With more millennials and even baby boomers getting savvy with social media and using it for information gathering and news sharing, the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist Church is now seeking to capitalize on the use of technology for doing ministry. To do this effectively it understands it needs people rightly trained and so it hosted its first communications seminar on October 29, 2017.
The seminar started at approximately 9:30 a.m. Devotion was conducted by Coneil Morgan, Pastor of the Portmore Seventh-day Adventist deaf church. Pastor Morgan focused on Matthew 28:19-20 which holds the call for us to go out and teach the world the gospel of Christ.
The seminar featured presentations on social media use and best practices, newsletter creation, script writing, public speaking, copyright and desktop publishing among others.
Alexandrae Lamonth, Communications Secretary for the Portmore Church and Organizer of the seminar, says “part of the department’s strategic plan for this year is church empowerment.” “The church has a number of youth who are interested in graphics and public speaking among other areas, and the workshop served as a launching pad to teach and hone these skills and offer better service to God while advancing the mission of the church, which is to spread the gospel.” We want to engage more people in the communications arm at church and develop the necessary skills.
Meanwhile, Communications Director for the Central Jamaica Conference and presenter Pastor Damian Chambers commended the church’s communications department for organizing the event. “Portmore Church has shown great strides in using communications and media in their church operations and has set the bar for other churches,” said Chambers. His presentation on copyright garnered quite a few questions as many did not know permission was needed from song writers to project songs in church service among other things. Attendees were advised to err on the side of caution when using songs, pictures and certain written work as copyright laws need to be adhered to or one could face a lawsuit.
Attendee Jermain Williams said this portion of the seminar was the most eye opening as it addressed things we do while navigating the internet and even everyday life without stopping to count the cost because of lack of knowledge. “We always think it’s right to take stuff off the internet and use it without knowing that it might be patented, copyrighted and even trademarked.
The organisers also added scriptwriting to the roster and attendees were given an opportunity write a mini script and stage what they had written. This aspect was so well received that it brought on suggestions for a writing club to be set up at Portmore to teach the young people not just script writing but also other forms of creative writing. There were also suggestions that a small web series could be developed from this to spread the gospel and give insight into how Adventist Christians tackle everyday issues.
Communications enthusiast and member of the Portmore Church Dane Thomas said the honesty of each presentation and the content presented really appealed to him. “What was new to me personally was the algorithms aspect of Facebook that can block certain content while pushing others through,” Thomas said. He added he would love to see more of the same presentations in the next staging of the seminar.
As exciting as these aspects were, attendees where ever more captivated by the graphic design aspect of communications and called for more of it with room for practice in upcoming seminars. Presenter and graphics artist Wendy-Ann Masters delivered her presentation with such enthusiasm and knowledge that attendees couldn’t help but be enchanted. Attendee Shantal McFarline said this presentation held the most interest for her as she had a passion for art.
Some of the persons who attended expressed a desire to have a part 2 of this seminar and that an invitation be extended to other churches within the Portmore area to attend. “I think it would be good if there is an extended seminar to elaborate more on each topic with breaks in between, handouts and activities,” added McFarline. Meanwhile, Communications team member Kerry Gordon acknowledged that more promotions needed to have taken place in advance as the turnout was very low. “For such a great seminar the turnout was very low, so advertising like a month ahead even to other churches and the various departments in the church would have been great as the information can be used in everyday life as well as communications.”