Media Communicators

2019 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 is 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.

 

NETWORK SPEAKERS

Fred W. Beuttler received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 1995. Prior to coming to Graham in June 2015, he was director of general education and taught history at Carroll University in Wisconsin. From 2005 to 2010, he was the deputy historian of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and from 1998 to 2005 he was the associate university historian of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 

 

Gareth Russell graduated from Strathclyde University (Glasgow) before becoming the label manager for Authentic Media. Then, he and his wife moved to India, where he took on the role of commercial director for STL OM Books India, overseeing a retail and distribution network. After his return to the UK, he became managing director of Authentic Media, a publishing and music company based in Milton Keynes. Gareth was appointed vice president for the UK and Europe for Barna Group in 2015. He has become an expert in communications, particularly focusing on the UK church and stories that can equip leaders to understand the times and know what to do. Gareth and his wife Andi have been married for 11 years and live in Stony Stratford. Gareth's passion is to help individuals and organisations tell their story, to equip leaders, and to see genuine change through great communications

 

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 is doing doctoral research on the relationship between the biblical prophets and today’s media and regularly lectures at Gimlekollen School of Journalism and Communications, Norway, and the Norwegian School of Theology. 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 PROGRAMME

DAY 1

Under the Skin: Going Beneath the Surface of Media Messages to Discover Aspects of Worldview
Tony Watkins

Western culture is saturated with media messages. From tweets to vlogs to movies, an immense number of stories inundate us. All media production, like everything else humans do, reflects both the image of God and our fallenness, and every story we tell expresses something of our worldview. If we are to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves, we need to become like the men of Issachar who “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Part of that means that we must not only pay attention to the surface level of media messages, but we must go deeper to discover how worldviews are being expressed. This workshop will introduce practical worldview analysis of media (especially film) and consider the implications for both discipleship and evangelism.

 

The Bible and Technology: Navigating Change in the Digital Age
Fred Beuttler

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us,” wrote media analyst and Christian Marshall McLuhan at the dawn of the digital age. Twenty-five hundred years earlier, Socrates reflected on the shift from an oral to a written culture, noting how the technology of writing led to a loss of individual memory. The technology of printing similarly transformed human thought, providing a necessary pre-condition for the Reformation, encouraging rational and logical argument, and favoring propositional truth over narratives and stories. We are now living through a similar age of technologically-driven change, as digital tools transform our lives. What will be the impact of digital technology on biblical Christianity? Are our thoughts the same when we read a manuscript roll, a printed book, or a digital screen? What about when we listen to an audio “book”? This talk will compare several transformative periods of technological revolution, seeking to discern patterns of change and assess strategies of response. How should we shape our message in this new digital age?


DAY 2

Identifying and Responding to Naturalism in Popular Culture: The Big Bang Theory as a Case Study
Margunn Serigstad Dahle

Many of the background beliefs that our secular culture presses on us about Christianity make it seem implausible. Such assumptions “are not presented to us explicitly by argument, [but] absorbed through the stories and themes of entertainment and social media” (Tim Keller). Therefore, a key task for contemporary Christian apologists is to uncover and challenge secular premises, values, and beliefs in popular culture. In this session, we discuss how to identify and respond to naturalism in popular culture with the highly popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory as a case study.

 
Session to be announced

 


 

DAY 3

How to Tell Our Story in a Post-Truth World
Gareth Russell

We live in uncertain times.  In a culture of rolling news cycles, click bait, and fake news, there is deep distrust of institutions and the messages they present.  However, the story of the church is more important than ever.  In a post-modern, post-Christian, post-truth world, the story of the church can provide hope, meaning, and transformation.  This session will explore how the church can engage with media to tell its story to people across the world in relevant, captivating ways.

 

Creating Scientific Documentary Movies to Challenge Worldview Presuppositions
Speaker to be announced

When watching TV or seeing documentaries in schools, the expressed worldview is usually agnostic naturalism. This dominance has been creating a social climate that naturalism is the default worldview, while theism is unscientific and old-fashioned. Hence, we decided to produce documentaries which are more explicit about worldview assumptions and show that scientific data can be interpreted within different worldview frameworks, thereby opening space for discussion. In this talk, we will discuss the vision, the process of production, and the outcomes of making scientific documentaries and how they could inspire your media projects.


DAY 4

Session to be announced
 

Group Discussion
Lars Dahle and Margunn Serigstad Dahle

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 leaarned from the week. 

 

 

 

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