On August 1, 2018, the Ellen G. White Estate entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Center for Online Evangelism (COE), forming a strategic partnership to boost the online influence of the Spirit of Prophecy writings.
Recognizing the evangelistic challenges that arise from the prominence of inaccurate, often derogatory online content about Seventh-day Adventists and Ellen White, both the White Estate and COE see value in collaborating to counteract such disinformation.
The White Estate’s mission is to preserve and share the legacy of Ellen White’s writings. Additionally, it has historically been the White Estate’s priority to utilize emerging media and technology in making Ellen White’s writings available to a wider audience in a variety of ways.
COE is a nonprofit organization of digital marketing professionals that provides industry-level training and resources to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
As the number of internet users and the hours spent consuming content via computers and mobile devices continue to increase, the White Estate understood the importance of making Ellen White’s content accessible and searchable online, while presenting it in relevant ways. Partnering with COE will allow the White Estate to focus on updating and expanding its content’s online accessibility, representation, distribution, and engagement.
A Complement to Project Caleb
The new agreement complements the mission of Project Caleb, COE’s initiative to expand and improve the web presence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, notably the works and reputation of Ellen White. An abundance of false claims and disinformation about Ellen White and the Spirit of Prophecy litters the internet, often appearing prominently in online searches. It has been an issue for well over a decade.
Project Caleb’s primary objective is to optimize Adventist content to rank higher in online search listings, causing the inaccurate or malicious content to become significantly less visible. With the considerable progress the White Estate has already made in digitizing, indexing, and distributing Ellen White’s writings, this paves the way for an optimization process with far-reaching ministry capabilities.
While attending the Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) conference in Orlando, Florida, United States, in early August 2018, White Estate director Jim Nix observed how many organizations use Ellen White quotes to promote and explain their ministries.
“This reminds us of the vital role she has played in the ministry and the history of our church,” Nix said. “She’s given us so much counsel in such a wide variety of areas.”
Nix explained the need for working on content optimization of Ellen G. White’s writings. “[On the internet], you’ll find things that are not true about Ellen G. White, or that are half-truths,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure that when you search the internet, what you find is factually accurate and helpful.”
Searching for Answers Online
Adding to the problem of high visibility of inaccurate content, research shows that millions of people search Google for answers to their spiritual questions. “Jesus,” “God,” and “Bible study” are consistently entered into the search box more times per day than many of today’s pop culture icons. COE and the White Estate feel that this data reveals an enormous ministry opportunity the Adventist Church cannot afford to miss.
Moving forward, both organizations anticipate the possibilities this partnership will make available in this new type of mission work. Combining digital marketing experience and strategies with the resources and expertise of the White Estate can help increase the search engine visibility of official Adventist and Ellen-White-centric websites, also positioning this content as answers to frequently Googled spiritual questions.
“We’re excited to work with the White Estate,” said COE executive director Ed Wagner. “And we look forward to the day when positive, truthful information about Ellen White will be prominent throughout the internet.”