Statements by Adventist Leaders
Jan Paulsen was president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from 1999 to 2010. Speaking of the challange to share the gospel in the geographical area of the "10/40 Window" stretching from western Africa to eastern Asia, Pastor Paulsen stated:
"We have to recognize that the opportunities that come to us as a community of faith to be actively engaged in reaching the general public, are very limited for many reasons. They are limited by cultural and religious situations which prevail, but they also in some places are limited by the laws of the land. I think that the media we use, both through radio, television, and Internet -- and not least the Internet -- will have a huge impact on our capacity to reach people in other cultures or in geographical areas where our physical access is very limited, and in some places even impossible. There is no doubt in my mind that Internet evangelism is going to give us a possibility that far exceeds what we've been able to do through the other media. I think that our opportunities in Internet evangelism are really, virtually, unlimited." (ANN Interview).
Ted Wilson is the current President of the General Conference, having served in that position since 2010. During his Presidential Report to the 2015 General Conference Session held in San Antonio, Texas USA, Elder Wilson made the following statement on Cyberspace Evangelism: "Recognizing the power of today's technology, the (Adventist) church places strong emphasis on utilizing the Internet and media in proclaiming Christ and His three angels' messages. One way to do that is through GAiN--the Global Adventist Internet Network, a community of Seventh-day Adventist technologists and communicators sharing the gospel via the Internet. We praise the Lord for dedicated professionals who reach out through cyberspace to gain souls for Christ. (Adventist Review GC Session Bulletin, July 3, 2015).
Williams Costa Jr. is the Communication Director for General Conference. At the Global Adventist Internet Network (GAiN) Forum held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, he urged a greater committment to Web platform design and use of social media for evangelism and ministry:
"A greater commitment to the design of Web technology and use of social media will yield more effective results in the ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church".
Williams urged the church to increase its financial commitment to the design of information-sharing through the Web, as well as for administrators to further embrace the two-way communication that is offered by social media, which has become an industry standard: "It's better for leaders to be prepared for interaction. If you want to be heard you need to hear. Corporations are listening because it's the essence of communication today." (ANN Report, GAiN 2011)
Mark Finley was the Speaker/Director for the "It Is Written" TV ministry and now serves as the Assistant to the General Conference President for matters relating to global evangelism. In a presentation given at a GIEN Forum event, Pastor Finley stated:
"It is incredibly important that we take advantage of the rapidly growing internet to reach the otherwise unreachable."
Mark offered two Bible passages that have profound application to the Internet:
"I know thy works, I have set before thee an open door and no man can shut it" (Revelation 3:8). The Internet is an open door that governments cannot keep their people from logging onto and they can no longer keep the gospel away from the people. "To the weak became I as weak, that I may win the weak: I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some" (I Corinthians 9:22). The church would be derelict in its duty to the gospel if we bypassed the use of the Internet. I'm profoundly convinced that the Internet is a powerful means for evangelism. Pastor Finley also quoted two exerpts from the writings of Ellen White which he felt were very applicable to the development of Internet ministry for evangelism purposes: Evangelism page 123: "Let every worker in the Master's vineyard, study, plan, devise methods to reach the people where they are. Evangelism page 70: "Men of varied gifts to be brought in to the work."
Doug Batchelor is the President and Speaker/Director for the Amazing Facts media ministry. In an AF magazine interview he shared his passion for using the Internet for evangelism:
"I have been amazed by the evangelistic potential of the Internet. Ten to fifteen years ago I began getting caught up by the evangelistic potential of media in general. I was meeting people who were completely grounded in the faith, and they got much of it through consistently studying, watching TV programs, and listening to radio. They really understood the message. Our message is a message of the Word - that's what changes lives. And you can communicate the Word through written form, in audio form, through visuals - because visual just enhances the audio presentation. But the Internet is a medium that combines all of those. You can get the visuals; you can read the content; you can hear it. And I've come to be so amazed at the evangelistic potential it holds. I know the Internet is something of a tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But it can be a very powerful and positive medium of communication. We have a team of 12 evangelists constantly doing public evangelism, and yet at the same time we see the exponential growth of the Internet in media.