Communication leaders gather to exchange ideas and explore new strategies in media

SPD communication and media leaders and international guests.

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Communication and media leaders from the South Pacific Division (SPD) recently convened in Wahroonga (Sydney, Australia) to exchange ideas and explore new strategies to advance the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church through media.

Hosted by Adventist Media, the SPD Media and Communications Advisory took place on May 7-9 after the Digital Discipleship Conference. The event brought together local leaders as well as international guests: General Conference associate director of communication Pastor Sam Neves, Hope Channel International vice president of programming Pastor Vyacheslav Demyan and Trans-European Division associate communications director Vanesa Pizzuto.

Under the theme “Sharing our story”, the discussions centred around opportunities and challenges of engaging not only the broader community, but also effectively communicating with the Church’s own members. 

SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend joined the group on May 8, and he emphasised the significance of communication and media as a key strategic focus for the Division.

“We want to have media saturation in television, radio, digital as much as we can because I know it will have an impact,” he said.

He also offered a word of encouragement: “I just wanted to come along and encourage you as a group. What you do in connecting with people . . .  it actually makes an incredible difference.”

Pastor Neves addressing the group.

During the advisory, Pastor Neves delivered an update from the General Conference, along with a presentation on leveraging artificial intelligence to help with content creation. Sanitarium Health Food Company head of corporate communications Julie Praestiin provided valuable insights into the organisation’s successful digital strategy. Additionally, the program featured inspiring case studies by Ole Pedersen from Hope Channel New Zealand, Pastor Robbie Berghan from Faith FM and John Tausere from the Trans Pacific Union Mission.

Beyond the informative sessions, the gathered provided an excellent opportunity for networking, idea sharing, and exploring avenues for mutual support and collaboration. 

Reflecting on the meetings, Pastor Neves said he was inspired. “Unity is a biproduct of God’s presence. I felt the Holy Spirit as every media entity represented humbly surrendered their own agenda to follow where God was leading all of us,” he said. 

“God has called very competent and humble professionals across the South Pacific Division, and I can’t wait to see the results of their ministry as lives are transformed across the territory.”

Adventist Media CEO Dr Brad Kemp said, “We have an incredible team of communicators and media leaders across our Division who often work with very little to achieve incredible results. 

“As I look at what is happening I am convinced that God is at work and using the tools of media such as radio, print, television and social media to share the good news of Jesus. Our coming together for just a few days was time well spent as we considered how to be more effective in our work of sharing Jesus.”

Some of the communication leaders who attended the advisory.
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