Next week, April 14–18, Seventh-day Adventists in South Australia will celebrate their annual Big Camp convention . . . online. The local conference is partnering with the volunteer-based Living Ministry Media (LMM) team to host the event, which will feature music, prayer sessions and preaching.
“As soon as we found out Big Camp was to be cancelled [due to COVID-19 concerns], Living Ministry Media approached the SA Conference about the idea as a way of continuing to have a Big Camp experience and not cancelling it altogether,” said Andrew Ganczarczyk, LMM’s founder and coordinator. “We thought people needed something positive to look forward to; something to lift their spirits in these difficult times.”
The main speaker for Virtual Big Camp will be SA Conference president Pastor David Butcher, who has a strong sense of God’s leading in what has happened. “Our chosen theme, finalised months ago, was ‘For Such a Time’. Now, more than ever, this theme is relevant,” he told Record. “Society at the moment, with COVID-19, is in crisis. Our lives have been reshaped for us; there is fear and uncertainty everywhere. For me, the world and story of Elijah speak into our day and our space. The message will essentially be focused on being faithful in a threatening world.”
LMM, which is based in Adelaide, has been providing video/media support for Adventist events all over Australia and around the South Pacific region since 1994. When churches closed their doors in March, LMM swung into action and began providing a weekly livestreamed church service, which has attracted strong interest. Last Sabbath, April 4, 4500 views were recorded—not just from SA locations, but interstate and internationally. That’s at least 1000 more people than SA’s official Adventist membership. It’s expected that the Virtual Big Camp will attract even higher numbers.
“LMM has recently finished fitting out a production studio and Big Camp presenters will be livestreamed in this studio,” said Mr Ganczarczyk. “There will also be musicians and singers who will take part. It’s important that we keep everyone safe and follow social distancing requirements, so we’ll ensure the number of people in the studio is kept to a minimum.”
"The message will essentially be focused on being faithful in a threatening world."
The evening meetings and prayer times will run from Tuesday to Friday night, with morning sessions running from Wednesday through to Sabbath worship. Planning is still underway to maximise opportunities for viewers to interact during the Virtual Big Camp events. “We really look forward to not only having an experience with our church members, but to open this up to others in our community who are isolated and searching for answers and the truth at this time,” said Mr Ganczarczyk.
“There are no borders with digital,” said Pastor Butcher. “Hey, it’s Virtual Big Camp and livestreamed! So come and join us.”
The first of the Virtual Big Camp events kicks off at 7:30pm South Australian time, Tuesday, April 14. For more details, visit the Virtual Big Camp SA Facebook page. All programming will be live streamed by Living Ministry Media via their website and Facebook page.