In recent years, technology has been getting more prevalent in our daily lives. It is everywhere - in our financial systems, culture, entertainment, economics, education, communication and even the religious environment. Because of this, the Adventist Church in South America is looking for the best way to apply it in other areas. The belief is that, over the years, technology will be so present, people will not remember what life was like without technological development.
"Technology alone has no effect. What we make of it is what makes it good or bad. Our role, as a church, is to use technology to bring people together. The Church uses technology as a means and not as an end. The purpose is to bring people together,” said Marlon Lopes, the Adventist Church's chief financial officer for eight South American countries.
For Lopes, the role of church technology professionals is to use the tools intelligently to "expedite the preaching of the gospel." That is why many Adventist information technology professionals seek to apply their knowledge for the Church.
To manage the technological advances within the Adventist Church throughout South America, in 2017 the Adventist Institute of Technology (IATec) was inaugurated. Now, in 2019, the IATec Summit was held to bring together the technology professionals who work in the different administrative offices and institutions of the Adventist Church around the world. The Summit included participants from other continents, such as Africa, for example.
IATec Summit 2019
Held between April 28 and 30, the event brought together some 300 technology professionals working in different roles in the Adventist Church. Of this group, about 150 are employees of IATec, who work with other professionals in the area of technology around the world. "This event was a real milestone for our team,” says João Santos, who works in support and technological solutions at the Adventist Church's administrative headquarters throughout the state of São Paulo (União Central Brasileira). “In addition to uniting our industry, it provides a quality of lectures that help us to have insights for our projects.”
The event offered conversations on trends in technology in different areas, such as artificial intelligence, cloud solutions, data protection, big data, among others. Participants also gave workshops in discussed helping solve common technological difficulties in Adventist administrative offices and institutions.
The organizers of the event planned everything to instruct, motivate and integrate the employees of each administrative headquarters. "We believe that when we bring our team together, we better understand each other's needs and share even more solutions that are important for offices and churches to function well," says Eliezer Magalhães, director of IATec.
In addition to the devotions, lectures, workshops and the opportunity to meet colleagues from different places, the group also hosted the Adventist World Church President, Ted N.C. Wilson, as well as Erton Köhler, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America.
Wilson congratulated the professionals on their dedication to work, which he considers essential for the purposes of the Church. "This meeting, like the IATec office, represents a vital part of the strategy of presenting the biblical message to the world. See, we all use technological equipment, like cell phones and computers. Then these brilliant people who participate in this event are using the talents for the purpose of the Church. I praise God for that,” he said.