By Becky St. Clair
It all began with a simple question to a series of think tanks formed by the Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University: “How can we do evangelism in order to help you reach your friends and neighbors?”
“And then we listened,” explains Rodlie Ortiz, PMC associate pastor. “And when the focus groups were through, a clear consensus emerged.”
The call to proclaim the Good News is unequivocal, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). To that end, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has pioneered new methods of doing evangelism, from erecting tents as preaching venues to utilizing the power of satellites. The truth is, new generations necessitate new methods.
That’s why three focus groups were formed, each led by a PMC pastor. The surprise was all three groups came to the same conclusion: Don’t do one-hour-plus presentations with 140 slides. Give us a 20-minute presentation (like TED Talks), and let us participate. The result is “Hope Trending: A Crash Course on How to Live Without Fear.” The series will run from October 14-22, 2016.
Hope Trending has three parts: The program, the experience, and the follow-up.
The program consists of a 20-minute presentation by Dwight Nelson, PMC lead pastor, live streamed to 24 time zones simultaneously with real-time social media feeding into the event including a lively 20-minute Q&A with a panel of specialists. The roundtable will be moderated by Ty Gibson, co-director of Light Bearers Ministry and pastor of Storyline Adventist Church in Eugene, Oregon. A micro challenge will be issued each night, which online participants will complete, record, and report on via social media. The series will be hosted by David Franklin, host of “Let’s Pray Live,” currently the most popular program on Hope TV, and pastor at Miracle City Church in Baltimore, Maryland.
“People learn and experience community best in circles, not rows,” says Ortiz. “So we decided to invite people to experience this series in their own homes at something we’ve dubbed a Watch Party.”
Watch Parties are led by three individuals: The leader, who facilitates discussion; the host, who opens their home; and the prayer coordinator, who prays with and for the guests.
“Traditional evangelism necessitated people showing up in an auditorium or church, a major step into unfamiliar territory, even for people open to the thought of God,” explains Nelson. “The Watch Party instead makes that first step a warm and welcoming one—because they’re your friends and it’s your home. The nightly program will be streamed from the beautiful Howard Performing Arts Center here at Andrews University, but it will be experienced in the comfort of your own Watch Party.”
Watch Parties will become small groups encouraged to meet once a week using follow-up resources provided. They can move at their own pace and go deeper into important issues.
“It’s a natural style of evangelism,” explains Ortiz. “Our primary goal is to begin conversations, and the Watch Party leaders will expand it.”
For more information visit hopetrending.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m excited about Hope Trending because it’s the product of very careful thinking by some very bright young minds sold out on God and the church,” says Nelson. “Let’s pray for God to seize his own technology and enable us all to connect this generation with Jesus and the very good news of his soon return.”
Hope Trending | https://hopetrending.org
Getting Started Guide | http://s3.amazonaws.com/hope-trending-cms/documents/Getting-Started-Guide.pdf