23 August 2012, Rogaška Slatina, Slovenia [Julian Hibbert, tedNEWS] An interview with Miroslav Pujic, EPC Creative and Operation Director, takes readers behind the scenes at the EPC.
Question: Miroslav, I know that many of the physical and technical arrangements for this 2012 European Pastors’ Conference were your responsibility. How do you feel about things, now that the event is underway?
Answer: Julian, we set the bar high for this event – we wanted a quality experience for our pastors – and that expectation gave us quite a bit of stress at the beginning. The high temperatures in Slovenia on Tuesday and Wednesday didn’t help either. They put the tent’s air-conditioning under tremendous pressure. But I want to thank God, and the whole team, because we started very well and it has gone smoothly.
Question: Miroslav, why does the TED hold these conferences?
Answer: Every five years this division brings our pastors, and as many of their spouses together as possible, for spiritual growth, nurture and professional sharing – but above all, to deepen their knowledge of the changes taking place in European society. In the last thirty years there have been huge paradigm shifts on the continent and they are hard to keep pace with. It is important that we share and discuss models of outreach that are working – and find new ones to meet the needs of people in our own mission field.
Question: Why did you choose this theme for the conference: “Making God known”.
Answer: Europe is a Christian continent and today it is popular, even trendy, to say: “I believe in God and spirituality is important to me.” However, this doesn’t mean that such people have a true knowledge of God or – most important of all – a relationship with him. Sadly, in most cases there is no relationship. But this can apply equally to Adventists – are we really any different to them if we have the knowledge but no relationship?
Question: How many people are at this conference?
Answer: We have accommodated 1100 registered guests of which 725 are pastors and the balance comprises mostly spouses. Oh, there are also quite a few daily guests. All in all, we have representatives from 22 countries.
Question: How big is your support team for the event?
Answer: We have over 200 people in that team, ranging through the tech support, ushers “huggers”, “smilers”, musicians, etc. Some are also working at the Exhibition booths, particularly the health expo and other booths. Most of my technical team are not full time video or audio specialists – they are pastors who are multi-skilled – which is an enormous cost saver.
Question: Please share some interesting EPC facts and figures with our readers.
Answer: Julian, I am sure that this will surprise you. For this event we booked 700 rooms at 10 local hotels. Those hotels will serve our delegates close on 20,000 full buffet meals! By the way, the head chef at the main hotel tells me that our Adventist groups eat less than most of their other patrons. According to him, some of the groups that he caters for “eat up to five times” what we do! He has also noticed, “that Adventists don’t waste food the way many others do!”
Question: There is one question that many members may want to ask us: why are we here in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia, and not somewhere else?
Answer: Well, Julian, not only is this a beautiful country, but it is also very central for our division as far a travel is concerned. In addition to this, because of the good relationship we have built up with the local hotel management since our first visit in 1997, their prices are very reasonable.
Question: Finally, Miroslav: Despite the immense pressures, do you still get something personal and rewarding from these EPCs?
Answer: During these conferences I am “sleep deprived” – getting a maximum of four hours a night. But because I am an extrovert, seeing how our pastors and their spouses enjoy themselves energizes me. Their obvious joy and sense of blessing just keeps me going! [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor; Dragana Selakovic-Duval, Frederic Duval & Tor Tjeransen, photographers
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