We used to live in a world where huge, bulky overhead projectors were an essential part of our public evangelism to share God’s message of hope to the world. However, with the advent of digital evangelism, technology has provided various new ways to support and receive the gospel.
Seventh-day Adventist Church members in East Indonesia have been tapping into the massive opportunity of utilizing media for mission. They joined communication training sessions that were held at two locations—the Gedung Gereja Masehi Advent Hari Ke Tujuh Remu on September 29-30 and the East Indonesia Union headquarters on October 2-3. The events were organized by the communication department and the Media Ministry Services of the East Indonesia Union Conference. Driven by the theme, “Scale Up,” church members sought to learn, understand, and develop their skills to create content for different media available both online and in print.
“We need to involve our church members in this endeavor because with commitment and dedication, I have faith that God will empower each of us to be utilized in this field of work,” Harry Waworuntu, communication director for the Adventist Church in East Indonesia, said. “Learning is a process. It may be challenging at first, but with continuous learning and training, our church here in East Indonesia can learn and work together for this purpose,” he said.
In Sorong, more than 50 delegates from the West Papua, Papua, and Maluku regions attended the meeting to express their support and interest in equipping themselves to be a part of this media movement. An estimated 170 delegates from the regions of Sulawesi, Minahasa, Nusa Utara, and Manado also attended the meeting at the East Indonesia Union headquarters. Despite the challenges of transitioning to new technology and the advancement of different media practices, local church members dedicated their time to immerse themselves in understanding other media practices to help amplify the mission.
“I believe that the media ministries are not just for those who have an inclination to digital technology. I believe that our coming here has a purpose: to utilize every means of technology that we have to spread the gospel in this new age,” Wendsney Arviany Sadi, a local church member from Manokwari, Papua, said.
Several Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) representatives joined the meeting to share valuable thoughts on engaging local church members in this vast media movement. Mamerto Guingguing, SSD communication director; Anthony Stanyer, SSD digital ministry specialist; Jessica Vicente, SSD communication representative; and Edward Rodriguez, SSD writer, were among the presenters who discussed news writing techniques and practices, Adventist identity, and branding strategies.
“Our mindset when we write our stories is that we inform locally and inspire globally,” Guingguing said. “Our objective is to inform our community about our existence, to inspire the world church about God’s mission happening within our territory, and reach out to everyone around the world through the stories we share in various mediums,” Guingguing said.
In his presentation, Rodriguez discussed Jesus’ example and His effectiveness in using storytelling in His ministry.
“Jesus shared the gospel of hope through parables. These stories connect and send messages to different people who listen to him,” Rodriguez said. “Jesus’ storytelling is effective, and we can follow that example,” he said.
The church has strengthened its digital platforms in recent years. It has also reinforced its Adventist identity through consistent and accurate usage of the visual assets generated for the church.
Vicente reiterated the power and value of preserving the church’s identity. She reminded delegates that staying true to our brand gives us one voice and sound. It “allows us to create a link for the world to our church and help people to understand the Bible to find freedom, healing, and hope in Jesus,” she said.
With the church’s gradual immersion in digital evangelism, Stanyer noted there is still more to discover and we have only scratched the surface of what is possible. “We need to discern our brand, purpose, and message,” he said.
“Love is our brand, Jesus is our identity, and Adventist is our logo,” Stanyer said.
Next year, Adventist communication leaders plan to enrich and develop a comprehensive four-day training for communication leaders and media practitioners in Indonesia through a partnership between the West and East regional offices, organizers said.