Evangelist Mark Finley, one of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s most recognized television presenters, is ready for a month-long “It Is Written” public campaign that will broadcast from Kiev, Ukraine, globally via satellite.
The Kiev broadcast, dubbed “ACTS 2005,” will be held in the Ukrainian capital’s International Center of Culture and Arts, and will help bring down the curtain on one of the more audacious claims of former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev.
Finley will speak from the same stage where, in 1960, Khrushchev gave one of the most widely reported speeches of his political career. In what was then called October Palace, Khrushchev declared that within 25 years, religion would be “stamped out” in the nation.
Instead of seeing religion eliminated, however, the former Soviet Union opened its doors to people of faith not long after the supposed deadline. Today thousands anticipate the start of the ACTS 2005 event. More than 65,000 people across Russia and the former Soviet Union are engaged in Bible studies in advance of the meetings, and between 1,500 and 2,000 people are expected to sit in the same auditorium Khrushchev used, to hear the gospel proclamation.
Along with the local audience, more than 1,200 locations around the Euro-Asia church region will receive the nightly meetings via satellite or videotape. In Novosibirsk, a potential audience of 2 million will have access to the meetings via the “Young Culture” cable system, whose manager told an It Is Written staffer, “I want to show what true Christians are like.”
Finley added that the preparations in the region—which included a day of fasting and prayer on Feb. 19—have given him a “sense that God is moving powerfully” in advance of the event.
“To the [Seventh-day Adventist] church in the region it is certainly exciting and a major miracle,” to have this event, he said.
During the same time as the ACTS 2005 meetings in Kiev, Doug Batchelor of Amazing Facts, a media ministry that also hosts a College of Evangelism, will hold the NET 2005 satellite evangelistic campaign in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, March 4 to 26. Each speaker will tape a weekly update message for use at the other’s event, Finley said.
In addition, Finley, speaker emeritus of “It Is Written,” an Adventist television outreach, will chair the Global Internet Evangelism Network (GIEN), a community of evangelists and technologists who are committed to using the Internet to share the gospel. The group meets annually to review and plan strategies for online outreach. Its next session is scheduled for Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 1 to 4, 2005.
Looking beyond Kiev, Finley said the Global Internet Evangelism Network is critical for future Adventist church outreaches.
“I believe the Internet has as much potential for evangelism in my view as anything else the church is doing today,” he told ANN in an interview. In India, people will line up at carts toting computers to gain Internet access, he said, and in other countries in the so-called “10/40 Window,” he added, “millions are logging on. The potential for sharing Jesus, values and the quality of life Seventh-day Adventists espouse is enormous.” (The 10/40 Window is a term used to describe a geographical rectangle that extends from West Africa, through the Middle East, and into Asia. In this rectangle, more than 60 percent of the world’s population lives, mostly in poverty.)
Finley said he would work closely with John T. Banks, associate communication director of the world church, who is the church’s liaison to the GIEN committee, on future plans.
The idea, he said, is for GIEN “not to be a ‘status quo’ group, but to put ideas into practice for the benefit of the church.”
He said he wants to “harvest the creative talents and abilities of extremely capable lay people and put them into practice in the life of the Adventist Church.”
More information on the Kiev meetings can be found at http://www.itiswritten.org; the Global Internet Evangelism Network’s Web site ishttp://gien.adventist.org