Adventist New Dispatch/ANN Staff
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Southeast Asia and Indonesia is looking at new ways to expand its Internet presence. A May 22 to 23 Internet evangelism training seminar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, brought in 44 delegates from Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, East and West Indonesia. The presentations at the first such event in the region was themed Internet—Are We There Yet?
Rajmund Dabrowski, world director of communication for the Adventist Church, opened the seminar with a presentation describing the Internet as the domain of the “natives” or that of the present generation—the iGeneration.
The population of Internet users is swelling, Dabrowski said. “The community bred on virtual reality is expanding, leaving much of our societies marooned in cyberspace. Unless we act now, for many tomorrow’s progress may be lost. It’s time to think quick and do something ... about our tomorrow,” said Dabrowski.
“For today’s generation literature is the Internet. So is shopping, banking and entertainment. Many among our youth have largely abandoned traditional media as a source of information, education and communicating, and have instead opted for the quick, user- friendly, and on-demand medium of the Internet,” he added.
“This concept of communication led us to rethink our position on where to put our resources,” said Jonathan Catolico, communication director for the Adventist Church in the Southern Asia-Pacific region and initiator of the training program. “That’s why we are here—to find out where we are and how we are going to proceed with this very important medium of reaching the unreached millions of Internet users.”
Presentations included some of the following: Community, Connection, Mission and Writing for the Web, Graphic and Motion Design and Photo-editing and Layout for Web, Audio Production for Web and Online News Production and Web Publishing.
Several church administrators also participated. Garth Anthony, president of the Adventist church in Cambodia, said he came to the meeting because he “wanted to know first hand what his technologists are talking about.”
“These exercises are highly technical categorizing us ‘immigrants’ on the Internet thing,” said Francis Lajanim, president of the Adventist Church in Sabah, Malaysia. “However, we saw the versatility of this technology to deliver our message to the wired generation, thus, we feel obliged to tap the ‘natives’ of this medium to bring us ‘in’ in the society of modern communicators.”
According to Catolico, inspiration for the Malaysia seminar came from the 2nd Global Internet Evangelism Network (GIEN) forum held last year in Bangkok, Thailand. “We wanted to bring it closer to where the church in our territories is. There is a lot of interest and excitement about the use of this new technology in our mission,” he said.
The next GIEN international forum is scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept.3, in San Diego, California. According to John Banks, coordinator of the event, and associate director for communication at the world church headquarters, this year’s event will feature the issues of secular society and post-modernism relative to Christian content development for the Internet. See: ]http://gien.adventist.org/2006index.html”] www.gien.adventist.org[/url].