The South American headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church launched, at the beginning of the year, a new project called ‘Digital Evangelism’. This initiative was created to evangelize through social media, especially through Facebook and WhatsApp. The project, led by the Digital Strategies Department of the Church in South America, organized groups of students from the four Theology Schools in South American Adventist Universities in order to teach Bible studies online.
Natanael Castro (28), a theology student at the Peruvian Union University, is the leader of 17 students in the fourth year of studies, with whom he has worked on a platform that allows internet users to receive a form that will allow them to log in and receive Bible studies, just by texting a key word via WhatsApp. The evangelists are in their senior year at the university. The team will review the answered lessons and will even provide some advice about some topics that may require the spiritual assistance of one of them.
The Peruvian Union University has been the first to go ahead with the plan. “As students, we want God to use us. This will help us in our pastoral education. It is a different format that many didn’t know about (internet evangelism) but now they do,” says Castro.
Pastor Walter Alaña, the Dean for the School of Theology at the Peruvian Union University, said that “this web evangelism project is a great opportunity for our students to develop new skills that will be useful in the times in which we are living. In this globalized world, it is essential that our youth are able to use all available technologies in order to advance with the preaching of the gospel.
Nowadays, theologian William Timm leads the digital evangelism team from the South American Adventist Headquarters, Roberto Roberti from Sao Paulo (Brazil), who is responsible for customer service, and Natanael Castro from Peru is responsible for the Bible studies and its support system together with his classmates.
For Carlos Magallanes, manager of digital strategies for the Adventist Church in South America, “this is an innovative project, because it brings together the human and digital touch. Connectivity through machines is linked to person-to-person contact. It also allows us to serve people in remote areas where Adventist presence is almost unknown.”
Internet Evangelism began in Brazil, this March, and it is expected to begin in a few weeks for Spanish speakers. “We are finishing the upload of the Bible lessons in Spanish ‘La Biblia Habla.’ Once the platform in Spanish is complete, we will begin,” says the student.
Statistics indicates that via WhatsApp, only in Portuguese, there are already 3,137 Bible students, and it is expected to provide the same attention to Spanish-speaking countries. There are no numbers regarding the Spanish web evangelism yet, because the project has not yet started.