Nearly every Adventist who has searched online for an Adventist-related keyword—especially an Ellen G. White-oriented search—has been dismayed by the number of negative websites that show up prominently in the search results. These negative websites are having a disastrous effect on every outreach program sponsored by an Adventist church, from evangelism to health and lifestyle programs, schools and Vacation Bible Schools.
According to Brian McMahon, a full-time evangelist for the North Pacific Union Conference
The Solution: Project Caleb
This is a daunting situation, but just as Caleb wasn’t afraid of the giants in Canaan, we also have faith that we can overcome this sizable challenge with positivity, faith and diligence.
There is much we can do to overwhelm negative information with constructive, accurate content and active, uplifting online communication strategies. But this needs to be done correctly, with careful planning and execution. And it needs to be done soon.
In the business world this solution is called Online Reputation Management (ORM). This involves following a set of best practices to mitigate the effects of negative information about a person, company or organization.
In effect, we “overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
How it works
The goal of ORM is to “own the topic,” rather than seeking to debunk or rebut the negative content. Successfully owning the topic will fill up the first few pages of search results with more credible, positive information, pushing the derogatory websites down in the search results as far as possible. As a result, the effect of the negative sites is neutered, because less than 10% of all internet searches ever proceed past page 2 of the search results.
Applying effective ORM to resolve this issue is a complex and challenging process that will span several years of consistent work. ORM is a labor-intensive process, and the primary expense will be the cost of the many man-hours that are necessary to apply the various strategies and tactics.
Our Immediate Goals Are:
Build three websites that will exploit the weaknesses of the most prominent negative sites and outrank them in search results, thus pushing them off of the front page.
Renovate and Optimize
Renovate and optimize an existing website about Ellen White in order to restore its position in search results and increase traffic.
Build Our Team
Build our current team to allow us to increase our efforts in order to get speedier and more long-lasting results.
- Financial Support 38% 38%
- Alliances 50% 50%
- Volunteers 40% 40%
- Prayer Support 50% 50%
Our Immediate Needs
Currently, we are in need of funding to pay for skilled team members to do the work. Online Reputation Management is a labor-intensive work, and requires specialized skillsets. We are also seeking alliances and partnerships that will help expedite the work. We need volunteers who can write compelling and engaging content under the direction of our experienced team leaders.
And finally, we need your prayers. We chose the name Project Caleb to remind us that God will fight the giants for us, and your prayer support makes that possible.
Who We Are
Good News Advocates. Inc. (GNA) is a 501(c)3 organization formed in 2012 for the purpose of equipping and empowering Seventh-day Adventist churches, schools and ministries in their efforts to use the internet to spread the Gospel.
The Center for Online Evangelism (COE) is a registered DBA (“doing business as”) name of GNA, and functions as the denomination-facing entity that provides services to Adventist clients.
Since 2012, GNA/COE have assisted well over 150 Adventist churches, schools and ministries improve and optimize their online presence, using the most current best practices from the business world. GNA/COE’s services have enabled many organizations to dramatically improve the effectiveness of their online platforms, as well as their position in search results.
GNA/COE also owns and operates a commercial digital marketing agency (True North) and has been an ASI member since 2013.
Staff, Management Roles and Responsibilities
The Executive Director of GNA/COE is Ed Wagner. Ed owns several businesses which rely extensively on digital marketing, thus giving him a vested interest in knowing and applying what works, and discontinuing what doesn’t.
The Deputy Director is Dave Sharpe. He has over 20 years experience in digital marketing, with specialized knowledge in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Marketing, and Reputation Management.
The remainder of our team is made up of specialists who focus primarily on their area of expertise, including SEO, Web Development, Content Marketing, Graphic Design, and Writing. This team currently consists of 11 employees, four contractors, and 18 volunteers (including local conference, union conference and NAD personnel).
In addition, GNA/COE is developing and training a team of former refugees in Rwanda in partnership with ADRA-Rwanda and Impact Hope, Inc. This team will work closely with our current team, adding capacity which will allow us to scale our activity to fit the needs of Project Caleb.