About 120 participants from 20 countries met for the Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) 2018 Conference in the Spanish city of Canet, Valencia, from March 23-28. The event was a joint venture between the two European church regions—the Inter-European Division (EUD), headquartered in Bern, Switzerland, and the Trans-European Division (TED), located in London, England.
According to the organizers, the stated goals of the event were to increase their knowledge of communication, exchange relevant information, and create new beneficial connections. However, the encompassing goal was to strengthen the paths and increase the possibilities of the church’s missionary activities.
“The most exciting thing for me is to realize that there are 120 people here whose vision is for mission,” said TED communication director Victor Hulbert. “They are [people who] are saying, ‘How can we reach out to other people? How can we touch lives?’”
Besides Hulbert and EUD church region communication director Corrado Cozzi as main organizers, technical support was provided by HopeMedia Spain, under the direction of Pablo Sanchez, and Stimme der Hoffnung (EUD Media Center based in Germany), led by Klaus Popa.
Inspiring Workshops and Presentations
Participants were able to choose among a wide-ranging selection of workshops. Topics addressed ranged from journalism to audiovisual production, to social media management to multimedia evangelism.
Among the speakers were several communication experts and leaders in the field of Adventist communication, including world church communication director Williams Costa; Adventist Review’s MediaLab director Daryl Gungadoo; Adventist Review communication director and news editor Costin Jordache; and internet security expert and EUD IT director, Sascha Schuster; Julio Munoz, North American Division Communication associate director; Andrew McChesney, editor for Adventist Mission; and many more.
Participants and special guests said they enjoyed the various workshops and other projects featured during the conference.
“GAiN Europe is one of my favorite events to attend,” said General Conference assistant communication director Brent Hardinge. “There are always inspiring projects happening, and it is always a pleasure to participate in the events.”
During the event, various Hope Channel outlets leaders showcased some of the new media products they have been working on. Among them, a TED Communication film about the Reformation, filmed in Germany and Italy. A special presentation also introduced the second season of “Animal Encounters,” a documentary series shot in Costa Rica last year and produced in collaborative effort between Germany’s Stimme der Hoffnung, ARTV (Adventist Review TV), and eight other partners.
Innovation and Synergy
Many participants and guests highlighted the regional Adventist communicators’ efforts to innovate. “I am happy to see that there is an effort to change things…and to focus on innovation,” said Gungadoo.
Collaborative efforts among the event organizers were also mentioned time after time as a plus of this international event.
“GAiN has been a fantastic experience,” said Munoz. “It was very exciting to see what is happening here in Europe and realize how we can all work together towards the mission of the Church.”
Jordache seconded. “One of the things I am impressed with, which also inspires me, is the emphasis at GAiN Europe on collaboration and synergy,” he said. “It’s tremendous insight for the rest of the world to [see Europe] come together and to create synergy for the sake of mission. And participants at GAiN Europe are not only discussing ideas, they are also creating models.”
According to Jordache, it’s all about “using technology and innovation for the sake of growing the kingdom of God around the world.”
Growing the kingdom of God was precisely the motivating force behind the Adventist Review effort to be present at GAiN Europe, according to executive director Bill Knott. “I am glad that our team was able to join me for this event. It has opened our eyes and inspired us to find more ways to work with our partners in Europe,” he said.
Knott delivered the opening keynote at this year’s GAIN Europe. Unpacking the story of two disciples on the road to Emmaus, found in Luke 24, he encouraged participants to “walk and talk together” and specifically communication professionals to foster collaboration through conversation and listening.
Participants also witnesses the presentation of a special lifetime achievement award, given to Matthias Mueller, who for many years served as general director of the EUD Media Center Stimme der Hoffnung. Mueller has also been the inspiration behind numerous projects in the field of Adventist communication, both at the European and global levels. Appreciation and gratitude was expressed publically by world and European communication
Networking for Mission Is Key
Toward the end of the conference, Costa congratulated all the participants and special guests for their support. “I feel happy and honored because this is a select group of leaders and communicators who use their talents and abilities to share the good news of salvation,” he said.
In his closing remarks, Cozzi also thanked all those who participated. “[The success of] this event was the result of real teamwork, he said.
At the same time, he reminded communicators about the most important lesson they should back home. “We have understood that we can become a great network of excellent communicators working together to support the great mission the Lord has entrusted to us,” he said.