Creating Connection - Media Academy

We were sitting on a couch. Sessions were over for the evening and most of the creatives were doing what they do best; playing music, dancing around, taking photos. You know, creating art. But we were just sitting there. The naturally fashionable and open Noemi from Poland was telling me a story about how a trip to Spain not so long ago gave her the boost she needed to actually admit to herself that she was an artist at heart and that maybe God wanted to use that somehow.

So, we were sitting there, exchanging excuses we’ve made for why we sometimes haven’t created in the past and I realized that this too was an act of creating. Creating memories, creating inspiration, creating connection.

This is what Josiah Venture’s first ever Media Academy was all about.

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Recently, around 60 artists from 9 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, including Noemi, gathered at our Czech training center, Malenovice, for a week of learning how to use design, social media, writing, photography, and video to serve the movement of God among the youth of this region. The week was what Pavlina, an attendee called, “A powerful, encouraging, intense brain workout.”  Each of the sessions and electives, games and activities were meant to equip these young leaders to use art to glorify God and spread the gospel in their countries.

Here are some of the highlights:

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Main Sessions

Media Academy’s main sessions that took place every morning and evening got attendees thinking about their brand, how to work together as a team, and the power of good stories that speak to their audience.  

Alex Bell, a guest teacher from Hollywood, convinced us that we can “make lit videos” even without super fancy equipment. Dave Boden, co-founder of Kleer Series, a film curriculum designed in the UK to start spiritual conversations with young people, presented the Cs of a well-functioning communications team which included things like character, collaboration, content, and confidence. And John Kloosterhuis, lead designer on the JV communications team, proposed that everyone has creative thinking potential because we reflect the Creator.

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Creative Mornings (and Evenings)

Jacob Adent, a summer intern, led short activities each morning that got us thinking outside the box and let our creative juices flow. The teams accomplished tasks like designing a logo using a minimal number of lines and coming up with a script for a movie trailer.

In the evening, after sessions were over, the rest of the c-team interns were in charge of other competitions and entertainment. Skits, photo and video competitions, and a talent show all took place throughout the week.

This time in the schedule not only made attendees comfortable with the creative process, but also with each other and we saw people unite and joke around in ways that helped make the atmosphere conducive to learning when we got into more serious discussions.

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Electives and Team Time

Besides sessions everyone attended, Media Academy also offered the opportunity for specific classes and time for the different country teams to work on ministry projects. Each attendee was able to take four different electives throughout the week taught by different JV c-team members and other professionals that helped them dig deeper into certain types of art. Then, during team time, they got to directly apply the tips and tools they learned in class to communication needs their ministries have.

Through both the act of sitting on couches discussing life and participating in the scheduled highlights of Media Academy, the nationals have gone home well-equipped to use art in their ministries. Attendees are saying things like Urh from Slovenia, “I’ve been inspired, learned a lot, and now I’m looking forward to fall and starting this amazing journey” or DU from Romania, “I’ve learned we cannot make the gospel of Jesus bigger or more attractive. It’s sufficient and life-giving in and of itself. But we can use media to attract young people’s attention to the gospel of Jesus.”

We are praying for this to be the case and that like Noemi realized in Spain, other young artists we work with would recognize and use the creative potential they have with their writing, photography, design, and other artistic skills to spread the hope and love of Christ in this region.