people of literature and art as a target group. Some of the young people even produced the first short clips on values and presented them at the closing of the event.

“The engagement in the workshops and projects was impressive.  It bodes well for Mission for Bulgarian-speaking people, both in the country and the wider diaspora,” observed Victor Hulbert. 

“The dedication to the task that could be felt during the Media Academy was outstanding. I compliment the Bulgarian Union for the very good organization and their efforts to include young people in the work of the church, for the benefit of all,” shared Wolfgang Schick.  

“Seen so many young people engaged and willing to serve God and His church has encouraged me to continue in my ministry with even more enthusiasm. The church in Bulgaria has a brilliant future and, by God’s grace, the preaching of the gospel will reach the masses in a few years,” declared Pedro Torres. 

“As always, I was impressed by the creativity and constant improvement of the talents and abilities of the communication, and other, departments involved in this meeting in Bulgaria,” said Elsa Cozzi, EUD Children’s Ministries director, who was present at the Media Academy to support the children-oriented projects. She continued, “The Children’s project that has been put in place will be a great blessing for all children who have the opportunity to watch and be part of it.” 

Some recommendations came from the young participants to implement in the role of this Media Academy. Among them, one that caught the attention of all was to include retired people as a viewer target group on YouTube. However, the main recommendation was to dedicate more time to practical implementations of the group ideas as their hands were itching to get right to work!
A special NGO was established at the Media Academy aiming to reach people through media. It was called PIN-media, abbreviation from Bulgarian “We do interesting things”.

 “This Media Academy was an inspiration to me,” affirmed Iskra Tomanova, co-organiser of the Media Academy. “To see a very small but committed team of church employees generate such a high level of commitment, dedication and passion from a mixture of youth and volunteer professionals makes me wonder how many times this could be mirrored across Europe” affirmed Victor Hulbert.

With an army of young people willing to share their faith in contemporary ways through social media while trusting in God as the Helper at their side, both the present and the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bulgaria looms bright; this was the general conclusion of the organisers. 

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