Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) has existed in Norway for about 100 years, and is the only Norwegian faith community with international spread. Today, BCC has approximately 8,200 members belonging to 19 local churches in Norway – from Harstad in the North to Lillesand in the South. In addition, BCC is active in 57 countries on six continents of the world. BCC’s comprehensive efforts, together with members and local churches, provide children and youth with positive conditions during their formative years and arenas where members of all ages can gather around the Christian message.
All of BCC’s endeavors build on the Bible and the Christian message and must reflect our Christian purpose. BCC has no salaried ministers; the spoken word from the BCC podium is for edification of Christian faith, where love is the essence. Members have different backgrounds, family situations, educations, and life circumstances. BCC intends for each individual to live independently and make decisions based on his or her own convictions and inner strength. What members have in common is their Christian faith.
Participation in the church is voluntary. For members of BCC, its foundation of faith is the reason they wish to be a member, and many appreciate the positive and important work carried out by the organization. Every week, hundreds of volunteer hours in the local churches provide or facilitate meaningful activities for children, youth, and adults of all ages within a Christian framework. The extensive efforts of BCC and its affiliated organizations further their mutual goals for children and young people: to experience a safe and healthy childhood and youth in the church, and to be able to learn and develop abilities and interests. Narcotics and alcohol are prohibited at all events organized for children and young people. They must experience a caring and supportive environment in the church.
BCC facilitates its mission through Bible school, language learning courses, media production, cultural exchange programs, and organizational development, amongst other things. BCC hopes that members experience an interesting and meaningful church life which then imparts an interest in being considerate,
From the Board
Members of BCC have shown commitment, a sense of ownership, and generosity to the organization over the last year. Even though BCC receives a lot of income through member donations, local churches, and other contributors, it is the people themselves who represent the most valuable capital for the organization. The efforts members put forward every week, yearround, are of great importance to society, not least for the thousands of children and youth who benefit from the extensive volunteer work.
The local churches’ initiatives and fundraising drives for BCC, especially in the last 10 years, have played a crucial role in BCC’s current financial situation. The local churches have strengthened their equity while simultaneously giving large contributions to BCC’s endeavors.
Leading up to the summer of 2017, the local church in Eiker spearheaded an initiative for the local churches to reach their fundraising goals. This resulted in a record fundraiser, culminating in a historic celebration for all BCC members during the summer conference.
The organization’s philosophical goals motivate and unite its members, and being a part of the volunteer efforts to reach these goals is imperative and especially meaningful. This is also essential for the Board of BCC. Volunteers should feel that their work is valued and that they make a difference; then the work is enjoyed by giver and recipient alike.
BCC encounters increasing interest in our organization, something we find both exciting and challenging. We view interest and attention from the public as a positive thing because it provides an opportunity for us to develop, improve, and at the same time become better at describing and communicating who we are and the work we do. We are proud that our establishment is well-organized as this order represents a great deal of systematic work. Audited financial statements are available on our websites, together with full annual reports from previous years.
Preparing for future generations is vital for BCC. A far-reaching commitment to conferences and events for young people was implemented in 2017. Easter Camp unites several thousand young people from around the world, and its third consecutive year was a big success. Promotion of the Christian message through activity and sports, among other things, is its primary goal. We will continue to develop and improve, and in cooperation with various young peoples’ organizations, we plan to expand the Camp to several annual events.
BCC would like to thank all of our members for the enthusiasm and commitment they show for the organization.
We extend a special thanks to BCC’s leaders, who inspire our life of faith via their participation at conferences, on TV-broadcasts, and with personal care throughout the whole year.
Together we work to fulfill BCC’s objectives to an increasing degree. In the coming year, we aspire to continue and improve our organization’s positive development.
BCC’s Board. From left: Tore Aslaksen (board member), Berit Hustad Nilsen (Chairman) and Finn Å. Ødegård (board member).
Key financial figures 2017
BCC had an operating profit of 114.7 million Norwegian kroner (MNOK) in 2017. The main source of income consisted of donations from members and a smaller portion of government subsidies from the Norwegian government and the County Council. BCC’s equity was 743.5 MNOK as of December 31, 2017.
Management of donations in BCC
BCC received donations amounting to 337 MNOK in 2017. An extraordinary initiative by the local church in Eiker boosted fundraising efforts in the different local churches in the months leading up to summer. Several local churches wanted to join the effort, which resulted in savings goals being met ahead of time, strengthening equity in local churches and in BCC’s central activities.
These donations will be managed by the organization. Large portions of the gifts are earmarked for a fund which aims to secure a solid financial framework for Christian ideals and enterprises in the future. Parts of the fund will be allocated as a loan to the Brunstad Foundation, to support the extensive, ongoing construction at Brunstad.
In addition to extensive outreach programs and initiatives, BCC has an active organizational life. Active members give their time and money generously, and sets the standard for the organization. BCC aspires to contribute positively to society as well as finding a stable and sustainable method to manage the value added by our members. BCC wants to ensure that coming generations also have opportunities to unite around the Christian mission.
BCC and the local churches must at all times be compliant with current laws and regulations. Therefore, BCC has allocated resources and funds to make certain that the organization’s operations are compliant and fiscally responsible. Dedicated employees with various disciplinary competencies support the local churches with joint guidelines, seminars and relevant consulting.
Updated guidelines for organizational operations
BCC regularly develops and updates its routines and guidelines for organizational activity, and wants an equivalent financial and operational management at the local church level.
In 2017, BCC visited two Norwegian local churches to consult and advise about organizational operations. Development of training at the local level is on-going and continues to be a focus for BCC. Work to implement new privacy requirements that comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) was also started in 2017.
I December BCC organized a course for all board members and treasurers from the local churches. Around 160 representatives from about 60 local churches attended.
Course for board members and treasurers from the local churches.
BCC Events– increasing endorsement of the Christian message
Some of BCC’s main activities are the edifying conferences and events for our members from around the world. During 2017, BCC arranged eight international conferences at Oslofjord Convention Center. In addition, in cooperation with several affiliate youth organizations, an international youth camp was held during Easter week. I 2017, 64 meetings in total were arranged for the target groups children, young people, and adults.
BCC’s eight international conferences lasted a total of 39 days, and had an average of 5,900 attendees. The conferences with the greatest attendance were the summer conferences and the Easter conference. During Easter, 8,400 participants gathered to celebrate the holiday, and 3,100 young people from 27 different countries participated in the Easter Camp.
Easter Camp for youth
Easter Camp 2017 lasted for five days and was primarily for the 13-20 age group. Participants could choose among a variety of activities during the day, where they met young people from all parts of the world with similar recreational interests and were mentored by young adults. Evening programs focused on inspiring a life of faith in the camp’s young participants. The contributions of several hundred volunteer youth mentors made the arrangement a huge success.
BCC Events manages planning for international conferences in Norway. This occurs in close collaboration with the church’s leadership, which oversees the spiritual component of church events.
Many volunteers from various local churches contribute practical support, and in addition, produce themed gatherings, films, musicals, and concerts which support the Christian message.
60 years of summer conferences at Brunstad
I 2017 BCC celebrated 60 years of summer conferences at Brunstad, where the church has had all of its large gatherings since 1956. In July and August, a total of 15,600 people attended the summer conferences.
These two conferences comprised nearly three weeks of faith-building meetings, themed gatherings, and activities for children and young people.
Involvement and renewal
The growing number of participants demonstrates strong interest in and increasing international endorsement of BCC’s long conference tradition. A desire to expand the available options for children and young people as well as faith for the future caused BCC to start a comprehensive brainstorming process in the fall of 2017. Members from the whole world were invited to contribute ideas for future events.
Eighty local churches from around the world participated, delivering more than 700 ideas in to the project in the course of fall 2017. Ideas included suggestions for improvement in existing areas as well as brand new concepts. These will be tackled systemically in 2018. It was decided to expand the number of new youth events in 2018 going forward.
Debate on stage during a youth event in 2017.
Work for children and youth
A large part of the membership in BCC consists of children and young people, and much effort is given to secure a healthy, inclusive environment during their formative years. In 2017 BCC and our affiliated associations facilitated a total of 29 days of organized programs and activities for children and young people, primarily in conjunction with international conferences.
Diversity and variety
This activity is a result of BCC’s goaloriented effort to have a well-rounded offering of extracurricular activities inspired by our Christian faith. The goal is for children and young people between the ages of 13 and 19 to have a choice of interesting activities during both summer and winter seasons.
Along with these many interests and activities there follows a need for many mentors with diverse abilities and interests. The young people are encouraged to use their personal attributes, and to live their private lives as Christians in harmony with the Scriptures, so they can become good examples in both their immediate surroundings and on social media—for those they are together with at home and in their local churches.
Training as mentors
In 2017 the church focused on training and inspiring young people to be good mentors for the children and young people they associated with. Special emphasis was placed on showing respect and giving encouragement and praise, so that everyone feels noticed and appreciated. By showing consideration for those who are younger, young people learn to be good, caring individuals and role models.
Topics such as these were high on the agenda during the five-day Easter camp in April, and continued to be emphasized throughout the remainder of the year at local gatherings and on podcasts and TV programs. The training in caring and mentorship continued to be a major aspect of BCC’s work with children and young people throughout 2017.
BCC’s preventative Resource Team
Growing up in BCC should be safe and wholesome, and our work with children and young people is geared toward actively preventing all undesirable outcomes. Alcohol and other intoxicants are not acceptable in the context of mentoring children and youth in BCC. BCC’s Resource Team is responsible for the quality of prevention as it relates to violations, misbehaviors, and sexual abuse towards children and young people, and organized a course in March for all leaders of children and young people’s groups from all the local churches in Norway.
The goal is to help all local churches develop practical skills in line with the aims of the strategic plan known as “Safe children – the responsibility of adults.” The Resource Team monitors the work to ensure everything is in accordance with applicable guidelines.
Harald Kronstad and Øivind Jacobsen – BCC Resource Team
Quality leadership at the core
It is in BCC’s best interest that violations and misbehaviors of any kind are reported at once, which places extra responsibility on trusted individuals. Procedures must be established for internal reporting in a secure manner, so that responsible leaders can be made aware of unacceptable situations as soon as possible.
A new and comprehensive revision of structures and procedures for quality leadership was initiated in 2017 and applies to every aspect of BCC’s organization.
Tools and materials have been developed for the local associations for further education and training.
In addition to the required background check, a signed declaration has also been instituted for all personnel working with children and youth.
Interfaith and disciplinary cooperation
In the vital work of creating a secure framework surrounding our work with children and young people, BCC participates in an interfaith cooperation with Resource Centre against Violence and Sexual Abuse. Professional network building is ongoing, and will continue in 2018.
In 2017 BCC participated in Children’s Rights Day, which is organized by Ombudsman for Children and the University of Oslo, and in the November Conference initiated by Resource Centre against Violence and Sexual Abuse.
BCC’s youth program – Youth Exchange Program (YEP)
Both YEP, a youth exchange program in BCC, and Brunstad Bible School are highly prioritized programs for young people in the church community.
Participants in YEP are stationed in different locations where they recieve teaching in the Christian belief and training in practical church work.
Youth from 33 different countries participated in the exchange in 2017. 409 participants were enrolled in the spring of 2017, and 429 in the fall of 2017.
Admission and placement is coordinated by YEP’s manager.
Participants in YEP 2017
Youth Exchange Program’s Main Objectives
YEP will teach about BCC’s beliefs and history
YEP will train students for missionary work and church life
YEP will provide Norwegian language training and develop cultural awareness
YEP will model respect and tolerance through cooperation in a multicultural environment
YEP will facilitate volunteerism at the church’s conferences and projects
Brunstad Bible School
Brunstad Bible School has the largest annual enrollment of YEP participants, and was established in 2016 as its own entity in BCC. It has just completed its first full operational year. In 2017, the school had a total of 565 students from about 30 different countries; 290 students enrolled in the spring of 2017 and 275 during fall semester 2017.
Lessons and cultural exchange
Students have 35 hours of studies every week, including lessons, independent study, and group work. The curriculum is predominantly Bible studies, but the 2017 school year also included practical courses such as personal finance and Physical education. Norwegian language instruction was intensified in 2017, with the establishment of an online course to improve prospective students’ proficiency prior to enrollment.
Youth at Brunstad Bible School share friendship and solidarity during both studies and recreation.
Livestreaming av undervisningstilbudet
Det er stor etterspørsel og interesse for undervisningen på Brunstad Bibelskole, og i 2017 startet Brunstad Bibelskole med streaming av undervisningstimene til YEP-grupper som er etablert andre steder i verden. Dette førte til økte kostnader for bibelskolen, både med tanke på produksjon og distribusjon, og samarbeidet med BrunstadTV har vært avgjørende for gjennomføring. Tilbudet har vist seg verdifullt, da det har vært med på å styrke og samordne undervisningstilbudet på alle lokasjoner.
Brunstad Bible School’s education is highly sought after, so the school started live streaming lessons in 2017 to YEP-groups based in other places around the world. Teamwork with BrunstadTV was essential for its success. The Bible School’s expenses increased because of production and distribution, but offering this alternative has proved invaluable. Live streaming has become a compelling factor in the growth and coordination of available educational opportunities in all YEP-locations.
Practical training and volunteer efforts
During free time when there’s no instruction at the Bible School, most students choose to get involved in volunteer work which supports the church’s ideals and objectives. Many students gain insight and knowledge by participating in the planning and implementation of BCC’s international Christian conferences. Others become involved in technology and production of content for BrunstadTV.
Brunstad Bible School’s boarding and education facilities are located at Brunstad in the Sandefjord municipality. Students are part of a lively school atmosphere with excellent facilities.
The principal at Brunstad Bible School is Bjørn Nilsen, who together with other employees and volunteers, is responsible for providing the young students with a varied and rewarding education. The school has its own counselor and health program, which safeguards support and follow-up for each individual. A good social environment is prioritized, and there is no tolerance for bullying.
Administration and school management at Brunstad Bible School, from left: Synnøve Larsen, Bjørn Nilsen, Jane Courage and Gershon Twilley.
Mission work in BCC
Religious education and missionary work at the Bible School
Brunstad Bible School, with its curriculum and teaching plans, is considered an important part of BCC’s missionary work. Young people from many cultures meet for a whole school year of inspiring spiritual education. The school teaches the core of BCC’s doctrine and beliefs, with the goal that students will gain a greater and more personal faith for themselves.
After completing a year at the Bible School, many travel home and find that the experiences and knowledge they’ve gained are advantageous for their local churches and environments. The year at Bible School is also a platform for building friendships across cultures and nations, which often stay with the young people further in life.
Work with individuals
BCC’s missionary profile is based on spreading the gospel through encounters with individuals. The goal is that each person who wishes to become a disciple can gain a personal faith and love for Jesus. Important arenas for this work are conferences and TV broadcasts, and BCC has several online channels for Christian outreach.
BCC does not seek to gain a large following, but rather hopes that those who want to hear, learn, and live as followers of Jesus can find help and develop as Christians.
Online mission work
Everyone who wishes to read about BCC’s doctrine and beliefs can do so on the platform activechristianity.org, and the church’s core literature is available in e-book format. The gospel of Jesus has a positive, uplifting effect in people’s lives, and this is conveyed through articles, films, and personal testimonies.
Activechristianity.org was published in 13 languages in the course of 2017, and had a notable increase in hits towards the end of the year, averaging 5,300 total views per day.
Social media is also used actively to reach more people the same messages conveyed in a simpler way both on Facebook and Instagram.
ActiveChristianity has a small permanent staff as well as a number of volunteers who help with articles, material, and translation.
Biannual missions’ celebrations contribute, in addition to sermons, music, and entertainment, to fundraising for missionary work all over the world. Pictured here is Linnenbach’s celebration in southern Germany on October 14.
Missionary support for people from nations with low purchasing power
To make it possible for more people to attend the international conferences, BCC provides financial assistance to invited participants from countries with low purchasing power. This is given in the form of board and lodging in Norway. Funds are set aside for this purpose in the annual Missions Budget, amounting to 5 million NOK in 2017.
BrunstadTV – an important vehicle for the church’s message
The message of a faithful life is distributed by BrunstadTV to all corners of the world. Edifying content is broadcast from all of BCC’s international conferences. The channel produces quality programs and series for different age groups, with a goal to convey positive morals and values to children, youth, and families.
The channel produces and distributes content for both linear TV and online platforms like netTV and YouTube.
New technology and professional updates
The main goal of the work at BrunstadTV is to provide a vehicle for BCC’s Christian message, and this work requires constant technological updates. The unit’s employees stay professionally updated and use new methods and procedures both technically and while producing content.
Due to increasing demand, a new channel was opened for live streaming of the meetings at all of BCC’s conferences in 2017. This was a test project needing further development. BrunstadTV has a challenging production line since all conference speeches are simultaneously translated into over 20 languages. At the same time many of the programs are subtitled into the four major languages: Norwegian, English, German, and Dutch. Because of this the primary channel for distribution is still linear TV via satellite, while work continues to incorporate streaming technology which can support several language solutions.
Last year BrunstadTV held two large workshops to brainstorm ideas for new programs and create plans for next season.
Extensive volunteer effort
I 2017, BrunstadTV had 20 permanent employees, and 19 young volunteers from the YEP program.
During international conferences a large number of volunteers contribute to audio, lighting, and image production. BrunstadTV supplies all of the technology used at conferences and other TVbroadcasts organized by BCC, distributes multicamera video broadcasts live on a monthly basis, and live streams weekly for Brunstad Bible School.
Training young media apprentices and talents
BCC is approved as a training company by Oslo County Council. For several years, BrunstadTV has accepted apprentices in media studies, and two of these received Certificates of Completion as graphic designers in 2017, with excellent results. BrunstadTV is committed to focusing on professionalism, expertise, and learning in the work environment.
Employees admitted through YEP receive extensive training in media and TV production; BrunstadTV is a unique arena for recruiting young people interested in media from all around the world.
During Easter Camp, BrunstadTV offered their own agenda to young people ages 13-18. Over three intense days, they learned several components of multi-camera production, and participated in live broadcasts of the international Easter hockey tournament at Tønsberg Ice Rink.
For many years BCC has offered support to local churches by developing guidelines for different domains such as bookkeeping, finances, volunteer work, taxes, and donations. The guidelines are to help maintain a secure, orderly, and wellfunctioning organization.
In addition, BCC contributes various services such as teaching, training, and support systems. In 2017 a project was implemented utilizing a digital tool called “MyShare”, which is a further development of what was earlier called ActivityWeb. This digital tool ensures a simplified structure as well as transparency for member contributions, and provides better possibilities for the pre-payment of registration and maintenance fees.
As an organization, BCC handles sensitive personal data about its members. Efforts to comply with the new GDPR requirements of 2018 began in 2017.
Focus on occupational health and safety
Working for the health and safety of our employees and volunteer workers during BCC’s conferences has been a central topic in 2017. BCC implemented the tool Simployer to develop procedures for prevention and handling of safety violations.
In conjunction with BrunstadTV, a course in health and safety was conducted in January for 30 volunteers who work with rigging and production during BCC conferences. The goal is for effective, safe, and proper material handling and structure relocation during all our arrangements, and the volunteer workers had to take the course and a test as part of their training.
I 2017 BCC held several different seminars for local churches.
Important decisions – BCC’s annual Representative Assembly
Each year representatives from BCC’s local churches meet for the Representative Assembly. Resolutions that have considerable significance for BCC are settled at this time; additionally, the annual financial report is reviewed and approved. In 2017 there were approximately 120 representatives at the meeting which was held at the Panorama Hotel and Resort at Sotra, outside Bergen. Those who were present represented BCC’s local churches from Norway and the rest of the world.
Good organization ensures sustainable operation and development
Organizational structure of the overall operational activity of BCC was a central theme at the Representative Assembly in 2017. A stable, effective organizational structure secures the administration of material assets and makes it possible to conduct BCC’s Christian ministry in the best way possible.
The Board manages the significant activity originating in BCC, which is built upon funds entrusted to the organization by the members.
These funds have made it possible for the Brunstad Foundation to finance the extensive expansion at Brunstad through loans from BCC and the local churches. The investments require good management and cooperation between BCC and the Brunstad Foundation, and this is secured through a system of corporate governance.
BCC rents Oslofjord Convention Center at Brunstad for all its international conferences and status updates of the extensive expansion project, anticipated to continue into 2021, were provided at the representative assembly. Furthermore, there was given additional information regarding the development of financing models in conjunction with the project’s completion and BCC’s future use of the complex.
The Representative Assembly, on behalf of the local churches in BCC, agreed that they wished to continue planning efforts to ensure future generations have the possibility of experiencing conferences, fellowship, and edification at Brunstad.