“Predictions of Hope: Beyond Corona” with pastors Gary Webster and Robbie Berghan went live May 8-11, accumulating more than 6,000 livestream views and nearly 300,000 views overall, as well as 305 new contacts requesting access to the Beyond series and more than 400 registrations for “Hope Awakens,” the next installment of programs.
The four-night program was the first stage of a new, integrated funnel approach to online evangelism, never before attempted by the Adventist Church.
“Nothing like this has ever been done before on this type of scale, solely online and in this type of climate,” said Pastor Lyndelle Peterson, Australian Union Conference (AUC) personal ministries, Sabbath School, and stewardship director. “I was inspired by what we were able to achieve in such a short space of time when the conference, union, and South Pacific Division (SPD) collaborated.”
Peterson was heavily involved in organizing the project alongside a team of pastors and evangelists: Gary Webster (Tasmanian Conference president), Robbie Berghan (pastor of Glenorchy and Margate churches in Tasmania), Wayne Boehm (Hope Channel director), Fraser Catton (Pastor and special projects manager for the Victorian Conference), Andrew Jasper (Victorian Conference personal ministries director) and Hugh Heenan (North New Zealand Conference general secretary). Together, the team worked to ensure that the online campaign reached all nine Australian conferences.
In addition to watching the videos, viewers could access information and resources from Hope Discovery Centre to learn more.
“We put all the offers on the webpage so people could watch and request the Beyond series,” Boehm shared. “They had to text in a word and they got a link back to the offer. But this was only the first phase. The second phase began May 15 with the Hope Awakens series commencing.”
Organized in only three weeks, Predictions of Hope became a seed campaign designed to drive registrations to Hope Awakens with Pastor John Bradshaw, a four-week series connecting world events with biblical prophecy. After this, Zoom masterclasses will run at a conference level to connect attendees with local churches.
Digital Bible workers are being trained through a new online learning platform at learn.disciple.org.au to run the masterclasses.
“It’s really been a huge team effort, with Hope Channel doing all the work behind the scenes to coordinate the website, social media marketing, and advertising,” Peterson said. “At the AUC we’ve been coordinating with the personal ministry directors across all the conferences to make sure we’ve got enough digital Bible workers and pastors to follow up with the contacts we get and to run the Zoom masterclasses.”
Coordinators are pleased with the positive collaboration process in organizing the campaign, and the promising outcomes.
“This whole campaign has been an eye-opening experience to the power of social media for public evangelism and has taught us a lot about what messages work with different audiences, how different audiences interact with the material, and how to drive even more success for future campaigns,” Peterson explained. “By working in the online/digital sphere we are seeing so much more opportunity for collaboration, resource-sharing and working together on future projects.”
Boehm added, “It was good biblical preaching with current statistics and information on our current climate. Looking at views across YouTube and Facebook, people were being ministered to on the other side of the screen, and the numbers continue to grow every day.