Fox Valley Seventh-day Adventist Community Church (Wahroonga, NSW) was abuzz with excitement for the official launch of the I AM series on Sabbath afternoon.
Youth wearing I AM t-shirts created a positive vibe, giving a cheerful welcome to those attending the launch. Castle Hill youth led out in a praise and worship music session, and there was popcorn and lemonade to enjoy while watching the first I AM episode: Is there more to life?
A joint project of Greater Sydney Conference (GSC) and Adventist Media, I AM is an innovative new outreach resource for young professionals to introduce Jesus to their colleagues, classmates and friends. It includes a 13-part video series, along with a participant’s guide, which includes notes from all of the episodes as well as reflection questions and further resources to explore.
In a video message screened during the launch, former GSC president, Pastor Michael Worker, said it was exciting to see the I AM vision realised.
“I would love to see Adventist young people sharing it with their friends in small groups . . . sharing faith, sharing what Jesus means for them,” said Pastor Worker, who is now the secretary for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia.
“Beyond that I see great possibilities in the digital world . . . inviting those people who are watching online to join up in meet-up groups or small groups in homes, in cafes, in churches, to continue those conversations; building relationships, sharing faith and ultimately growing God’s kingdom.
“I’m just excited to see what God will do with this series as we commit to His glory.”
Conference personal ministries director Dr Sven Ostring has led the project from the outset and is one of the three I AM presenters. He and the other two presenters, Maryellen Fairfax and Pastor Ray Moaga, and Adventist Media cinematographer Nick Lindsay, who was involved in filming the series, took part in a panel discussion, talking about some of the joys and challenges of working on the project.
A second panel discussion involved people who have run I AM as a pilot program, including Caringbah church (Sydney) youth leader Tim Grant. When he heard about I AM “I was just instantly moved by the Holy Spirit”.
“I just thought if this is as good as it presents here, this is going to do amazing things and I want to be a part of that process. I couldn’t help but want to be involved.”
Pastor Daniel Przybylko ran a pilot program at Parramatta Central church. “One thing I have found is that sometimes [I AM participants] go away having more questions and that’s a good thing because it begins a conversation that you can continue on a one-on-one level,” he said.
“Because in a small group, [with a] limited time frame, there is only so much you can discuss and so I’ve found that it’s a good thing to go deeper with people that you are already connected with.”
Pastor Anders Svensson ran I AM as an online group to see how it would work in the digital space. “I just began advertising on Facebook . . . I started a group, the I AM group, which was linked in with our Camden church Facebook page and we had about 19 people join the group.”
Mr Grant said it was easy to run the program. “It was not where you needed a lot of knowledge, the resources are really helpful,” he said. “It opened up questions and conversations which may be harder to happen normally, so it was really good like that.”
The launch also included musical items, a quiz and prizes. A prayer of dedication was offered at the conclusion of the event.
To find out more about I AM, go to iam.org.au.