An exciting new project is under way in Albania through The Tide® (www.thetide.org) global radio ministry.
A new television program called “Koha Për Të Folur,” which means “Time to Talk,” began recording in June, with editing and producing taking place in July and August and the first two episodes airing this month.
New believers are becoming more common in Albania, after the country that once operated under a communist suppressed religion, forced the abandonment of church buildings and even removed the word “God” from their dictionaries.
“Today in Albania, Christian missionaries are allowed a presence in the country, and the Albanian people are permitted religious freedom, but sadly, less than 1 percent of the population has embraced the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ,” said The Tide Director Don Shenk. “It is here that we see opportunity, especially among Albania’s young people, and we pray this new television project in Albania will open even more doors.”
In 2015, The Tide ministry entered into a partnership with Radio 7 Albania and local pastors to produce and air Christian programs in the Albanian language. These programs, titled “Sipas Fjales,” or “According to the Word,” are being used as church-planting tools as pastors make disciples of listeners who respond to the Gospel. Cities within reach of the radio broadcasts include Gjakova, Prishtina, Gjirokaster, Shkoder and Tirana.
Following in the footsteps of the effective radio outreach and discipleship the ministry has experienced in Albania, The Tide television program aims to reach a younger audience. The TV setting will resemble a coffee shop atmosphere that will feature local live music. A local, well-known pastor who has built relationships with Albanian Christians will lead discussions on various topics that young people face in Albania. Each episode will conclude with an opportunity to respond to the Gospel and a way for viewers to follow up.
“Each program will be set in a cultural context that today’s youth in Albania will recognize as their own,” Shenk added. “Our goal is that the Good News of Jesus Christ will be creatively shared to a media-focused generation of young Albanians, that they may have an authentic encounter with the living God.”
The Albanian television broadcasts will be carried on 12 cable networks reaching northern and southern Albania and parts of Kosovo. Additionally, programs will be streamed online—a platform already being used by The Tide radio pastor partners.
“Clearly, people are hungry for this type of media,” said The Tide Development Director Mark Story, who has been speaking with donors here in the U.S. about the television project. “Some who are familiar with the work of The Tide ministry thought we were restricted to radio and are delighted to hear that our efforts are progressive, viable, nimble and responsive.”
Currently, two televisions seasons are planned in Albania, with a break between recording. The financial outlay for the both seasons is about $15,000—or approximately $600 per episode. This amount includes the pastors’ honorarium, TV production and camera shooting days. Live music will be provided by volunteers, and Radio 7 will cover broadcasting expenses.
“The opportunity to share the Good News in Albania is exciting,” Shenk said. “More exciting is the fact that radio listeners are responding to the Gospel and are being discipled as new churches are planted. The Tide ministry places high emphasis on presenting our Bible messages in a creative and culturally relevant method and in partnership with local Christian leaders already living and ministering in their own countries. These television programs in Albania have the ability to reach thousands of young people for Christ.”