by Drago Rozic
Vladimir Psenko, a preacher for the Downtown church of Christ, has recently returned from European Christian Workshop, where he presented 3 sessions on radio ministry. The workshop took place August 28-30 at Lancaster University in Great Britain. EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN WORKSHOP began in England in 2005 to satisfy the growing need for an event that would bring together members of the churches of Christ from all across Europe, to teach and to raise awareness about the issues facing the Lord's kingdom (for more details see: http://www.europeanchristianworkshop.com). This year's topic was REACHING OUT TO TODAY'S WORLD.
This was your first time to attend the workshop. What is your impression?
I feel deeply blessed by the fellowship and the lectures I heard. Tony Coffey has been working in Dublin, Ireland for the past 38 years, and he was a key note speaker. I was strengthened and enriched by his lessons including „The Changing Face of Catholicism“, „By What Authority,“ and „In Conflict with Grace.“ I also benefited from other speakers such as Dr. Michael Moss from the United States, who presented the Gospel of John in a very dynamic and interesting way. It was obvious that the organizers like Stephen Woodcock, Paul Halliday and others invested great effort and enthusiasm to make the workshop a blessing for each participant.
How about fellowship during the workshop?
The fellowship was amazing. I was surrounded by very dear and kindhearted people, and I enjoyed all the different languages and dialects spoken at the workshop including English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish. I thank God especially for John Morgan and his wife Jennifer. John is a preacher for the Hindley church of Christ, the local church in Hindley, near Wigan. When I landed in Manchester City, they took me into their home and blessed me with a warm welcome. I did not know anyone, and I was grateful that John and Jennifer stayed somewhere near me during the whole workshop. I also had opportunity to worship with them on Sunday, and I know that they were my angels there.
In one of your sessions at the workshop, you shared some of your personal experiences when God's guiding hand was obvious in your life.
Two events in my life showed me how God's ways are wonderful and amazing. I was born in a small village in eastern Croatia. In 1982, I completed my fourth year of high school in Belgrade and received a diploma in the vocational program of radio news broadcasting. At that time, the capital of former Yugoslavia was the only place in the country that I was aware of with a school for news broadcasters. Little did I know, God was preparing me for a future in Christian Radio Ministry. In 2005, Mladen Jovanovic, a Senior Preacher of Kuslanova church of Christ and founding leader of the church of Christ radio ministry in former Yugoslavia, strongly encouraged me to start writing and airing Bible programs. He suggested that I began airing my own Bible program on Velika Gorica Radio, one of local radio stations near Zagreb. He has been airing his 15 minute messages weekly on this radio station, and he offered „Instead of my radio messages, you may have your own messages weekly.“ I accepted, and God's new wonderful plan began for Renata and I in our radio ministry to the people of Zagreb. It is more fabulous than we ever dreamed. Over twenty years after my graduation in former Yugoslavia's capital from the school of radio broadcasting, I had the opportunity to air messages to the Glory of God and in the Name of the Lord Jesus, who imprinted a new dream on my heart.
Could you share with us another event that tells how God works in mysterious ways?
My conversion. One of my aunts moved to Zagreb after she was divorced, bringing her daughter Sanja with her. In the eighties, they rented a basement apartment at #11 Amruseva street in downtown Zagreb, and the facility where the members of the church of Christ met for worship was right above them. Over the doorway to the building was the inscription „Kristova crkva“ which means „The Church of Christ.“ I began visiting my aunt, it was as if God was saying to me, „Here is where you will find your true family, the family of God, just one floor above your aunt's rented apartment.“ One Sunday morning in 1990, I thought it might be a good idea to knock on the door of the church there. A very kind person opened the door and took me to a room where about thirty Christians were gathered for worship. In an answer to my growing desire for friendship, for people of God, and for God Himself, I found myself in the midst of hospitable and wonderful people. A spirit of humility and kindheartedness welcomed me there, and it was the force that drove me to be present at every Christian gathering. They led me toward a deeper study of God's Word and an intense probing of my spiritual life. Shortly after, I received Christ, was immersed into His death and gained His life.
What was the most important message that you wanted to pass to those in attendance for your class at the workshop?
My hope for them was that they were inspired and encouraged to see and possibly use radio ministry in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their area. I praise the Lord for brother Mladen, who encouraged me to take over the program on one of the local FM radio stations and to air my own messages. I found that God blessed me with the ability to prepare messages in a way in which they are effective. I also praise the Lord for our dear brother Tom Sibley, a director of the Zagreb's Bible Institute. Thanks to the Institute I feel well prepared and equipped to write scripts for radio. My wife Renata, our co-workers and I are very grateful God uses us to proclaim the Gospel through this program to a people who greatly need the salvation found through Jesus. My hope is that some of the seeds I planted at the Workshop will either advance radio ministry or encourage the people there toward other creative roads to take in ministries.
Do you have any message for those who plan to write scripts for radio?
When writing a message, use your own experiences while presenting God's Word. Whenever I hear about some Christian experience from my brothers and sisters, I ask for permission to use it in my radio messages, and I also use my own experiences when sharing Bible text. My mother-in-law, who leads a lonely life, always listens to our messages. She often says, „I know more about your life through your messages than from what you tell me when you visit.“ One of the listeners remarked, „There are thousands of us like grandma Maria (an elderly member of the Downtown church who I have written several scripts about in the past). What she suffered and experienced during the war...“ People can identify with the Word of God if we make it alive in their hearts. The Bible text goes hand in hand with the Christian experiences I share in the radio messages. God's Word is dead if there is no action or experience along with it. It meant a lot to me when a female listener from eastern Croatia wrote to us, „Primarily I would like to thank you for your wonderful broadcasts full of spiritual truth. Although they are powerful, they do not overburden people with theological doctrines. They direct people toward the truth of our Savior Jesus Christ.“