An event designed to connect Seventh-day Adventists around the world will launch on May 19, 2021. The Adventist Virtual Global Campmeeting, a first-of-its-kind event for the Adventist Church, will see thousands of church members log in to worship, learn, and be inspired, organizers said.
The May 19-23 event will feature hundreds of presentations, seminars, and workshops on six tracks: discipleship, education, health ministries, media ministries, mission and outreach, and theology. It will also include roundtable discussions with church leaders, continuing education credits for pastors and teachers, and a virtual exhibit hall where Adventist organizations will share their resources for mission.
“We are expecting about 100,000 registrants for the event,” Tim Aka, an associate treasurer of the Adventist Church and coordinator of the event, told Adventist Review. “[People] are registering from around the world.” According to Aka, as of May 17, 75,000 have registered. The top five countries where registrants to the event come from are the United States, Kenya, the Philippines, Zambia, and Nigeria. Also, a significant number of young members are interested, Aka said. “About 28 percent of the registrants are between the ages of 18 and 34, and 24 percent are between 35 and 49,” he said.
Organizers shared that according to current data, more than 400 seminars and presentations are planned, and 114 exhibitors have registered for a virtual booth at the exhibit hall. Exhibitors include General Conference departments, world church divisions, Adventist universities and health-care institutions, publishers and media ministry outlets, and supporting ministries, organizers said.
Exhibitors will showcase “interactive booths with many resources that they will share with visitors to tell them about their ministries, to help train them for the gospel mission, to download, and to build their ministry network,” Aka said. He added that guests will be able to interact with live representatives at the booths through text or video chats. Also, “there will be some fun activities like a scavenger hunt featuring the new Heroes II game,” he said.
The event will include 13 keynote speakers from around the world, including Adventist international evangelists Mark Finley and Alejandro Bullón, 3ABN TV network vice-president/COO Jill Morikone, Adventist Church associate general counsel Jennifer Gray Woods, and U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black. “We have some of the most learned theological scholars, very experienced health experts, education leaders, and ministry innovators,” Aka emphasized.
As a truly global event, the programming will run around the clock, serving three main programming regions: Asia-Pacific, Euro-Africa, and the Americas. Most of the programs are in English; however, organizers said, some presentations will be in Spanish, along with a complete Spanish Saturday (Sabbath) program. Keynote speakers’ presentations and Friday evening and Sabbath programs will be translated into several languages, they said.
The Virtual Adventist Global Campmeeting is a free event that anyone is welcome to attend according to organizers, and they are advising those interested to sign up on the event site. They also reviewed the overarching goal of the virtual campmeeting. “Our goal is to bring the world church together to study, to pray, to be encouraged, and to prepare for the mission challenges that we face,” Aka said. In a nod to a worldwide church initiative that seeks to empower every Adventist member for mission, he said, “Our theme is ‘I Will Go,’ and we hope we can help inspire and equip our members to take up that calling.”
Aka detailed other goals for the virtual campmeeting. “We hope that the event will be a blessing to our members, so they can solidify their faith foundations, to see the breadth and depth of the church, and get involved in mission,” he said. “For our exhibitors, we hope that this event will connect them to more members who might share their vision about ministry and help strengthen and spread their work.”
Organizers said they hope to learn more about how church members choose to interact with an online event. It is something that could inform their efforts to plan and improve for future events, including the scheduled 2022 General Conference Session Virtual Exhibition.
Overall, Aka said, organizers are confident the Adventist Virtual Global Campmeeting will be a positive experience. “We have seen God’s leading and blessings as we prepared for this event,” he said. “We pray that it will be a blessing to the members and will glorify God.”