A weekend for volunteers: Communicating the gospel through music

A weekend for volunteers: Communicating the gospel through music

The air hums with energy and activity. In the sports hall there is a Sunday school workshop, around the corner a group kneels while practicing CPR on dolls for a first aid course, and a guitar group has moved out into the spring sunshine.

The 1250 participants attending the Volunteers’ weekend are engaged in a variety of workshops, seminars and board meetings. Every nook and cranny are being used by a diverse group of dedicated volunteers.

But the major theme this weekend is communication through media, especially music.

Jermund Pedersen (left) has been a passionate musician for many years and Johannes Schmechel (right) is BCC Media's business manager.
Jermund Pedersen (left) has been a passionate musician for many years and Johannes Schmechel (right) is BCC Media’s business manager.

The importance of music in edification

Jermund Pedersen is Norwegian and lives in the USA. He is among those with editorial responsibility for music in the church and has traveled a long way to be here this weekend.

“We have often squeezed in working sessions during a conference, but people are not always in a working mode. This is something completely different. Everyone is interested in getting something accomplished, so it’s very effective to work together.”

The aim of the session he organized is to support and encourage the musicians to channel their talents in the same spiritual direction as the church meetings.

That’s why Jermund and his coworkers have invited several hundred music directors and church leaders from all over Western Europe to come to Brunstad this weekend.

“Our songbook is important where it concerns mission work,” said Kåre J. Smith, who also attended the session. It lays close to Smith’s heart that music be given the space it needs. Not everyone understands the Christian gospel when it is preached, but songs touch people.

“When someone sings who is not just talented, but also gripped by God’s spirit, it affects all of us,” said Smith in his message to the seminar participants.

The songbook Ways of the Lord contains songs dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. It requires great creativity to convey the deep content of the songs in a form that also shows respect.

“As a leader it can be easy to hold back a little and say ‘I don’t know anything about music’. The idea here is to establish a good collaboration so that we can better use music to convey spiritual themes and messages,” said Jermund.

It has been a long journey with a time difference, a tight schedule and little sleep, but Jermund is satisfied:

“It is a boost to see how prepared people are to contribute. I think we will see a clear impact from this weekend.”

Jermund Pedersen

Preparing decorative elements for the Pentecostal conference

In a year, BCC Event organizes nine conferences and four youth camps at Oslofjord. This is resource-intensive work, and the local churches rotate responsibility. This weekend BCC Østfold has participated with over 60 people planning the next conference – the Pentecost conference.

Tirill Leisterud Ådalen is one of those who have spent the days finishing the decorative arrangements that will be used during the conference.

“I find it inspiring to be involved. Here we meet more people from the same field, and we can share ideas and interests even across local churches. The weekend has given me a lot of motivation and ownership of the project going forward.”

Tirill Leisterud Ådalen

Received help from the Red Cross

When many people gather, a medical team is needed. In the summer period alone, there are 200 shifts distributed among a resource group of 80 volunteer first aid workers in BCC.

“We have sometimes had to use the Red Cross, but now that we have better organized volunteers, we can hopefully take on the task ourselves and avoid burdening those who have many other important tasks in the community,” says Erik Nilsen, who is responsible for HSE at BCC Event. He adds that they have a good cooperation with the Red Cross in Sandefjord.

One person who really appreciates the solid volunteer framework is Cathrine Gjøsund, who was one of 10 people who organized the course for medics and security guards:

“We want everyone at conferences to have a fantastic experience and our mission is to ensure health and safety preparedness. We have carried out interactive exercises in the hall to practice how to work together if we have, for example, a serious health emergency or an emergency evacuation.”

Volunteering is of high value and a priority for her:

“It warms my heart when I think about what my family and I have experienced at Brunstad. Now I can give something back.”

Cathrine Gjøsund

Facts about the volunteers’ weekend

  • Brings together key bodies and organizations to work in a focused way on their projects, deliverables and objectives
  • 26 units of the BCC Federation involved
  • 70 meetings, seminars and workshops
  • 1250 participants