More than 180 aspiring digital evangelists from across the South Pacific Division (SPD) were equipped to share their faith more effectively on digital platforms at the Digital Discipleship Conference from May 5 to 7.
Participants from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand gathered in Parramatta (NSW) to hear featured keynote speakers experienced in digital evangelism across various mediums such as TikTok, YouTube, podcasts, gaming, Instagram and film.
The conference aimed to equip, inspire and motivate church members to share their faith using digital tools. Tim McTernan, the event organiser and Adventist Media marketing manager, highlighted the importance of using digital tools to promote spiritual growth, particularly among younger generations.
He shared the statistic that 46 per cent of Gen Z use TikTok on a weekly basis to make spiritual decisions. “If young people are going to social media for spiritual growth, what will they find? We need to be there. We need to be present to guide these young people and equip them with what the Bible says,” Mr McTernan added.
Speakers such as Justin Khoe, Pastor Colby Maier, Pastor Tim Gillespie, Dave Adamson, and film producer Terry Benedict shared their expertise in using media and digital platforms to spread the gospel and make disciples. The conference also offered workshop sessions on various topics, from building church social media plans to understanding the power of storytelling.
During the special awards dinner on Saturday, American film producer Terry Benedict, who co-produced the Oscar-nominated movie Hacksaw Ridge, highlighted the power of storytelling in conveying biblical principles and inspiring people to be better versions of themselves . He emphasised the need for creative people and storytellers “to create and tell stories based on biblical principles that people can relate to and apply in their own lives.”
A survey conducted after the event revealed positive feedback from attendees, with many expressing that they felt inspired and equipped to share their faith using digital tools.
Pastor Josh Stothers of Castle Hill Adventist Church expressed his excitement in applying the insights and tools learned from the conference to his local church’s digital ministries. “I’ve been a big advocate for digital discipleship in the Church for a few years now and was so excited from the get-go to be a part of this conference. I was also excited to go with a team from church and learn together,” he said.
“I plan to apply what I’ve learnt in a couple of ways: Firstly, I would love to continue to build up the digital ministries of the local church that I pastor and continue to work on our strategies as a team. I also really enjoy making short-form content for my personal social media and I got lots of awesome new tools and ideas from the event to test out,” Pastor Stothers added.
To continue supporting and encouraging church members and leaders, the digital discipleship team plan to upload the conference presentations to their website and social media pages, making the content accessible to church members worldwide.