Global Tech Summit Emphasizes Digital Avenues to Accelerate Church's Mission

South American Division

Global Tech Summit Emphasizes Digital Avenues to Accelerate Church's Mission

The first Adventist Technology Summit brought together IT leaders from around the world to enhance digital tools and evangelize more broadly.

Technology | Brazil | Charlise Alves

Brazil hosted the first Adventist Technology Summit (ATS). The event, coordinated by the Adventist Church's world headquarters, took place on June 26–29, 2023, in Hortolândia, São Paulo, where the denomination's only technology center, the Adventist Institute of Technology (IATec), is located. IT directors and administrators from the 13 divisions (the church offices responsible for a number of countries) met with the purpose of growing together in the digital realm and fulfilling the mission of taking the message of Jesus to all peoples of the globe.

For Richard Stephenson, the denomination's global associate finance director and Adventist Technology Summit coordinator, "IATec has been a blessing, and we want the wider church to see what God is doing here." Pastor Williams Costa Jr., director of Communication for the General Conference, revealed that "in no country is there the concentration, quantity, and quality of what is done in Brazil, in using cutting-edge technology to carry the message of salvation. I praise God because Brazil has been a reference in technology to attract people to Jesus and to confirm people's faith."

Pastor Paul Douglas, GC treasurer, emphasized the importance of unity as a strategy. He challenged participants to have synergy: when individuals or entities join efforts or resources to increase effectiveness. "Through digital means, we are able to go further, faster, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ," he assured.

Régis Reis, general director of IATec, presented the main tools developed by the technology center to optimize processes of administrative headquarters and institutions and the applications that assist members and friends of the church in communication, such as Feliz7play, 7Me and Bible Plan.

Growing Together

More than 140 countries already use IATec's systems and solutions. On the occasion, IT directors from the Philippines, Singapore, England, Germany, Russia, the Middle East, Romania, and many other places had the opportunity to get a closer look at the work done by IATec, which is considered a model for other countries.

"When it comes to the World Church, in the purpose of converging efforts in the use of technology to fulfill the mission that has been given to us, the efforts that need to be made are much greater and proportional to the challenges that our planet faces. But I believe that the seed has been planted in the hearts of all divisions for this goal, and with God's blessing, we will see many miracles happen," emphasizes Reis.

More than 30 lectures were held in three days of meeting, in which subjects on data governance and security and privacy, digital media strategies, artificial intelligence, and other topics were discussed. The fourth and final day was reserved for participants to visit Rede Novo Tempo de Comunicação, the largest Adventist Church content producer in the world. For Stephenson, "The idea of the meeting was to learn from each other, better understand the tools and solutions used in other countries, explore opportunities to work together to create synergies, and focus on the mission."

"One of the central aspects of this conference is to use synergy as a strategy. I believe and hope that this conference here will be a step forward for us to work together. From our part in Europe, where I come from, we will do our best," stresses Klaus Popa, director of the Adventist Church Media Center in Europe.

Around the World

The world has 8 billion people. Of these 22 million are Seventh-day Adventists; that is, there is one member for every 364 people on the planet. This data highlights the work that still needs to be done by the church, leaders and members alike, to fulfill the mission given by Jesus. "If you don't love in real life, you don't love in digital, and nothing happens," warns Pastor Sam Neves, associate director of Communication for the GC. He also points out that "in addition to biblical education, people need love. That's how transformation happens."

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.