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News from around the world.

Excellence in Ministry Award

Palm Harbor, Florida, United States—John Sweigart, ministerial secretary of the Kansas-Nebraska Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, received the Excellence in Ministry Award from the North American Division (NAD) at the Adventist Ministries Convention held in Palm Harbor, Florida, United States, on January 15–18, 2012.

According to Ivan Williams, NAD ministerial director, Sweigart was chosen because of his com­mitment to evangelism, pastors, and training elders, deacons, and deaconesses.

The award brochure stated, “John Sweigart serves with dis­tinction as ministerial director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference. Because of his introduction and incorporation into the church through public evangelism, he has been a strong supporter and promoter of personal and public evangelism.” [John Treolo]

Creative use of media makes the difference in Croatia and Slovenia

Zagreb, Croatia—One hundred fifty participants gathered on March 17–18, 2012, in Zagreb, Croatia, for the media conference organized by the Adriatic Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The main purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibilities in social media, photography, writings, and video production. All the participants at the media conference agreed that media has a power and has already made an impact on the society that creates the values that people follow. Therefore, we, as a church, need to be there and share the ancient values found in the Bible using these media.

The participants also had the opportunity to listen to other pre­senters such as Robert Zuber, a TV journalist from Croatia, who explained how to write news and articles for church publications; Toni Hnojcik, eminent photographer in Croatia, who explored the topic of “The Power of Image” (photogra­phy); and the aspects of public and media relations that would help the church to foster a positive image in society by Kristina Laco, the lead­ing public relations expert in Croatia. Drago Cmuk, an expert in the area of new technology and social media, talked about the mind-set of “digital aborigines.”The main speaker of the con­ference was Miroslav Pujic, communication and media minis­tries director of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European region, based in St. Albans, United Kingdom. He spoke about the power of social media and the paradigm shift that is taking place in our society as the result of the Internet influence. “Internet is the primary medium of the post­modern generation. There is a lot of information there, and, if we are not there, somebody else will be,” says Dr. Pujic. He concluded, “Therefore, our duty is to be there and share the story of what God has done for us, including the biblical values that are very relevant in this time of confusion.”

“Today, more than ever, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Croatia and Slovenia wants to pursue the strong usage of media in the mission of the church,” says Branko Bistrovic, president of the Adriatic Union, which includes Croatia and Slovenia. He continues, “Our pur­pose is to integrate photography, video, audio, music, graphic design, and other creative forms of digital technology into the efforts of the church and to live out our Vision and Mission.” [Darko Kovacevic, ted NEWS]

Internet ministry impacts church growth in Albania

Tirana, Albania­ There were many reasons to give praises and thanks to God as churches and groups throughout Albania convened in Tirana for the “Festival of Faith” and internet ministry (IM) training on February 25–26, 2012. Julian Kastrati, web pastor for Albania, could not hide his enthusi­asm as he gave the IM report in front of 200 people pres­ent for the event.

Just five years ago, there was virtually no online Adventist presence in the Albanian lan­guage. However, 2012 finds the Albanian Mission and ADRA Albania online and actively involved, network­ing, and building friendships and bridges with the online Albanian-speaking community. Each local church now has its own Web page or blog as well as a strong Facebook presence. Moreover, just a few months after its launch in Albania, the LIFE connect Web site now features over 4,100 members in its Facebook group! This large online presence is catered for and networked by over 50 digital missionaries who provide quality content via the newly launched Web site www.lifeconnect.al.

Already results are seen in Tirana Central Church, as during“God has blessed the church in Albania with highly talented, inno­vative, and high-profile and media savvy members and friends, so it is a privilege as well as fun for me to work together with them,” said Kastrati. “Both the Adventist Church and ADRA Albania enjoy a fine reputation and a growing audience among the Albanian public, online as well as offline. In Albania, one in three citi­zens have a Facebook account, and if we are to make an impact, we need to be where the people are, so we can establish contacts and friendships to be followed by a discipleship path,” Kastrati explained. 

the morning program, two new members of Pastor Kastrati’s Bible study group shared their touching story of how they got in contact with the church through the Internet.

Pastor Gentian Thomollari, a dynamic and prolific networker and radio presenter in Elbasan, referring to the above mentioned story, showed clearly that Internet ministry brings real and tangible results and has a direct impact on church growth and popularity.

The main speaker of the program was Miroslav Pujic, internet min­istry director at the Trans-European Division, who encouraged and urged all present to be spiritually fit themselves in order to point oth­ers to Jesus. He also conducted further training on relevant topics on postmodernism and social media and its impact. Pujic concluded the meetings by challenging the DMs to continue to grow and interact with people, make connections with them, and, most importantly, invite them to get to know and follow Jesus. [ted NEWS]

Wanted--Your Best Sermon

Silver Spring, Maryland, United States—Ministers and gradu­ate ministerial students in North America are invited to submit their best stewardship sermons. Up to ten outstanding sermons will be selected and awarded $1,000 each.

" We know there are many exceptional stew­ardship sermons and we would like to share them with other minis­ters and leaders throughout North America,” states John Mathews, stewardship direc­tor for the North America Division (NAD). Stewardship is a central bibli­cal theme and faithful stewardship by members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church make it possible for the church to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ.

The project of obtaining qual­ity stewardship sermons is a joint project of the NAD Stewardship and Ministerial departments. Ivan Williams, NAD ministerial direc­tor, explains why this division-wide effort is being made: “Ministers preach on many topics and each minister has particular areas of emphasis and study. We are asking those who have focused on stewardship to share their sermons so others can benefit.”

Tithe, offerings, theology of money, eschatology, and money are just some of the stewardship topics on which sermons may focus. For additional suggestions, and for details about this contest, visit www.iGiveSDA.org/contest or www.nadministerial.com/contest, or contact Lori Bryan at 301-680­ 6432, [email protected] .org. Also on these sites are impor­tant contest rules and submission information. Those interested in participating should review the rules before starting the project.

Ministers (active or retired) from the North American Division or graduate ministerial students (such as MDiv or similar) who are studying in North American schools may participate.


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June 2012

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