The project ZeBible, the alternative experience – Web 2.0 development brings two dreams together. One is that of David Bonhomme, director of communications agency Progressif.Media, of conveying the Bible and its message to young people via the internet. And the other is that of the French Bible Society and its partners of extending the ZeBible initiative and offering ‘an alternative experience’.
Friendship and professionalism
Progressif.Media’s foundations are long-standing friendships and a strong desire to provide a professional service. Right from their student days, two friends from Strasbourg, David Bonhomme and Thomas Ghys, wanted to use the internet to spread the Bible’s message to those around them. David, who started out as a graphic designer, studied communications, while Thomas studied computer science. Once they had completed their studies, they decided to work together as freelancers, then to set up their own company which would focus on helping Christian organisations to communicate more effectively.
“People told us, ‘It’s impossible, it will never work, Christians don’t have the money’,” David recalls. “But deep inside, we were convinced that there was a need for this because what was out there was, basically, a counter-message. People talk about a really engaging message of salvation – the Bible which can change lives – but the impression given by many Christian organisations, by the videos and photos they produce, is the complete opposite. All at once, we agreed that there was a need and that we would take the plunge and see what happened!”
A shared vision
And it was a success. David and Thomas set up Progressif.Media and began providing a professional service. David is responsible for the agency and its projects generally, and is also artistic director. Thomas is the technical expert, responsible for development, integration and programming and for anything relating to the internet. As time went on, they brought in, as employees or freelancers, a whole team of people who share their vision.
Hélène Bonhomme, David’s wife, is responsible for sending work to the creative staff (graphic designers and video artists) and to the technicians who work with the web. Cindy Ghys deals with secretarial, administrative and accounting tasks. Isaac Kalonji is a graphic designer, while Thomas Merlin is Hélène’s assistant and responsible for managing the ZeBible project.
“We also have at team working on social networks, for example Facebook pages and Twitter accounts,” explains Hélène. “And we draw on people working in all sorts of other areas, such as cinema, production, marketing… So there is a diverse network of people who are self-employed but we can call on them for specific projects. This is why, in the case of the videos produced for ZeBible, Progressif.Media is using a team of freelancers, made up of Benoît Wiener (producer), Guillaume Chaumet (head cameraman) and Anthony Bonhomme (head electrician).”
The ZeBible encounter
They still dreamt of reaching young people. In fact, this dream became stronger, nourished by contributions from all involved. They met regularly to discuss new developments, share ideas and consider what they could do to bring the project to fruition. It was then that David heard about the initiative formed by the French Bible Society and its partners, who were looking at how they could build on the success of ZeBible and bring the Bible to young people in new ways.
“At the brainstorming meeting for ZeBible, I met people who had a great deal of experience with the printed Bible and with what had been done in the past to reach young people, but there were no ideas about how to reach young people via the web,” he says. “So I put together all the ideas that I had accumulated over the years and made them into a project, with pictures – a concrete proposal. All of a sudden, things fell into place!”
So Progressif.Media became the service provider for the Bible Society and its partners for the project ZeBible, the alternative experience – Web 2.0 development.
“The little extra bit in this story about ZeBible is my collaboration with Jonathan Path, a freelance web designer,” says David.
Jonathan was one of the long-standing friends who shared David’s vision to make the Bible available to young people. They had never worked together professionally, but often said to each other, “One day we’ll do something together.” Now ZeBible is giving them this opportunity. And the dream is becoming reality.