Technology Takes 'Festival of Faith' Global
8 November 2010 Newbold College, Bracknell, UK [Katie Ramharacksingh, BUC NEWS]
The Newbold 'Festival of Faith', which commenced on Monday evening, 8 November, succeeded in reaching out to hundreds beyond the environs of church and college through the help of around 45 volunteers. With the programme 'live-streamed' each night and then made available for broadcast on demand, the Newbold Media website generated over 6,500 visits through the week with an average of 100 viewers online each evening. The power of advertising on Facebook was highlighted by the fact that
75% of online viewers were directed to the website from Facebook links and adverts posted by the team and supporters of the programme.
Those contributing throughout the week included the media team, worship leaders, and musicians. Vili Costescu, Communication team leader at Newbold church and a student of the College, had decided on the idea of streaming the services live to spread the message even further than the church seats. He was able to gather together quality equipment and brilliant help to implement the technical side which proved to be quite effective in reaching people outside Newbold's doors. At the week's high point, the online chat reached 47 people, all of who were discussing the programme and topics. Involving viewers in a live chat was one of the new elements introduced in this year's Festival of Faith, the aim was for the online viewers to play an active part in the programme, and as we had people joining us and commenting from every continent, we can say that this is something we will be using again! In fact, Newbold church has decided to use this from 7 to 8 pm on Sabbath, 4 December at their monthly Moor Close Talks, with Pastor Patrick Johnson speaking on 'Why Is Jesus the Only Way?'
Pastor Kirsten Øster-Lundqvist explained the importance of connecting with those that live outside of campus: "Some of the students that live further away aren't always able to stay involved with these programmes, but because of the technology involved in this year's Festival of Faith, we were able to reach even larger numbers than the nightly 175 that came to the church service." The week's speaker, Japhet De Oliveira, Director for the Centre for Youth Evangelism, and Chaplain for Missions at Andrews University, left listeners inspired and refreshed, ready to be a follower of Jesus in 2010.
The Festival of Faith had an impact locally as well as online. The programme
concluded with the baptism of three young people on Sabbath, 13 November. Alexandra Horvath, Peter Liebhardt and Lila Simon each chose to be baptised, responding positively to the question Pastor Japhet had been posing all week: "Jesus. All. What else is there?"
One candidate, Peter, told about how he had worked so actively in the church that he felt he was losing his connection with God. After being approached by Pastor Øster-Lundqvist, he started Bible studies and found he was able to rediscover God in his life. Many similar responses were given by those who either watched online or attended the programmes in person, with several people coming during the week for Bible studies and many more experiencing a new commitment to serving in church.
While surrounded by 'gadgetry', Pastor Japhet also believes in something very simple: "I like to pause in my life to take a 'memory photo' occasionally. Last week was full of pauses, just because of Jesus." While he was there to share he equally gained a massive blessing himself as he heard and saw the stories of those seeking to follow Jesus. "It was phenomenal," Japhet added. "I personally was inspired by the entire experience. If I had one highlight, it would be all the conversations with those who told me they have come back to Jesus....and with Jesus' stripes we are healed." [Isa 53:5]
The week's videos, along with a picture gallery, can be found online at Newbold Church Media. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor
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tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.