By Tysan, 24 July 2019 | Adventists are rapidly learning to use new technology in many areas of the world, including developing nations. During June 4 through 8, 2019, over 400 delegates from Adventist churches in Tanzania gathered together at the International Conference Center in Arusha for a five-day Global Adventist Internet Network (GAIN) conference, exploring ways to better utilize technology, media, and the internet in advancing the mission of the Adventist Church.
Dr. Godwin Lekundayo of the Northern Tanzania Union Conference summarized the goal of the event with his opening statement, “We should all know that this media we call our own is not really meant for us, but is meant to save people from out there. … I urge you to use all the potentials which God has invested in your for the purpose of ministry.”
Continued community development, improved crisis communication plans, creative outreach, and networking were at the forefront of the meeting.
The first day commenced with a presentation of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA), providing an overview of laws regarding media, technology and the internet. It was followed by local tours in the community and at the University of Arusha, providing information on how the mission and the community are impacted by technology.
Digital content for evangelism was the focus of another day, in which an expansion in TV broadcasting, especially through the Hope Channel, has spread around the world and has had tangible results. Other creative mediums for digital evangelism, such as apps, websites, podcasts, and the like were also displayed. There was also discussion of the environmental impacts of technology, such as minimized paper usage.
Presentations included a focus on the local level, such as in improving communication among church offices, assisting them in working together more harmoniously. For example, Prince Bahati, communication director of the denomination’s East Central Africa Division, explained how immediate and organized communication helps avert confusion in times of crises, whether they be in regards to public relations or natural disasters. He pointed out that by keeping quiet when there are questions from journalists, one may actually provide them with more reason to probe into issues.
Tysan is a correspondent for Adventist Today based in Tanzania.