The internet has become an integral part of our lives, serving more than just entertainment and work opportunities. From a religious standpoint, it has presented an unprecedented opportunity to reach countless individuals worldwide with the message of faith. The Adventist Church has recognized this potential and is taking strides to create a digital presence that extends beyond the physical confines of the church.
The Adventist Internet Ministry (AIM) serves as a critical link between media, digital media, traditional media, and the local church. By partnering with Adventist media entities, AIM has created a thriving online community for Adventists worldwide. To further this mission, the GAiN Americas conference has initiated a series of continental conferences scheduled for 2023, with subsequent meetings planned for Asia, Europe, and Africa. Through these conferences, Adventist communicators have been able to learn from each other and share their expertise.
One of the most prominent themes that emerged from the conference was the need for Adventist communicators to communicate with creativity, clarity, and for change and lasting impact. Different ideas lead to innovation and saving lives for Jesus. Julio Muñoz shared the power of cinema to tell parables, address complex issues, and foster dialogue. Christelle Agboka discussed the elements of compelling stories and the challenges of gathering such stories at the conference and division levels.
However, the use of technology for ministry extends far beyond storytelling. AI can assist with research, proposals and programs, social media, marketing, and strategic plans. The different audiences and roles of Adventist communication entities should work together for God’s glory. Under branding, communication manages the church’s visual identity, website, social media, and corporate messaging. For example, through Esperança, an AI chatbot, Novo Tempo, Brazil’s Hope Channel, has had over 318,700 individuals engage in English, Spanish, and Portuguese Bible studies.
The Sonscreen Film Festival has played a crucial role in nurturing filmmakers’ God-given talent through its annual festival and competition, network projects, and opportunities to learn from professional filmmakers. They mentor through the Sonscreen Film Festival, the professional development organization Society of Adventist Communicators, and opportunities for young people to write or produce for NAD projects.
The church’s digital presence has been growing, and it’s not hard to see why. Our greatest strength is in joining together to proclaim the Gospel and empower as many people as possible to join us. We must dominate the internet for spiritual content by the end of the decade. In today’s world, there is fierce competition for the hearts and minds of people, and if we’re afraid to apply technology, we’re not using the resources and abilities God has given us and multiplying them for the kingdom.
Adventists in North America share their story through the Adventist Journey magazine, NAD NewsPoints e-newsletter, and multi-division network projects. All of these media outlets serve as a way for Adventists to connect with each other and the world. However, Adventist communicators must keep in mind that if we love technology more than the people we want to reach, there’s no power in what we do.
In conclusion, the 2023 Global Adventist Internet Ministry (GAiN) Convention brought together more than 160 communicators and leaders from North American, Inter-American, and South American divisions. The conference was a testament to the Adventist Church’s commitment to using technology to spread its message of faith. Through AI, film festivals, and social media, Adventists have created a vibrant community that extends beyond the church walls. As the internet continues to evolve, the Adventist Church must continue to innovate and adapt to reach as many people as possible.