HELSINKI, Finland - A month-long media campaign in Finland has sparked nationwide discussion on God and His power.
Finland is a Protestant nation where the Christian faith has long been on the decline. But some church leaders said they see signs that the downward trend could be reversing.
In downtown Helsinki, streetcars and buses carried the church-sponsored ads from Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
The ads, which encourage onlookers to call a hotline to learn more about Christ, even had the secular media talking, according to Hannu Haukka, president of Great Commission Media Ministries.
"They have asked what this big, mega-city campaign is all about," Haukka explained. "They are asking why are the churches coming out in such force and through such visibility in the city. What is the message the churches want to give this society?"
The campaign also printed thousands of Christian booklets and brochures, and produced videos telling stories of lives changed through a relationship with Christ.
"We have also witnessed an unprecedented 55,000 downloads of the life-changing stories on Youtube in video form," Haukka recalled.
Haukka hopes the media campaign will revive his country's lagging Christian faith.
Finland's evangelicals represent only 12 percent of the country's 5 million people, and less than one out of 10 people attend church at all. However, many churches are reporting a change.
"At this point in time, we have received reports of 73 people who have come to know the Lord Jesus as their savior in one special event in one church. We know of another church who has a second baptismal service already on the calendar," Haukka said.
The Finland campaign followed similar media blitzes conducted by the media ministry in cities around the world.
Haukka claimed that in the past eight years, the media campaigns have reached 100 million people in 57 cities, resulting in more than 500,000 phone calls. They have printed and distributed more than 1.5 million books.
Haukka hopes to reach the 433 cities of the world with a population of one million or more. He believes media campaigns provide the best opportunity to reach the largest number of people with the gospel.