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Adventist Global Youth Congress in South Africa

Adventist Global Youth Congress in South Africa

The 'Impact South Africa' Banner

Pretoria, South Africa [Daryl Gungadoo; CD EUDNews]. Technology has indeed progressed by leaps and bounds since the first Adventist youth world conference, and Social Networking is now the de facto method for youth, independent of the socio-economical lev

July 24, 2013 | Daryl Gungadoo, Distribution & Network Engineer, Adventist World Radio (Europe);

Pretoria, South Africa [Daryl Gungadoo; CD EUDNews]. Technology has indeed progressed by leaps and bounds since the first Adventist youth world conference, and Social Networking is now the de facto method for youth, independent of the socio-economical level, to communicate and mobilize, without borders. As a matter of fact, these social networks have proven extremely powerful during recent political events of the Arab-Spring in rallying the young generation for a common cause, and toppling even governments.

Could this same dynamic be harnessed by our youth, and used positively for the spread of the Gospel, to every kindred, nation & tribe? Would this Adventist Global Youth Congress be known in history as the 1 event that sparked this enthusiasm?

After attending the first 2 World Conferences on Youth & Community Service, my expectations were therefore very high for this third quinquennial event. Based partly on my interest in spreading the Good News and technology, I was eager to learn and share new proven ideas and methods.

The event exceeded my expectations from a technological front as follows:

1) This was the first Adventist global youth congress, where I saw pretty much everyone with a connected device (Smartphone, camera, etc...) capturing, and re-publishing (Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/etc...) the even profusely.

2) There were often 3 times more people watching live on the Internet, than those present in the auditorium, and from literally all over the world.

3) Even though the event is now over, more than 10 days ago, people are still watching and commenting on the archived video feeds (http://new.livestream.com/impact2013/events/2191798)

4) I've overheard some youth introduce themselves to each other as "Hi, my name is..., I did.... during Global Youth Day, what did you do? "

The concept of and Adventist "Global youth day" was launched this year on March 16, 2013, and compelled the youth of our church globally, on a designated Sabbath day, to go into the communities and be the Hands and Feet of Jesus Christ, and essentially "Be the Sermon". The youth were encouraged to share their experiences and even video clips on social pages like Facebook and Twitter. Global Youth Day was the single largest international mobilization of Seventh-day Adventist youth through social media. Next year's event is scheduled for March 15, 2014.

The event exceeded my expectations from an "Impact" level.

July 1 to 5, the youth were involved in around 60 community service projects in Cape Town, Soweto and Pretoria as well as neighboring countries to South Africa, and every night during the congress itself, a heartwarming video report was presented, showcasing our Adventist youth meeting the needs, and being the Hands & Feet of Jesus to many communities in Southern Africa.

Above all, the event exceeded my expectations from a Spiritual level. David Asscherick (with Tattoos on his right arm, still reminiscent of his days as a punk rocker) brought the crowd to their knees (literally) as he repackaged the gospel in a relevant, down to earth, and divinely inspired way, going back to the basics: the “non-negotiable” Truth, that God is Love, and Holy "other". Seventh-day Adventist Church president: Pastor Ted Wilson, during morning sessions also exhorted the youth to use every means possible to make Jesus known in the Cities, while Dr Ben Carson's motivational address affirmed the youth, by recalling experiences in his own life.

I was personally touched by 1 small group from Tanzania, who spontaneously started to sing a catchy inspirational tune... and within seconds, it became contagious to the the whole congregation. This is how the Holy Spirit moves, I thought!

My presentations were focused on bringing Christ to the Cities, using new media. I naturally talked about the standard media avenues of our Church: The Printed Press, and how our Church's beginning was heavily dependent on this media platform to propagate the Message; Radio, like Adventist World Radio and it's Podcasts; TV like Hope Channel; Cinematographic productions, like The Record Keeper (https://www.facebook.com/TheRecordKeeper), and the Creation; productions that will be available this year. I also talked about user generated video content that has quite an impact, specially with the youth, by the youth, because at the end of the day, it's not so much the studio setting of a video recording, or the technical quality (1080p, HD, Surround Sound, 3D, etc...), but the Message that points to Christ, that is the most important factor.

I also ventured in some uncharted territories, like the "Gamification" of the Gospel, as a new Platform to communicate the Good News. Needless to say, this ruffled some feathers initially, but I could see that the audience saw the "light", based on the enthusiastic questions I received at the end.

I used 1 game in particular as an example, called "Heroes, The Game". It came from an idea that a local church (in London) had, in engaging the non-adventist youth of his community in playing a "heroes" game, themed just like any "Marvel" cartoon, on their mobile phones. However the "heroes" in the game are non-other than Biblical heroes like Daniel, David, Paul, Esther, etc... The idea is to also turn a local church into a "Heroes Academy" and offer help in completing the game, by naturally learning more about these Biblical Heroes.

I look forward to the next World Conferences on Youth & Community Service, which will be held right here in Europe, in 2018, if we are not Home yet!

For more info, please visit the following web pages:

https://www.facebook.com/AdventistGlobalYouthDay

http://news.adventist.org/archive/articles/2013/03/20/global-youth-day-was-churchs-largest-social-media-event

http://news.adventist.org/archive/articles/2013/07/08/community-service-kicks-off-adventist-world-youth-conference-in-south-africa

https://www.facebook.com/HeroesTheGame

pictures: 1. David Asscherick; 2. Gilbert Cangy and Jonathan Teyel, Director & Associate Director of the Youth Department at a GC level; 3. Ted Wilson, GC President; 4. GC Leaders stepping into the stadium for the final meeting; 5. Johannie Frivet with her husband, Daryl Gungadoo; (copyright Daryl Gungadoo)

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