INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGIES THE FUTURE FOR ADVENTIST IT MISSION
UK presenters at the GAiN 2013 Conference, Dubai
23rd May 2013
British delegates at the 2013 Global Adventist internet Network (GAiN) found they were ahead of the game. Greater integration of Internet platforms and messages was a key theme for the conference of 230 Seventh-day Adventist Church technologists and communicators who met in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 15-19 May 2013.
Several entities are looking at developing integrated platforms for witness and the new Adventist Church website for the British Isles was noted as a positive, responsive website that helps the Church to be more effective in its witness. "The first purpose of a Church website must be to share the good news of the Adventist message with those outside our community", Pastor Victor Hulbert, BUC Communication and Media director noted. "Non-Adventists are not interested in Conferences, Missions and Unions. They are interested in finding out what makes us tick, our beliefs and our activities."
He was delighted to discover that the World Church also plans to launch an integrated website in October this year. "This will allow the Church to define its brand, to clarify its voice and move from a place of multiple different sites to becoming a network of sites", said Garrett Caldwell, assistant Communication director for Public Relations at the World Church headquarters.
This is in line with what the Germans, Australians, South Americans and British are already developing.
Pastor Ted Wilson, World President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, challenged web professionals, communicators, church leaders and members, at the Seventh-day Adventist church in the neighbouring emirate of Ras Al Khaimah on Sabbath, 18 May to continue using all means possible to spread the Word of God.
"Share God's love; share the Three Angels' Message as to how God is preparing people for His soon coming", Wilson said.
Wilson challenged technologists to explore ways to help in a comprehensive integrated media approach for reaching the hearts of people through various outreach initiatives.
Participants were also shown the new Creation film series that will be completed and distributed around the World Church later this year. Wilson appealed to conference participants to collaborate in innovative ways to showcase the films in churches and special venues in every community.
During the GAiN conference, successful Adventist Internet ministries were highlighted, along with effective initiatives and strategies to assist the Church in social media impact. This particularly impressed North England Conference representative, Arunas Klimas. "This was a springboard and encouragement for me. I've seen good examples of social media in the secular world, but to see some of what was happening in South America and other parts, not just posting but being able to mobilise people – it was very impressive." Networking with various delegates during the conference means he believes he can help the Church in the NEC and throughout the British Isles develop social media in a more positive and strategic direction.
South England Conference Communication director, Kirsten Øster-Lundqvist, shared how the SEC Media Academy is improving a range of skills across the Church. Together with Victor Hulbert she also provided delegates with lessons learned, and tips on how to prepare for a major event like the Olympics. The Brazilian participants certainly took an enthusiastic interest.
A highlight for Kirsten was hearing from Delwin Finch, the webpastor at Forest Lake church. He has inspired her to use a Bible app for pastors to share sermon notes live. Jason Castons's 'i-church method' also helped her take the concept of the integrated church to another level. When Arunas asked him a question on budget the response that 20 to 25% of a ministries budget should be spent on digital ministry both challenged and inspired him to look at things from a new perspective.
Mirjana Kicusic, Network Developer & Marketing Manager for the Trans-European Division, attended the GAiN event for the first time: "The participants had an unforgettable opportunity to learn new things in their areas and were able to hear great reports from other Divisions and Unions", she said.
And Jones Masimba, Central Kenya Conference Treasurer, said the event "has been an eye-opener for me. It has been a great experience, showing us the many opportunities that are available for service, and to reach out to the community. Things are changing fast today and GAiN is helping us keep current."
"Connecting with other professionals from around the globe exposes us all to different approaches to media and technology", Kirsten concludes. "It does motivate people to action. I've seen lessons learned and taken ideas on board from previous events. It does make a difference."
GAiN's 2014 meetings are scheduled to be held in India. Information on that event can be found online at http://gain.adventist.org/.
[Article condensed and adapted from Adventist Review]
[Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division / Adventist Review / BUC News]