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Potomac Conference Offers Funds to Expand Utilization of Media in Churches

Story by Potomac Conference Staff

During the 2022 opening address of North American Division's (NAD) year-end meetings, G. Alexander Bryant, NAD president, encouraged leadership across the division to explore opportunities in which “we can maximize and expand our utilization of media.” This need became acute during the pandemic and challenged church members to find their church outside their physical buildings. 

Charles A. Tapp, current Potomac Conference president, was a senior pastor at Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md., when the pandemic hit. Like most pastors across the spectrum of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Tapp gathered his resources and began preaching to empty seats each week. 

Following every possible safety precaution, Sligo’s media team worked diligently to make sure the live stream, sound and environment were at their best. 

In March 2021, Tapp became president of the Potomac Conference. During his administration, one theme has become the all-encompassing drive across the conference's ministry—Moving Beyond the Walls. 

Tapp says, “If we as a conference of churches, schools, a health food store, and a camp are to be faithful to our mission of growing healthy disciple-making churches, [people, not the buildings], then it necessitates that every decision that we make, regardless of the nature of that decision, is made in the light of how it either helps or hinders our mission. And if we ever lose sight of this, we will be reduced to becoming a mere business rather than an organization whose business it is to move beyond the walls so we might expand the kingdom of God as we seek to grow disciple-making churches, all to the glory of God.” 

Enriching the Media Infrastructure

This mindset has been exemplified through the decisions that have been made by Potomac’s Administrative Committee. In early 2022, they voted to return half a million dollars to the conference's churches for the use of expanding, repairing or enriching the media infrastructure of the churches. Each church was able to apply to receive a maximum of $5,000. 

The total number has since been expanded to $650,000, as the need for this support has become more apparent. 

The only guideline churches have been given concerning the $5,000 is simple: Use this money to upgrade your media infrastructure to go beyond the walls. Some of the churches have already used the funds to upgrade their internet infrastructure, allowing their streams to go out uniformly. 

Others have expanded their video resources, moving from a one-camera setup to a multi-camera setup, allowing for a smoother, less claustrophobic worship experience. Still, some have used the funds to update and upgrade their microphones, mixers and projectors. 

During that same period, the Potomac Conference Executive Committee voted to open the new position of media director. Richard Castillo, who was previously the media pastor at Sligo church and vice president for Integrated Marketing and Communications at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md., was hired for this position, beginning in January 2022. 

“It’s an amazing gift to come into a new department as an administrator and be able to offer our churches such a substantial gift,” Castillo says. “For some churches, it is a drop in the bucket, but for many churches, this is the difference between having internet, a computer, or any of the other foundational media pieces most churches take for granted.”

Tapp regularly says that “God is asking us to cast our net, and today that means the internet.” Churches across the Potomac Conference have applied and received or are soon receiving these funds. 

“The Potomac Conference Media Grant has allowed us to purchase both professional hardware and software that enhances our in-person and online worship experiences,” says Paulo Esposito, Potomac Conference pastor who leads churches in the Fredericksburg, Va., area. “These new tools will also help us grow and expand our Media Ministries so we can be more effective in sharing Jesus on our campus and beyond the walls."  

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