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Oregon Conference Hosts First Creators Lab

Oregon Conference Hosts First Creators Lab

The first ever Creators Lab PNW was held at the Holden Convention Center, March 22-24, bringing together podcasters, youtubers, social media content creators, writers, and other digital creatives of faith from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Over the past decade the online world has rapidly become an embedded aspect of our culture, bringing with it a flood of new ways to communicate and connect with our neighbors. But under the Adventist umbrella, there are still relatively few occasions for digital creators to connect in-person. With this in mind, a coalition made up of Oregon Conference Communication staff, Washington Conference Media & Communication teams, the North Pacific Union, Oregon Young Adults and others put their heads together to create such an event.

“Creators Lab” refers to both God, our creator, and those using their creative abilities to point to Him. This year’s theme was “In the Beginning,” and the event featured a variety of digital creative leaders including TikTok’s Kevin Wilson (@crossculturekev) – who recently joined the Oregon Conference as youth and young adult pastor for the Sunnyside Adventist Church, Seth Pierce, who hosts the Beast & Bible podcast, documentary filmmaker Evelin Velinova, Oregon Conference Digital Media Specialist Kaleb Eisele (Bridges Over Walls, How the Church Works, Humans of Adventism), Washington Conference Media Director Ernesto Hernandez, and Nicole Dominguez – writer and host of the Faith, Reconstructed podcast.

While many of the attendees call the Northwest home, others flew in from as far as New York, Chicago, and Chilé! Kristen Ward, a member of the Church of the Advent Hope in NYC, was one such person. “Flying in from New York City, I had no idea what to expect from Creator’s Lab – I just hoped to learn something and meet a few fellow creatives. This event was so much more than I imagined! Not only were there engaging, incredibly knowledgeable speakers, but I also got to meet such a diverse group of creatives in the Adventist community – from beginners to seasoned pros, representing so many different fields. Everyone shared the same passion for creating things and believed that their talents were contributing to something greater. I never expected something of this scale and absolutely loved learning and connecting with like-minded people! This event was so reassuring and inspiring. Leaving Creator’s Lab, I’m moved to create more and to help build a similar, purpose-driven community of Christian creators back where I live on the East Coast. There were so many great quotes from the weekend but I won’t forget Dr. Seth Pierce’s speech: ‘If God created us and we are made in His image, is the ability to create not also in us?’ Creator’s Lab was such a unique and heartwarming experience. I’m glad I got the opportunity to go.”

Hellen Alexander, also a member of the Church of the Advent Hope had this to say: “I didn’t set high expectations before heading to Creators Lab; I mainly wanted to learn and connect with like-minded folks. However, the event surpassed my expectations. Creators Lab not only facilitated learning and networking but also ignited a spark of inspiration within me. It encouraged me to think outside the box and dream big. Recognizing that we are all creators, mirroring the divine act of creation, left a profound impact on me. It reinforced the belief that tapping into our creative potential is not just a pursuit but a purpose.”

Friday evening the event began with a live chai demonstration from Pastor Kevin Wilson, who used the process of cooking the chai to exemplify the creator’s journey of taking ideas and putting them into action. On Sabbath, Pastor Seth Pierce made the case for the holy work of creativity – tracing back to God’s act of creation and the calling He places on each of us to use the gifts we’re given to serve our neighbors. And on Sabbath afternoon, a series of speakers shared the ways they are using podcasts, writing, AI, and documentary film to minister in their own communities, culminating in a master panel of the weekend’s speakers. Sunday morning wrapped the event with hands-on learning labs in cameras, lighting, and sound, AI, and interviewing for digital projects.

Though presentations were an integral part of Creators Lab, the planning team worked hard to create time and space for the development of community connections and new friendships. The inclusion of outdoor cafe lights, a polaroid wall, interactive conversation cards to facilitated community building time, Creators Lab was a mix of hands-on learning, formation of new relationships, and presentations from many leaders in digital creative ministries.

Eunice Reyes, who manages the award-winning platform @ratedvfood, shared, “Creators Lab is something I personally believe every SDA conference has been missing. I truly enjoyed how relatable it was as a content creator myself. There are many questions we have when we begin or when we start considering starting a platform, so being able to hear the stories and journeys of others is inspiring and refreshing to know you can learn from them. With media now being one of the largest types of expression and many young people using it, it’s a way to connect with others and helps bridge a gap. I look forward to seeing this event next year grow even bigger.”

Click here to see photos from the weekend by Lacey Stecker...

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