Youtubers and Hope Channel Unite

From screens to souls - An inspiring evangelistic campaign in Croatia

News November 16, 2023

16 November 2023 | Zagreb, Croatia [Vanesa Pizzuto]

“Dani odluke” (Decision Days) is a unique evangelistic campaign organised by Hope Channel Croatia to connect online viewers to local Adventist communities. To achieve this, Hope Channel Croatia enlisted the participation of two emerging Adventist YouTubers, Croatian pastor Dario Kovačević (@BIBLIJA_n_dianu, 5.01k subscribers) and Serbian psychologist Nemanja Boričić (@NemanjaBoricic, 23.8K subscribers), to lead the campaign. Together, they toured five cities—Osijek, Vukovar, Slavonski Brod, and Zagreb—meeting their YouTube followers in person for the first time and delivering powerful messages about the Gospel.

This unity itself is the Gospel, Nemanja, Croatia
“This unity itself is the Gospel,” said Nemanja Boričić.

At their final stop at Rakovčeva Adventist Church in Zagreb, Kovačević and Boričić preached in tandem, radiating a palpable energy and friendship. Reflecting on the history of Serbia and Croatia, as well as their unlikely friendship, Boričić remarked, “This unity itself is the Gospel. We are different but one in spirit.”

Using the story of Elijah as a thematic thread to connect all reflections, Kovačević and Boričić shared practical and insightful messages each night. “The dried brook is signalling the beginning of a new season for your life,” said Kovačević one night, reflecting on 1 Kings 17. On another night, Boričić explored the topic of depression and how God handles it, illustrating it with the story of Elijah fleeing to Horeb. “God is not criticising or judging him but asking questions and helping with the process by providing a new vision,” said Boričić, highlighting the importance of using God’s empathy method.

Dario at Decision Days, Croatia, 2023
“The dried brook is signalling the beginning of a new season for your life,” said Dario Kovačević.

Throughout the campaign nights from November 10 to 16, the church was packed, with 150 people in attendance (roughly 20% of them were guests), along with 250-350 viewers watching the live stream and up to 9,000 individuals watching the videos later in the week.

Spiritually and Technically Prepared

The team in Zagreb left nothing to chance. Every night, a group of prayer warriors gathered to pray for the people listening to the message. Meanwhile, the media team, an impressive group of seven volunteers led by Boris Brkić, managed five cameras, live mixing, and streaming on YouTube.

Impressive media team at Decision Days, Croatia
The volunteer team, led by Boris Brkic, took care of the livestream.

“It’s my first time doing this, but I’m one of the prayer team members,” shared Alan Požgaj. “We meet half an hour before the meetings start with the speakers and pray. Then, while they preach, we stay in a little room in the church and pray the whole time. We pray for God’s spirit, his angels, and everything happening… the experience is awe-inspiring. It gives me goosebumps!”

“I know a woman who watched one of our YouTube channels, and then she found a local church and eventually got baptised,” commented Brkić, emphasising the importance of making the campaign available on YouTube. “We are trying to grow our online community, which now has roughly 10,000 subscribers. We started during COVID three years ago; we are still young… God is helping us, and we have lots of good feedback and blessings.”

A Story of Sinergy

According to Pastor Neven Klačmer, Croatian Conference Executive Secretary and Communication Director, the word that best describes this evangelistic campaign is ‘synergy.’ “Dario was involved with Hope Channel Croatia from the beginning. So, two years ago, he moved away from Zagreb (where Hope Channel Croatia is based) and started his own YouTube channel; many people were following him.”

“He then contacted Nemanja in Serbia, and they both accepted the invitation to tour Croatia, promoting both their own YouTube channels and Hope Channel Croatia,” Klačmer shared. As many of their followers came to meet them in person in every city, “it helped us bridge the gap between the digital and the analogue church.”

Rather than competing for an audience, “we thought, let us bring them under the umbrella of Hope Channel; with such synergy, we all can be stronger than we would individually,” Klačmer explained.

Q&A time, for attendees and online viewers
The Q&A session at the end of each night provided an opportunity for attendees and online viewers to share their questions.

What’s Next?

Decision Days serves as an introductory campaign, paving the way for the Christ for Europe initiative scheduled for December of this year. “Most people who attended the tour in the four cities are ready to study the Bible. They have been watching many of our videos during the COVID-19 pandemic. So, this was an opportunity to connect without being behind a screen,” Klačmer explained. Indeed, local pastors in Osijek, Vukovar, Slavonski Brod, and Zagreb are already agreeing on times and dates to study the Bible with some of the guests who attended the campaign—a promising start!

“We want digital evangelism to be our focus,” said Klačmer. “We are learning that sometimes we spread ourselves too thin with too many projects that only scratch the surface. We are finding that it is best to focus on one big project and that digital evangelism can bring all the church departments together, creating great synergy.”

[Photos: Vanesa Pizzuto/Adventist Media Exchange, CC BY 4.0]

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