Throughout 2023, the Georgia-Cumberland and Kentucky-Tennessee conferences partnered with Southern Adventist University’s School of Journalism and Communication to create free virtual trainings for communications and audio/visual church leaders.
Both conferences already provide in-person trainings, but presentations during Southern Union’s year-end communication meetings in 2022, sparked an idea.
“I have visited multiple churches to offer seminars on a variety of topics,” said Paola Mora Zepeda, media ministries director for Kentucky-Tennessee. “While I enjoy doing these seminars, I thought having a video on our online platforms would reach more people, and people could access it at their own time.”
Nathan Zinner, communication director for Georgia-Cumberland, had also been asking God to lead in the creation of additional training to help churches and members in the Conference. “During our year-end meetings, God’s plans started to be evident,” said Zinner.
“Nathan approached me and said Georgia-Cumberland was thinking of doing [virtual trainings], and asked if I’d be interested in collaborating for this project,” said Zepeda. “I thought it’d be a great opportunity as it meant we could have a wider range of expertise [and] greater reach, and share the workload.”
Just as the pre-production phase was beginning, Pablo Fernandez, journalism professor at Southern Adventist University, reached out to Zinner looking for an opportunity where his students could gain real-world experience for a class project. The joint collaboration was an easy decision.
“I’ve benefitted immensely from mentors providing opportunities for me,” said Zinner, “so when this collaboration presented itself, combined with being able to provide a training series better than we were planning, it was easy to see God working.”
The pre-recorded presentations were scripted, recorded, and edited by Fernandez’s class with input from Georgia-Cumberland and Kentucky-Tennessee. Once the videos were done and the day of the trainings arrived, conference communication teams hosted and moderated the live stream, as well as answered attendees’ questions on the topic. Trainings covered social media, public relations, graphic design, and live-streaming.
Fernandez also submitted one of the training videos to the Society of Adventist Communicators, where it received a “Best in Class” Award.
“For me, every production that I work on always has a learning experience,” said Kenneth Salmon, senior media production major. “This one helped me understand the difference between professional work and work for fun. It was a learning experience, but overall this entire project was an amazing thing to be a part of.”
To watch the trainings, go to youtube.com/georgiacumberlandconference and click on the communication resources playlist.
Georgia-Cumberland | December 2023