Creator, editor, and social media manager of Humans of Adventism.
You are Adventism.
I recently had the opportunity to speak at a large communication conference. As I stood before a room of film workers, bloggers, internet personalities, and communications students, I couldn’t help but reflect on how I’d gotten there. I am not a pastor. I am not an employee of the church at all. I don’t have a degree in communications, and I’ve never been employed, despite my best efforts, in the fields represented at this conference. Yet, there I stood, speaking as a humble authority on digital evangelism. How?
Two-and-a-half years ago I graduated from the College of Charleston. I had miraculously been given the opportunity to speak to my classmates and their gathered families, an enormous crowd of people who had no idea who I was. I was not the valedictorian, I’d never worked in student government, and yet again I had managed to land myself on a platform with relatively little tangible merit. On paper, there was no reason to have me speak at my own graduation. Even the professors who knew me well wondered at how this had happened. But it did.
While I’ll never know all the intricate aspects of how the events in my life come to be, I’ve learned that many of us have been believing a lie. We often think that titles and money determine our ability to impact the world. To some degree, that’s true. Pastors are invited to speak at evangelistic series far more often than anyone else, business managers handle a large amount of responsibility in the countless companies across America, and celebrities can dramatically shift consumers toward or against the products we buy. But in my experience these aren’t the only ways to impact the world.
Early in 2017 I went public with a storytelling Facebook page called “Humans of Adventism.” The mechanics were simple, mostly because my resources were incredibly limited. I had no money, no big names backing the page, and very little ability to do anything outside of what I could manage from my cell phone. I had an idea, and I had my phone. From my work truck I began to conduct interviews. I started with the people I knew--other writers and students, even a few family members. From there I began exploring deeper into the Adventists I found on social media and reaching out to them for their stories. It turned out most people didn’t really care about my qualifications at all, they cared about what I was doing and the effect it was having on the world. The Humans of Adventism community now consists of over 4,000 members and is growing more quickly than ever.
I don’t know who made this phrase up, but it’s stuck with me since I heard it.
God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies those he calls.
It’s true. We can own our faith. We can define what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist. It’s a scary responsibility, but God has also given us so much freedom here. He led me to speak to my fellow graduates, then on to present at the Society of Adventist Communicators conference, among other things. He didn’t make me wait for titles, and I would guess this is true for the rest of us, too. Maybe we’re holding ourselves back. Maybe we already have permission.
Is God calling you to realize a digital ministry idea? What's holding you back?
Kaleb Eisele is the Social Media Director for the Orangeburg Seventh-day Adventist Church. Humans of Adventism is an independent storytelling platform that shares the lives and perspectives of Seventh-day Adventists. It is entirely funded by its readers. You can sponsor Humans of Adventism for as little as $5/month by visiting patreon.com/adventisthumans, or by purchasing an “Adventist Human” shirt from teespring.com/adventisthuman.