Gathering highlights the potential of the social medium for contemporary outreach
More than 20 Brazilian Seventh-day Adventist YouTubers met in the cities of São Paulo and Campinas earlier this month for networking and fellowship. The event, organized by the communication department of the church headquarters in the State of São Paulo, sought to connect Brazilian YouTubers in back-to-back 4-hour evening meetings.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church acknowledges the importance of integrating producers of content for social media,” said Odailson Fonseca, communication director of the Central Brazil Union Conference, or church region. “It is our goal to foster an ongoing dialogue between YouTubers, providing them the support they may need from their church organization.”
Fonseca said that providing church support triggers a desire for growth in YouTubers, as they look for ways of exporting Christian values into social media.
A Pool of Adventist Talent
The gathering of Adventist YouTubers confirmed how varied and wide is the pool of technology-savvy young talents within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. At the same time, it shows many young Adventist members just waking up to the possibilities of the medium. It also reveals their willingness to “bring Jesus to the marketplace,” eventually exporting Christian values even when not offering a “religious” product.
“It is our goal to foster an ongoing dialogue between YouTubers, providing them the support they may need from their church organization.”
YouTuber Luciara Novaes never planned to become successful. She launched a channel to discuss wedding decorations. Understandably, her public is made up of brides and people working in the wedding business. Novaes posted a video where she taught a session on how to make paper flowers, and her video was shared by several blogs, websites, and channels on similar topics. In one of those channels, her video received over 3 million views.
After such a tremendous response, Novaes decided to go serious. After investing in equipment, she now has over 7,000 subscribers and videos with over 300,000 views.
Some YouTubers, however, are working on content integrating various fields with religious topics. Jônathas Luz, a theology major at the Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo (UNASP), says he decided to launch a channel on communication and theological foundations. “I couldn’t find a similar channel on YouTube, so I made up my mind to start my channel,” he said. “I am still working on it, but this huddle has provided me the motivation to go on.”
“Meeting other YouTubers gives me the will to move forward,” agrees YouTuber Ana Carolina, who launched a channel to provide hair tips for women. “My channel is very specific, but I have found out that I can reach many.”
Relevance and Potential
For Luz and other YouTubers, the big question is how to offer a product that may stand out among so many thousands. YouTube has over 1 billion active users each month, and every day, people watch millions of hours of video content. “Thus, the key question is, ‘How to make specific content relevant?’” he said.
Robson Fonseca, one of the event organizers and in charge of social media in the Adventist Church in São Paulo, explains the importance of getting these young Adventist YouTubers together. “We knew there were several Adventist YouTubers spread all over Brazil, but they were somewhat hidden,” he said. “But now we are trying to get these young people—who do a wonderful job—together, to find ways to enhance their talents, so as to reach more people.”
Fonseca firmly believes YouTubers are poised to become great influencers of the new generations. “So, why shouldn’t we explore their potential to talk about Jesus?” he said.