The pandemic changed our lives. Church services went virtual. Gatherings were set on calendars labeled as “zoom meetings” or “virtual Bible study.” Church leaders intentionally invested in developing a robust digital evangelism plan to meet the needs of this ever-changing world. Then, things went back to “normal.” Most churches resumed their in-person services. However, a new platform for sharing the Gospel became a part of the fabric of church outreach in the digital space. The call from Jesus to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing and teaching them…,” Matthew 28:19, 20, is the same as it has ever been. Recognizing the constant need for quality and consistent online content within their territory and the world, the Gulf States Conference decided to plant a digital church.
The Digital Church was founded with a driving purpose, to share the everlasting Gospel in a new and expanding digital society. This is the first fully Digital Church in the Southern Union Conference. Its services are held on a weekly basis, every Friday evening on social media platforms. The launch is set for December 9, 2022, with its first sermon series entitled, “Jesus.” The pastoral team of the Digital Church includes Brian Danese, senior pastor and Gulf States president; Marcelo Mansur, associate pastor; Daniel Claudet, media pastor and Gulf States communication director; and Edwin Quinjada, worship pastor. The Digital Church will provide local churches with contacts that may have watched the service online, and are now looking for a local congregation to attend. Claudet said, “I am thrilled about this initiative. We move forward by God’s grace and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
The Barna Research Group, in their article entitled, “A New Chapter in Millennial Church Attendance,” reported that “millennials most likely … embrace hybrid worship.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the church attendance happened exclusively in person. Today, that’s only true for about half of churched adults. In fact, one in five (20%) is still primarily attending online, and one in four (26%) is mixing online and in-person worship.” The Gulf States Conference has a total membership of 13,054 (as of September 14, 2021) congregating in 89 churches throughout the Gulf States territory.
Ellen G. White wrote, “It is our duty now to employ every possible means to help in the proclamation of the truth,” The Publishing Ministry, p. 57-58. The Gulf States Digital Church heeds this call. It strives to serve its people by developing engaging social media content, biblical messages, and online interactivity within the new service. If you would like to subscribe to the Digital Church Community, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow us on our Facebook page @gulfstatesconference, or our Instagram page @gulfstatesconference. We believe “This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come,” Matthew 24:14. Jesus is coming soon!
Marcelo Mansur, M.Div., is the associate pastor of the newly launched Digital Church.
Southern Union | December 2022