Media Department Report South England Conference 2011-2015
The SEC Media Department was established to serve the conference office with media, primarily for Camp Meeting, Day of Fellowship, and other conference programmes. The department has since developed to encompass production for TV, something that is unique to the SEC. Across the global Seventh-day Adventist Church, TV and media production takes place at division (and in some instances union) level. With the addition of online media and TV production, the media department has truly become an evangelistic department, with the ability to reach people with the Good News.
TV Production on SKY and HopeTV
Building on the successful negotiation of broadcasting time on the Sky network, the ‘Sky dream’ has been consolidated and strengthened. With weekly programmes broadcast on Revelation TV, a non-denominational Christian channel on SKY and freeview, better broadcasting times were negotiated, with a reach for different audiences and target groups. Not only has the media department delivered broadcasts to Revelation TV, but HOPE TV UK, the official Adventist TV channel, also began broadcasting SEC programmes, starting with ‘Searching for a God to Love’.
Programmes shared the Adventist faith in a dialogical format, making it possible to debate our beliefs. Wi
th the target audience being viewers of Revelation TV and HOPE TV, programmes were produced for a primary Christian audience, while non-Christians and non-Adventists viewers still can understand them.
From 2011-2015 the SEC produced and broadcast 72 different episodes, each of 28 minutes, over 7 series. Each 28-minute episode was a team effort, and represents seven days of work. A typical TV production of one 28-minute episode includes the work listed below:
- Idea (1 day)
- Networking to find guests/research/preparation of guests (2 days)
- Preparation for production (1 day)
- Production (0.5 day)
- Post-production (2.5 days)
Increased quality of production has resulted in HOPE TV UK broadcasting SECmedia programmes. Since January 2012 all 72 programmes have been broadcast there. In 2014 Hope TV UK became available through ROKU and online, following the termination of their previous satellite contract.
A variety of programme formats were discussed. What emerged from joint meetings with Revelation TV and the BUC was that discussions lend themselves better to Christian TV than preaching. As such the Adventist programmes become evangelism, as they attract viewers from a non-Adventist background already viewing Revelation TV. This would be difficult to deliver on an all-Adventist channel, which tends to primarily attract an already Adventist audience. To also serve the Adventist audience, programmes were aired on the official Adventist channel HOPE TV UK.
The SEC currently produces and broadcasts three different type of programmes. The first is ‘Searching for a God to Love’, a 12-episode series that saw a mix of presentations and studio discussions featuring author and Professor Chris Blake, while he was in the UK for Newbold College’s Week of Prayer.
The second programme type, FaithTalks, has had five series so far, with a total of 58 episodes produced and broadcast. FaithTalks is a studio-based discussion on issues relating to God, faith and everyday life. Shot in a dialogical format, it is inexpensive to produce and a good way to share our belief in a non-confrontational manner, while still dealing with tricky life issues.
View Faithtalks series wich presents a diversity of topics, including:
- Why is Christianity so divisive?
- Faith and disability
- The problem of evil
- Is science anti-Christian?
- Christianity and business
- Faith in an economic crisis
- Community through gospel music Is religion good for children?
- Dealing with faith and depression
- Faith through art
- Children and faith development
- Complexity of prayer
- Faith on the waves
- Does faith make a difference in marriage?
- Digital faith
- Faith, healing and miracles
- When your family don’t believe
- Is Britain Christian?
- Faith and unemployment
The third type of programme, Arnion, is a series on the book of Revelation. It was originally developed in the German language by the German Media Centre Stimme Der Hoffnung, with scripting approved by the Biblical Research Institute (BRI). Arnion represents a new approach in sharing the message within Revelation, featuring a 10-episode dramatization with English hosting (produced by the SEC in collaboration with BUC media). This is a new collaborative effort to share production of high-quality programing. Arnion will air in 2015.
For the 2012 Olympics, the department produced several special short news stories highlighting the outreach undertaken by local churches and individuals. These were produced together in two 30-minute films, ‘The Torchbearers’ and ‘Olympic Outreach in southern England’, as well as a filmed play documentary of the production of ‘Fired Up’.
Feedback from viewers regarding our programming:
“I enjoy the refreshing take on the various topics in FaithTalks.” -LR
“FaithTalks is relevant and to-the-point, dealing with real life issues. It’s practical and people speak openly from experience.” -KL
“UK-produced programmes are the best programmes on HopeTV!” -TDB
“What makes FaithTalks authentic is that guests on the programme have dealt with the issues, or supported people through the issues being discussed. It’s open and embracing approach brings real people aboard.” -SPM
An unexpected side effect of airing programmes on a non-denominational Christian channel is the positive perception of Adventists that is emerging from other Christians. This is even true to the extent that when a viewer voiced concerns that the Adventists shouldn’t be on a Christian channel, Revelation TV responded by defending our presence as a Christian church. It has been a positive PR experience, and results in the Adventist church being recognised as a part of a Christian presence in the UK. We will continue to communicate the good news of the gospel in the future as we share our message to non-Adventists.
With SECmedia present at so many events, it is easy to forget that this is largely a group of enthusiastic volunteers. Aside from the director there are only two part-time staff members. The volunteer group that does the rest of the work was brought together primarily for Camp Meeting, but this quandrenium they have been utilised for a variety of events. They have assisted with recording, streaming and AV both in the conference and around the British Isles. The strength of the current volunteer team lies in ‘on-location’ broadcasts. These have included:
- North England Conference Camp Meeting a week
- Teens Prayer and Faith conference 2 x 6 days
- SEC Day Of Fellowship organised concerts
- ASNA concert
- Filming of the play ‘Fired Up’
- ASI convention
- Various days of fellowship
- Kidz praise
- NCD training
- Treasury training conference
- Asian church Easter programme
- Ministerial meetings
- President’s annual end-of-year video
The SEC Camp Meeting has become a large media production, and it grows each year to meet an ever-changing media demand. Programmes in the adult section are streamed by SECmedia, and the youth programme is streamed by the youth department with support from SECmedia.
It is now also possible to watch our live streams on various mobile devices.
The number of live-stream viewers varies depending on the programme being streamed, and has seen a general decline in recent years. Live streaming from Camp Meeting is still popular, but in general more people choose to view on-demand rather than live, which reflects the changing media-consumption pattern of society.
The Media Department managed the streaming, audio-visuals and the production of DVDs for sale after the Camp Meeting. We also provided the sermons free of charge in HD digital video and audio. You can go to secmedia.org to download these, and to watch programmes.
Global Youth Day
The media department was asked by the General Conference and the Trans-European Division to come in and produce an hour-long live broadcast on HOPE TV for Global Youth Day. This live broadcast encompassed reports from youth around the Trans-European Division, including the British youth and teens. The SEC media department was grateful for the privilege, and enjoyed the challenge of fitting its broadcast into the 24-hour live broadcast that went around the world.
Streaming service has been facilitated between churches and CrestinTV, to offer a quality in streaming platform for local churches. The Media director has also produced a booklet on live streaming as a ministry.
Under the leadership of Mike Johnson, the online radio Light FM continues to serve listeners with good programmes and gospel music, including a Friday night live broadcast. At Camp Meeting Light FM becomes the camp radio, broadcasting music, programmes and interviews into the surrounding community and the on-site campers. It also reaches a global audience with its online broadcast.
Training has been rolled out at every Camp Meeting, as well as across the conference in local churches, equipping and training people to incorporate media as an evangelistic platform. Local churches have been visited for both training and media consultation. Annual conference-wide training for local churches has also been organised.
Secmedia academy 2012-2013 and GAiN 2014-2015
The first two conference-wide SECmedia Academy events in 2012 and 2013 saw an unprecedented number of people attending media and communication training. Results of these training programmes have been seen in an increase awareness of media usage and skills in local churches. Topics at these events ranged from news writing, article writing, radio, filming and interview skills, to PA, websites, photography, meet the press, marketing, pro-presenter, PowerPoint and Keynote presentations.
In 2014 and 2015, the Global Adventist internet Network (GAiN) conference was organised by the SEC’s Media and Communications departments. This was the first conference-organised instance of GAiN, which was previously the General Conference’s yearly gathering. To see the areas of presentation at GAiN, please consult the Communication Department’s report.
Feedback on training days:
“My team learned so much, and were excited to return to church and implement their new-found knowledge.” -BN
“The training provided valuable updates for using websites.” -SE
“Congratulations! The calibre of presenters was outstanding, and the topics are relevant for our church.” -JS
“This has surpassed any training I have seen at any conference level in our global church” -retired GC Communications and Media Director RD
Outside Broadcast Van
The SEC media outside broadcast van was on its last legs, and when it continually broke down in 2011, the department invested in a new van that was purpose-fitted to suit SECmedia’s needs for continual on-location broadcast. SEC Media and IT technician Stefan Stanicu led out in the refurbishments, and worked alongside volunteers to tailor the van to the needs of SECmedia. The new SECmedia van is not only unique and an outstanding engineering piece of refurbishment, is a delight to work in, but also stays safe on the roads.
The Media Department continues to grow, with increased expectations upon those working within it. The media is an ever evolving new media platforms, and the challenge is to maintain relevancy and seek best practices in sharing the good News in an array of media outlets. Our recommendation is to continue the close cooperation and synergy with the BUC’s Media Department, in order to uphold a corporate identity in media to deliver a cohesive product and image to the public.
There are too many to be thanked individually. They know who they are, and I am grateful for their support and work, which has made the department’s increased success and quality of production possible