Communication and technology professionals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during its annual Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) conference will be challenged to help leaders reach areas of the world with little to no presence of Christianity.
Organizers of the GAiN conference have chosen “Wired for Mission” as the theme for this year’s conference, which will be held on the campus of Brazil Adventist University, Campus Engenheiro Coelho, in São Paulo Brazil, August 9-13.
Williams Costa Jr., director of communication for the Seventh-day Adventist world church, believes it’s vital for communicators to collaborate on ways to carry out the Church’s mission. “We can’t ignore the changes in the world. Technology exists to facilitate the dissemination of the gospel message,” said Costa. “GAiN is the annual forum that analyses new technology and we study how can we use these new tools to share God’s love.”
Registration for the GAiN conference opened on Tuesday, April 18 at 5:00 p.m. (EDT).
Tying into this year’s theme, “Wired for Mission,” directors of the Church’s six Global Mission Centers will present during the conference. Seventh-day Adventist Mission Centers include the Urban Mission Center, Center for South Asian Religions, Center for Secular and Postmodern Studies, Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations, Center for East Asian Religions, and World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center.
Homer Trecartin, director of the Global Mission Centers, is excited to have this first of its kind collaboration with the communication leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Trecartin and his team face numerous challenges as they strive to reach the 66 percent of the world’s population that live in the 10/40 window. “10/40 Window” is a term used by several Christian denominations to describe a geographical rectangle in the eastern hemisphere between the 10 and 40 northern lines of latitude (North Africa to Southeast Asia), most of whom have not yet heard the Gospel message.
“Even after 150 years of working, only 15% of our churches and members live there, and most of them are from Christian backgrounds,” said Trecartin. “We have made very little progress in reaching the millions of people from those 10/40 religions who have spread out around the world. In fact, 70% of the Hindus, Buddhist, and Muslims in the western countries say they don't have even one Christian friend.”
GAiN participants will have the opportunity to hear the unique blessings and challenges each Center faces in communicating the gospel to their target audience. Participants will also have the chance to offer their ideas for addressing the centers’ concerns.
“If we really believe that this gospel of the kingdom is to go to ALL the world, then we need to find ways to reach out to those who live around us but still haven't heard. That is why the church set up these centers - to help us find ways to reach every people group - even those from the 10/40 Window,” continued Trecartin. “The Centers have experience and resources to share. GAIN can help get the resources and training to our members and the good news of the gospel to those who have never heard.”
GAiN participants will also tour Novo Tempo, the largest Seventh-day Adventist production studio in the world, and the Adventist Church-operated Brazil Publishing House.
The Adventist world church communication team has also created a GAiN Slack channel for the GAiN community to allow users to get information and exchange ideas before and after the conference. Slack is an online instant-messaging application that also manages files.
Brent Hardinge, assistant director of communication for web management, started the Slack channel for GAiN because it “gives Adventist communicators and technologists a place to collaborate and have conversation throughout the year. It allows a member to share their ideas, grow and learn from each other,” said Hardinge.
A unique addition to the annual conference has been its “Project Slams,” which provides opportunities for individuals and teams to present their projects in seven minutes. “The Project Slams have proven very popular,” said Jennifer Stymiest, news director for the Adventist Church. “It also gives attendees a great way to hear about projects and tools they might not have, and even gives them an opportunity to collaborate with each other.”
On August 7 and 8, the General Conference Office of the Chief Information Officer will host information technology (IT) meetings for those working in IT for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The meetings will be held in Hortolandia, Sao Paulo, Brazil at IATec - South American Division's IT development company.
Those attending will tour IATec to learn about the organization and projects of the South American Division. Other agenda items will include a security seminar, presentations and discussions about division projects, plans for future collaboration in key areas, and a tour of the new Adventist Cloud.
You can stay up-to-date on Twitter by following @GAiNcon and the hashtag #GAiN17. You can also find additional updates on Facebook at Facebook.com/GAiNCon.