A leader with faith in the future
Kåre J. Smith is both an inspiration and a driving force behind many of the rejuvenating initiatives that have been put into effect since the 1990s. And at the age of 74, he uses new, modern tools in his preaching.
Photos by Eirik Tombre / BCC
This interview was first published in BCC´s annual report for 2018. Read the annual report here.
Kåre J. Smith has had a hectic year in 2018. He lives in the United States and travels all over the world to speak to those who want to hear the message that leads to godliness. At BCC’s international conferences at Brunstad, he speaks the word of God at numerous gatherings throughout the whole year. And his commitment to children and youth is still evident in most of what he does.
Using new technology to preach the gospel
In 2018 alone, Smith contributed to 211 episodes of the podcast “From Kåre.” The podcast has about 8,000 daily listeners and is translated to 16 languages. Each episode is around 10 minutes long and contains inspiring conversations about various topics and stories from week to week.
“Many valuable broadcasts have become possible because in development if technology. We make use of everything that can assist with the advancement of the gospel,” says the elderly man.
Kåre J. Smith will soon turn 75. He may at times thunder from the podium, but when we meet face-to-face, we see the gentle and warm side, and a relaxed and smiling person. He believes we have only seen the beginning of what digital platforms and tools will mean for the church going forward.
“I am not getting any younger, and constantly traveling here and there is becoming more difficult. But preaching the gospel about Jesus to people still burns as strongly in me. So what I want to achieve in the ministry of the Word in the years to come will most likely require me to use BrunstadTV and other digital tools more and more to reach those who want to hear.”
Went in for using TV-broadcasting technology 20 years ago
Over the past 10 years, BCC has invested millions in the development of its TV channel and other web platforms. Its vision was to first create a technically competent production environment and quality content for the church’s own members in Norway and elsewhere around the world. When production and content quality have reached sufficient levels, and when the time is right, it will be made available to everyone interested in the Christian message.
“I wanted us to start with program production at BrunstadTV so that children could have a positive alternative to much of the bad content that exists on many other channels,” says Smith.
“I think it will be developed further, and slowly but surely we’ll also have several programs that might be of interest to both children and youth both in and outside of BCC.”
When asked what he thinks is most interesting to share with those who have not yet heard of BCC, he answers quickly:
“I believe it’s the literature we have from Johan Oscar Smith, his letters and the articles he has written for the Hidden Treasures periodical will be very interesting to read for many more than those who are members of the congregation today. So, I send the challenge over to those working on this in BCC. We need to develop and improve so that more people can read, hear, and see the preaching that leads to a life of godliness.”
Love is central
“In our preaching, the message of love is central, and it is a positive force in family life. We see that what the Bible calls sin creates sorrow and pain, and love of many becomes cold both in families and in everyday life. The message Jesus brought helps us show our spouse goodness and warmth, so that love can continue to grow and develop. In addition, we must be kind and accommodating towards children and young people who are growing up. This is true Christianity,” says Smith with emphasis.
He continues to explain how the Holy Spirit works in us to will and to do what is good. When the Spirit is allowed to lead us, we also show love in difficult times; we are good to everyone, and both to our own and others’ children.
“If we are not in constant renewal in our lives and in the church, we fall into habits and indifference that is not worthy of God’s kingdom”
A driving force in the work for children and youth
Another issue that has characterized Kåre J. Smith’s dedication is the commitment to create positive options for children and youth. He has been a driving force for this right since the mid-1990s. Because Smith has prioritized working with children, decades have been spent developing child and youth ministries in most of the local churches around the world. At conferences BCC has organized children’s days with games and activities alongside faith-building meetings. Many members have good childhood memories of this.
Since 2015, BCC has also held its own youth camps, which has rejuvenated the international youth work.
“If we are not in constant renewal in our lives and in the church, we fall into habits and indifference that is not worthy of God’s kingdom. I believe that renewal is in the Holy Spirit. It is inventive, and when we have a love for those we serve, we get ideas,” says Smith. He continues,
“For me as an older man, I am delighted to see the joy and enthusiasm of the youth and I rejoice in my heart when I see young people being gripped of Jesus’ life. That is why we do all of this. We want individuals to come in contact with Jesus.”
From the Easter Camp for youth. Here young people from around the world are offered activities. preaches of faith and fellowship in a christian environment. Photo: BCC
Honesty and righteousness
It is without a doubt that Kåre J. Smith has experienced strong criticism in the media for several years. We asked him if this has affected his involvement regarding work in the church.
“Throughout my whole life I have emphasized being fair and honest, and I have worked hard to earn my own money,” says Smith. “I don’t care much about getting criticism. I have become quite used to it, and I can endure a lot. However, when the media and other sources want to criminalize us, then I can get exasperated or even quite upset,” he says firmly.
Smith has also been a passionate about fundraising, and has dared to say out loud what many may ignore: “You can’t save the world if you’re broke!”
“As Christians we cannot wait for the government to solve our finances, which would limit our work anyway. That is why we have taken the initiative ourselves, and members have shown a tremendous commitment over many years. They know what we stand for and they see what the money that BCC collects is used for. We have already been able to do a lot of good through this, especially for children and young people and to provide for them in the future.”