A month-long campaign will reach most Finns through media, mail, events, and in-person witness.
The Christian media ministry organisation IRR-TV has organised over a hundred media missions around the world. In Finland, seven regional missions have been carried out under the name “Opportunity for Change”.
However, this autumn (19 September-16 October) the first campaign will be carried out throughout all of Finland, under the title: “It was found”.
“The basic idea behind our missions is to highlight personal stories of change through the transforming power of God in different media. The stories will be compiled into a mission booklet, which will be sent directly to every home in Finland”, mission coordinator Onni Haapala of IRR-TV told Finnish magazine Uusi Tie.
The book will be sent to all Finnish homes that allow publicity in their mailbox, which represents around 70% households. In addition to the book, the messages of the evangelistic campaign will appear in street advertisements and heard and seen on radio and TV channels.
Local Christian communities are also joining the effort. “Some 360 churches are involved, from Kittilä to Hanko and Lieksa to Mustasaari”, explains Haapala. “The aim is to spread the good news of the Gospel to as many Finns as possible. People can respond either by accepting it or rejecting it”.
According to Haapala, the biggest effort in the preparations has been to get the churches involved. The Evangelical Free Church of Finland, the Pentecostal Church, local Lutheran congregations, and organisations such as Finnish Bible Institute, Logos Minsitries of Finland, and Operation Mobilisation, are among those involved. Media partners include Alfa Suomi, Radio Dei, Radio Patmos and TV7.
The mission needs around €2 million to be implemented on the planned scale. The target is still not reached.
“The churches have managed their participation fees honourably. But our initial target was to reach five hundred churches. For individuals, the Ukrainian crisis has affected the level of giving”.
Funds have also been raised through corporate advertising sales. However, Haapala says the economic uncertainty is particularly evident with small companies.
The media campaign is a cooperative project focusing on 4 channels of communication: media, live events, face-to-face encounters and witnessing, and social outreach.
According to Onni Haapala, cooperation between the different denominations has gone really well.
“Different churches and organisations have different theological interpretations of doctrinal and ethical concepts. The mission focuses only on the main message of Christianity, that man can connect with the living God. We leave the divisive issues in the background. Each congregation is committed to go with this point. Then, when people come to the church, every church of course teaches what it believes and confesses”.
However, those joining the mission are not from every wing of Christianity, but they are mainly evangelical in their theology and mission (known in Finland as revivalists).
“The liberal wing of the church feels that there is no need for such an evangelisation campaign”.
According to Panu Rantakokko, Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Lutheran mission in Northern Savoni, the timing of the mission is very good. His organisations is joining the campaign. “You don't need to be a prophet to see that we are heading for more difficult times. Good times or bad, we sinners always need the gospel. Fortunately, there is an organisation that is going out to organise this kind of thing”, he told Uusi Tie.
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