Youth Camp, live podcasts, and multi-generational teamwork

Nearly 4,000 youth are gathered for Summer Camp here at Brunstad, with Christianity in focus. A multi-generational team effort is key for success in conveying the gospel to the young attendees in a simple, clear, and inspirational way.

By Johanne Reiersrud – Photos by Adelle Cheetham

A round stage with a simulated podcast studio and LED-screens of the highest resolution meet the nearly 4,000 young people as they begin to fill up the main hall at Brunstad this evening. Their day has been full of many different activities, fellowship, and plenty of Norwegian summer sunshine. Today’s evening event is about to begin: a live podcast of “From Kåre”. Many of the youth listen to this podcast, usually a 5-10-minute morning sending, on a daily basis.

With the exception of holidays, more than 8,000 BCC members from around the whole world listen to «From Kåre». The podcast is translated to 15 languages. Even though all generations are represented among listeners, the target audience is young people who want live as disciples of Jesus.

The gospel is shared in a way that is easy to understand

The evening’s message is shared using modern tools and conversations onstage. The main goal is the same as the podcast: to give young people in the hall a desire to follow Jesus and to invest time and energy in their  daily life of faith.

The program leader is Bernt Aksel Larsen, who also has been a driving force behind the podcast project. He interviews Kåre J. Smith onstage, and their conversation is punctuated by short films and songs which illustrate different points.

Musicians and a choir from Bergen contribute with live musical numbers during the sending. The same team produces songs for the daily podcast sending, which provide an excellent support for the podcast’s messages. Photo: BCC

Technology is a tool needed to reach the target group

Backstage and around the hall are nearly 30 employees and volunteers who will contribute to the evening’s event, in addition to about 20 choir and orchestra members. The team consists of capable technicians, creative consultant, producer, and other workers with media skills. Amongst them is Hans Georg Bertelsen.

«For me, the biggest motivation is without a doubt being able to share this message through use of films, animation, music, light and images. Technology is an important tool we need to reach our target audience, which is many thousands of young people.»

He explains that the team has been planning and preparing for about three months, and that a crucial part of bringing out the best for the youth in the hall has been a multi-generational team effort.

Teamwork between young and older gives results

“During the planning phase, Kåre Smith and Bernt Aksel Larsen contributed with content and thoughts around hat a relevant message could be. Those of us with directing and TV-transmission experience used our creative skills to find ways to bring that content to life in a practical sense. This is the sixth project of its type we have had together, and it is a team effort which works very well,» says Hans Georg Bertelsen.

Sound checks earlier in the day: a media team of more than 26 people work in preparation for the evening. Photo:BCC 

Interaction with the audience in the hall

In the weeks before the summer camp, the team used social media to engage the target audience, and many youth had sent questions to Kåre Smith which were then answered live. During the course of the evening, several winners were also drawn from those who had sent answers in an online competition.

Good advice and inspiration roll continually from the duo onstage. They also reminisce with funny stories from earlier times at Brunstad, which is met with loud laughter and enthusiasm from the young people in the hall.

Young camp participants follow along closely with good advice, inspiration, and stories from onstage. Photo: BCC

Music, humor, and stories are part of the method

Hans Georg Bertelsen tells that the team behind this has a definite goal to inspire young people to live an active Christian life, but that young people are better met with shorter sessions and a variety of elements.

«For this reason, we have a lot of breaks — elements of humor, good stories, and music, among other things. Using humor and joy is a big bonus,» he says, and continues enthusiastically:

“In the introduction, we heard that godly fear and well-being are two sides of the same coin. And I think many experienced that tonight. The humor and stories, combined with a god-fearing life, made the evening an inspiration and encouragement for we young people to live a whole and true disciple life.”

A youth choir from Oslo brought the evening to its close. Photo: BCC

Nearly 300 young people were along for the grand finale. Photo: BCC