OO ver 3,000 people were baptized into the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after a robust media evangelism campaign. Amazed at the results, church leaders in Kinshasa assert that this harvest was a miracle “because even Covid-19 could not quarantine the word of God”. They called it a “Pentecost.”
Pastor Alain Coralie, the East-Central Africa Division’s (ECD) Executive Secretary, who was also the main speaker during the campaign, attests to the divine power that accompanied him throughout the two-week long campaign in front of the screen.
Initially, Pastor Coralie was supposed to conduct this campaign physically in Kinshasa. However, traveling was made difficult because of the new coronavirus pandemic that led to impassable travel restrictions. It was a challenge for the Adventist church in the West Congo Union Mission because they had been preparing for a powerful satellite evangelism that would reach French speaking countries in ECD and abroad. They had planned on such a large scale that they had named the crusade “Impact 2020”.
The church leadership, in partnership with the laity, had built a modern center with studios and other equipment for the evangelism campaign to be broadcast. Many translators were preparing for service because no local language was to be left out. Everything seemed to be in place until they realized that traveling and congregating would not be possible.
Without delay, the West Congo Union mission leadership consulted with Pastor Coralie, who had also been praying to God to pave a new way for His mission. The last thing they wanted to see was the cancellation of these evangelistic efforts. Through prayer, God transformed the challenge into an opportunity. It was decided that Pastor Coralie would record the message to be broadcast and shared through the media. However, Adventist media platforms in DRC is still fledging. Alone, it could not be effective for the campaign.
By applying the concept of Total Member Involvement, church members, Adventist institutions and lay Adventist ministries decided to negotiate space in the mainstream media regardless of their ownership. Much to their relief, God had prepared all the media houses. The latter were affable and cooperative. While some big media houses charged affordable amounts, many television and radio stations agreed to air the message free of charge. In total, there were more than 10 television and 20 radio stations airing the message; not to mention social media platforms. Some Lay Adventist ministries went further and bought media space in neighboring countries such as Rwanda. The synergy of media platforms has propelled the gospel so much so that no corner in the region was unreached. Though media provides a strong platform, without the intervention of other evangelism methods, their strength would be insufficient. In these evangelistic efforts, each church member had to invite someone, urging them to listen or to watch and call centers for questions and answers were established to manage feedback. There were compassionate ministries organized in prisons and bibles were distributed in several markets.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is the biggest country in the East and Central Africa Division. Although the church has three union missions, the number of Adventists is still very low in comparison to the population. Besides the size, the transportation infrastructure is very poor. Forests and big rivers without bridges do not allow missionaries to penetrate some unentered areas. Thanks to technology, media broke all those challenges and that also showed that investing in them for missions would be wiser.
The success of this campaign has now prodded the division into launching similar evangelistic
meetings thus exploring the strength of media amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.