New ways to use technology showcased at gain

Many of the attendees are communication directors from their conferences, unions, and divisions. They are looking for ideas that will help them run their departments more effectively. David Panjaitan, communications director from an Indonesian union, told me he has especially appreciated hearing about ways to more effectively send sermons to people’s cell phones through apps.

There are app developers and designers and journalists. Elisâgela Henrirque is commercial manager for Adore FM 98.1 in São Paulo, Brazil. David Siguelnitzky is president of Herbert Fletcher University, an online distance-learning institution of the Inter-American Division. Joseph Wambura from Tanzania has created a new social network for Adventists called Hopelink. And Daryl Gungadoo lives in England and runs an innovation lab for the Adventist Review.

He showed some of the most well-known models of change (the Kübler-Ross model, Lewin’s model, Prochaska’s model, and more). He said that before any organization changes, it is important that leadership really understands exactly what they are trying to do and why they are trying to do it. And then communication is key. What looks like resistance to change is often a lack of clarity. Understanding the stages of change and planning carefully for change can help it to be successful.

Costa reported that he has consulted with the division presidents, asking them whether they want the communication training in their divisions. Many — including the East-Central Africa Division, the Southern Asia Division and the West-Central Africa Division — were enthusiastic, requesting training in specific parts of their territories. The Trans-European Division said it needs time to consult with its conference and union leaders first, and the Inter-European Division wants to see how the training goes in other places before taking it up. The North American Division supports the training and suggests partnering with Adventist Learning Community.

Joseph Wambura, a softward developer from Tanzania, has created a new social network called Hopelink: “the first that can be used 100% to do the work of God,” he says. It has a news feed similar to other apps, but in Hopelink the “Like” button is replaced with an “Amen” button. There are pages for giving testimonies, Bible discussion, church events, and witnessing. The Hopechat live messaging service lets users see what the other person is typing in real time, instead of waiting for them to send the message. Wambura says the Hopelink platform will help Adventists interact with each other but also share with people outside the church. Hopelink can be downloaded from the Google Play store.

Jennifer Woods, associate general counsel at the GC, gave a presentation about the new European General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which came into effect in May 2018. She stressed that it is important to be familiar with the guidelines, as some people’s work may fall under its umbrella, and even if not, the guidelines are best practice so should be given serious consideration. Breaching these new privacy laws can prompt hefty fines.

The church’s news system needs a complete overhaul, according to Brent Hardinge and Jennifer Stymiest, both assistant directors in the GC communications department, and Costin Jordache, director of communication and news editor for Adventist Review Ministries. They talked about how inefficient it currently is for them to aggregate news stories for the Adventist News Network and to transfer stories across over 150 different GC websites with different content management systems.

Any Adventist entity listed in the SDA Yearbook will be able to become a “provider” to the library. The system will eventually have a copyediting and translation service available to help evolve the content if needed. In the Global News App, all stories will be available together in one place. Publishers can choose to be notified about new stories in specific streams, if they wish. Each story will reference its origin when published somewhere else.

Sam Neves, associate director for internet and social media, counseled not to ever say “No comment” when a reporter calls. Always take the call, and if you don’t know the answer, promise to find out and call them back. Then stay on message. If a reporter tells you it’s “off the record,” don’t ever believe them, Neves said. Don’t ever lie. If you accidentally give incorrect information, call back and correct the record. The truth will always come out.