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Adventist communicators face the digital challenge

The third day of the Global Adventist Innovation Network.

Adventist communicators face the digital challenge

Bern, Switzerland.Andreas Mazza, EUDnews.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021, was the last day of GAIN 2021, still online due to the current pandemic. Approximately 100 participants are present, including professionals, leaders and workers within the industry, most of whom are from Europe, with some representatives from Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

GAIN 2021 is organized by the two European divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church: the Inter-European Division (EUD) and the Trans-European Division (TED), overseen by the two Directors of Communication, respectively, Corrado Cozzi (EUD) and Victor Hulbert (TED), and HopeMedia Europe, managed by Klaus Popa.

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to digital projects implemented in various European countries that are part of the two European divisions, EUD and TED.

The first project was presented by the Director of communications for the Adventist Church in Spain, Samuel Gil, and addressed the HopeMedia Online Academy. HopeMedia Espana Academia has 400 students,. 65% of thewhom are pastors, the other part 35% (young) lay members. Evaluations are excellent. This project is about the “DIGITAL CHURCH” (the first course of the Academia HopeMedia). The course consists of 10 MODULES in which it is dealt withstudents explore topics such as: creativity, design, video, podcast, music, networks, Weband the internet. Everything is applied to the Adventist church and online evangelization projects.

Other 2 other digital projects implemented in Spain are Radio Adventista + and HopeTown. Radio Adventista + deals with the distribution of hundreds of radios with USB flash drives containing dozens of Christian songs. This primarily targets disabled persons and the elderly, who have problems with mobility and cannot go to church. HopeTown is a project designed for children, specifically a series of videos with a spiritual message; these videos follow the story of a family that is facing the dangers of a threat.

Tor Tjeransen, director of communications for the Adventist Church in Norway, presented a musical play for children, entitled ‘Christmas in Shadowdale’, produced by Hope Channel Norway. The project is divided into 4 parts and could be considered a live performance in schools and for schools.

Sascha Schuster and Nestor Escobar of HopeMedia Europe presented the app ‘MyOffering’. This app, available on both iOS and Android, can be used to give offerings and donations to the Adventist Church in various countries of the Inter-European Division (EUD). The EUD is financially supporting this project and, therefore, the various Unions located in the territory can access this service for free. The service is already active in some countries – Germany, Italy, etc. – and is being activated in others. The inspiration behind the foundation of this project is the challenge faced by many worshippers in this digital age in having to give donations and offerings in cash. From this was derived the need to create an online service, implemented by HopeMedia Europe. “The inital results are very encouraging,” affirmed Schuster.

Norel Iacob, editor for Signs of the Times Network (ST.Network), presented his magazine, which, in the upcoming days, will celebrate its 1-year anniversary. "ST.Network wants to meet people’s basic needs of people. We check the trends on the internet (google Google trends) and offer articles that want to offer answers to the questions that are raised, of course, from a Christian perspective.” The strategy is to create content based on trending topics and promote deep thinking. Iacob concluded by saying that “people are searching for the sense meaning of life. They want to explore solutions to marriage criseis, uncertainty, and climate criseis. Through ST.Network we want to offer deep and qualitative information from a Christian point of view.”.

Finally, Chris Vogel, pastor and Old Testament PhD scholar, presented the project ‘Masterpiece Biblel’, implemented by HopeMedia Europe. “We want to trigger the passion of our pioneers for the Bible,”, so explained Chris Vogel. “We’ve lost the passion for the Biblel and our aim is to make people excited about it again, about the Bibel”, continued Vogel. The project is supported by the EUD Division. To watch the video series, please go here (English) or here (German).

The second part of the meeting was dedicated to the presentation of new projects soon to be launched. Many projects were proposed that address relevant themes, including the climate crisis, social justice, happiness, and the future.

Klaus Popa, general manager for HopeMedia Europe, also presented a summary of all the projects already achieved from 2016 to 2020, thanks to the precious input of past GAiN conventions. “The excellence of these fulfilled projects is owing to the great teamwork of all the GAiN communicators,” he emphasized. To view these projects, go here.

The theme chosen for the next network project, in 2022, will be under the title “1000 years of happiness. Because happiness can be found anytime, anywhere, and at any time in life”. The project will include the production of written content, a documentary film, videoclips, and a movie. “One thousand years of happiness because we will ask 10 elders from different cultures, each of whom are close to 100 years old, about their experiences, trials, struggles, and victories. Today, they confirm that they are living very happily,” declared Adrian Duré, network project manager.

In conclusion, Corrado Cozzi, Director of communications for the Inter-European Division, commented on the motto of GAiN Europe 2021 by remembering Jesus’ promise that he would “go to prepare a place and then return to take us to live with him forever. We are a community, we do not like to live APART,” Cozzi said. “We are created to live TOGETHER. And believing in the second coming of Jesus is a certainty that shows our desire to live together, MORE THAN EVER!”

In the farewell, Cozzi gave the date for GAiN Europe 2022, with the hope of organizing a live event. And if everything goes well, it will be in Bucharest.