May 14, 2024

How Media Leaders Are Shaping the Future of Evangelism in East Africa

East-Central Africa Division summit paves the way for future evangelistic push.

Hanna Drewieck, Hope Channel International
Delegates from various Hope Channel entities gather with presenters at the ECD media summit. [Photo: Benard Nyakoe Obare, Hope Media Network – ECD]

The recent East-Central Africa Division (ECD) Media Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, April 16-20, was a pivotal Seventh-day Adventist Church gathering aimed at harnessing media’s potential in evangelism, according to its organizers. The summit, themed “Hope-Fueled Media: Winning Souls Together,” was organized by Hope Media Network – ECD in collaboration with Hope Channel International (HCI)​​.

The event drew media leaders, journalists, technologists, and policymakers from across the division to share best practices, explore innovative methods, and discuss strategies to amplify the impact of gospel through media.

The East-Central Africa Division territory includes the countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Empowering Presentations

The summit featured special presenters from HCI, based at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, including Gideon Mutero, vice president for finance; Chanmin Chung, vice president for global media and engagement, and Phillip Mathew, assistant to the president of HCI. Each presenter addressed contemporary topics relevant to the evolving landscape of media evangelism.

ECD president Blasious Ruguri opened the summit with remarks praising the dedication of HCI’s leaders and highlighting the summit’s goal to equip media leaders so that ECD evangelism success can spill over into other divisions. Ruguri emphasized the importance of fully engaging with the training to maximize contributions to God’s mission.

The summit underscored the critical role of innovation, the need for constant adaptation within the media landscape, and the importance of collaboration and partnerships.

Reflections from Attendees

Insights from attendees and leaders of Hope Channel across Africa provide a vivid picture of the heartfelt commitments that are driving the mission forward, organizers said.

At the end of the training, Victor Nyacharo, communication leader at Nairobi Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, said, “I am looking forward to a diversification of content that will have different divisions collaborating to influence the growth of God’s church.”

“The recent training here will revolutionize our reach to unreached communities,” Markphalen Odiwuor from Migori Central Media Team said.

Neema S. Mwamfwagasi, communication director at Hope Channel Tanzania, shared her confidence in the potential reach of Hope Channel in that region. “I see the role of Hope Channel as a source of winning souls to Christ within the African media landscape,” she said.

As a result of the connections made during this training, Maureen Were, from West Kenya Union Conference, said, “Hope Channel is geared for great mission harvest.”

Looking Ahead: The “Homecoming” Evangelistic Series

Conventions like the ECD Media Summit play a crucial role in enhancing the effectiveness of major evangelistic campaigns by fostering an environment of learning and collaboration among media professionals, church media leaders said. Following the success of the Hope for Africa event in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2023, which resulted in 194,000 baptisms, the upcoming “Homecoming” evangelistic series is set to continue this momentum, they reported.

Organized by ECD, the evangelistic series will employ traditional evangelistic methods, featuring speakers at 30,000 locations across the 11 countries that constitute the ECD. Scheduled for July 6-20, 2024, prominent speakers including Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and Billy Biaggi, HCI board chair, will deliver preaching messages. Together with “Hope for Africa,” this initiative is part of “ECD Impact 2025,” designed to significantly boost the division’s outreach efforts, increase the number of members in the division, and contribute to HCI’s global vision of reaching a billion people by 2030.

“With numerous evangelistic sites spanning the region, our aim is to touch the lives of millions with the transformative message of God’s boundless love and grace,” ECD secretary Musa Mitekaro said. “Whether you call our ECD countries home or feel a spiritual connection to this region, we extend a warm invitation for you to participate in this historic endeavor.”

Hannah Drewieck is a communication specialist at Hope Channel International.