How can BCC’s message and film production reach countries with low purchasing power and unreliable internet access? And how can we make creative content that’s relevant for other cultures? BrunstadTV has been on a research trip to several African countries.

By Ulrikke Andresen – Photo by BCC, BrunstadTV

BCC has fellow believers in eight African countries. There are 17 local churches with a total of around 1250 members. There are several places in Africa where they arrange Christian meetings, local children and youth activities, and youth Bible studies.

Numerous local African churches share BCC’s beliefs, and many have a strong desire to attend the international conferences here in Norway. However, due to poor economy and problems with getting visas, this is often difficult to achieve.

Stephanopark Conference Center in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. There are several conferences here each year which believers from many parts of the continent attend. Photo: BCC

Internet TV is an important tool for mission work

Missionary tools online and through the church’s TV channel are important platforms for reaching all those who wish to hear the Christian message. With Internet streaming, events can be broadcast after they take place, mainly through the BrunstadTV website. Edifying content is also published on Active Christianity, both on the website and social media.

Among the local South African churches there has been a strong commitment in finding ways of making it possible to access BrunstadTV across Africa. In addition, the WEW Foundation and other organizations have helped with financing through their own projects, providing far more access to streaming.

SEE ALSO: Mission work in BCC Africa

During the trip our representatives gained valuable insight into how to adapt content to African everyday life. Photo: BCC
A workshop was held with young people and adults, where both content and techniques were discussed. Photo: BCC

Collaboration between BrunstadTV and local enthusiasts, and a non-profit foundation

In the fall of 2019 BrunstadTV was invited to closer collaboration with those who are working on this project, and during the ensuing trip our representatives gained valuable insight in how both production content and methodology can be adapted to African situations and everyday life.

“We have great faith in a close collaboration between BCC in Norway, which is the content producer for the mission work, and for us here in Africa. But in order to understand the challenges and needs we face, it is imperative you come to the continent and see with your own eyes how people live and what opportunities they have,” says Tielman Slabbert from South Africa. He has done mission work for many years in other parts of Africa.

Albert Boek, department head at BrunstadTV and Tielman Slabbert, a traveling companion on part of BCC Media’s research trip. Photo: BCC

Saving mobile data to watch BrunstadTV

In many African countries, cellular data is expensive, and therefore TV-streaming is no everyday expense. The youth in Cameroon save data every month, and plan which programs they want to watch on BrunstadTV:

“This shows the commitment and excitement the youth have to hear the message being preached,” says Albert Boek, department head at BrunstadTV.

He also says they will adapt their systems better for members.

“It’s important the distribution is not so advanced that it can’t reach everyone. We will do what we can to ensure that the youth here can access content as cheaply and easily as possible. This is also the reason why the WEW foundation, among others, invests here.”

In 2017, a team of technicians began sending communications equipment to several local churches on the African continent. Photo: BCC

Technology opening new doors

The South African churches have been watching BCC conferences in Norway via satellite-TV since 2000, and in 2013 BCC Vanderbijlpark began to use BrunstadTV even more actively in the local community, for edification and help in daily Christian living.

In 2017, Tielman Slabbert, together with a team of technicians, began sending communications equipment to several other churches on the continent. Antennas, pre-installed receivers, TVs, and speakers were sent to churches in five different countries. At the same time, smart solutions were devised that ensured Internet access even in the most remote areas.

This access to web streaming has created other possibilities. In addition to joint conferences several times a year, online meetings are now held every week between several churches. Participants sit in different countries and attend the same meeting.

From one of the meetings during a conference in South Africa. Photo: BCC

Content adapted for different situations

Milenko van der Staal, editor of the Active Christianity website, says that after the visit to Africa, they will work to tailor content to their African audience.

“There are several things we want to take with us. In addition to producing content in more languages, we want to provide greater diversity in this content, and include unique cultures and environments. BCC focuses on everyday Christianity, which occurs in practical daily situations. It’s important that everyone can recognize themselves in the situations that are being portrayed.”

The research trip should provide insight into the challenges and needs that exist, and the opportunities available to believers in Africa. Photo: BCC

The gospel is the key

“The gospel is universal and relevant for all people, regardless of the economy, place of residence, or life situations. I am humbled and impressed by all the dedication and effort made by dedicated people in various parts of Africa, so more people will get to hear this message. It is a privilege to be part of this project,” says Milenko van der Staal.

READ: Mission initiative reaching more people

Youth gathered for a faith-strengthening conference in South Africa. Photo: BCC