THE STORY OF ADVENTWEB
AdventWeb had its beginning in 1998 when the Holy Spirit brought together Don Yancy, Rob Everett and Will Baron, three lay-people who were members of the Norwalk Adventist Church in the Los Angeles area. Don Yancy was a computer industry professional who worked as a software trainer, mainly teaching corporate clients how to use website design software such as FrontPage and Dreamweaver. Rob Everett was a computer hardware engineer, specializing in corporate networking systems. Will Baron worked in the "old technology" field of Air Conditioning & Refrigeration as a customer service manager.
STARTED WITH THE LOCAL NORWALK CHURCH WEBSITE
With the rapidly expanding popularity of the Internet, Don Yancy was motivated to construct a beautiful website for the Norwalk Church. But amazingly the website design sat isolated on Don’s laptop hard drive for 2 years! This was because Don’s friend Rob, a hardware specialist, wanted to install a web server computer in the Norwalk Church office building, so that the website constructed by Don could be with hosted on the server stationed right there on the church campus. However obtaining the server and a dedicated phone line with a permanent IP address was an expensive venture, and so the project was stalled.
ADVENTIST-LAYMANS SERVICES & INDUSTRIES (ASi)
Around that time, fellow church member Will Baron, who knew almost nothing about the Internet and had never seen a website, was touring the exhibition area of the ASI National Convention, held that year in Palm Springs, California. While visiting the BibleInfo.com website ministry booth, Will was asked by that ministry to write some articles for their Bible information website. Prior to being saved, Will had been deeply involved with the New Age Movement. After coming to know Christ, Will had written a best-selling book called "Deceived by the New Age". The BibleInfo web ministry now wanted Will to write some web page articles on the topic of what the Bible had to say about various New Age beliefs and spiritual practices. Agreeing to the proposal, Will was busy writing the articles for about 6 months, but had still not seen a website!
Opportunity arose for Will to view a website when he visited an open house for the PlusLine ministry of the Pacific Union Conference. Immediately captivated by what he saw, Will enthusiastically perceived that the Internet had a tremendous potential to reach the masses with the gospel message. Realizing that his local Norwalk Church did not have a website, Will talked to the senior pastor, who suggested that he contact Don Yancy and Rob Everett, because supposedly they were working on a website project.
LAUNCHING THE NORWALK WEB GROUP
Don, Rob and Will got together and launched the Norwalk Web Group as a team to publish a website for their local Norwalk Church and to develop other websites for evangelism purposes. Within a few weeks the Norwalk Church website designed by Don was proudly hosted on a TAGnet server under the domain name www.NorwalkSDA.org. The site subsequently went on to win an "eChurch Award". Sponsored by the TAGnet and the North American Division, the eChurch Award was an initiative designed to promote church website excellence.
ADVENTIST WEB COMMUNICATION INITIATIVE
In 2002 the Norwalk Web Group launched the Adventist Web Information project, a venture to use the World Wide Web to help prepare the world for the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. Called "AdventWeb", the ministry was an initiative to construct and publish strategic websites for information purposes. The project subsequently received funding from the Pacific Union Conference, and construction of the first website www.EllenWhite.info was begun. This was a site on the life, teaching and prophetic message of Adventist pioneer Ellen G. White. In the meantime, a Chinese website, www.Yesu.cn, was also launched. This was followed by www.AWA7.org, the web ministry resource center website of the Adventist Webservants Association.
"DOT INFO" (.info) WEBSITE DOMAIN NAME ACQUISITIONS
Around 2001 the Internet Corporation for Assignes Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international authority which regulates website domain names and Internet Protocal (IP) address code numbers, introduced the new "dot info" (.info) domain name extensions. This enabled the registration of a whole new category of domain names using the ".info" extension, for example domains such as "Theology.info" and "Prophecy.info". The ".info" domains were an addition to the existing ".com", ".org" and ".net" domains. AdventWeb reasoned that the ".info" domains would be perfect for use on websites disseminating religious information.
In cooperation with Darryl Hosford of Hosford Web Services in Berrien Springs MI, AdventWeb secured several key ".info" domain names that could be used for outreach websites. Please see the web page "Portfolio of Domains" for a table of the ".info" domains that were obtained. One of the domains obtained by the late Ted Wade was "EllenWhite.info", which is now being used for AdventWeb's flagship www.EllenWhite.info website. Darryl Hosford subsequently developed the "SimpleUpdates" website content management system, which was the platform chosen for the North America Division's "Adventist Church Connect" free website program for Adventist churches in North America.
GLOBAL ADVENTIST INTERNET NETWORK (GAIN)
AdventWeb has been involved with the Adventist Church's "Global Adventist Internet Network" (GAIN) since its inception as an initiative of the General Conference. AdventWeb was a participant at the profound Fall 2002 meeting of a sub-committee council of the Executive Committee which focused on using technology in ministry. At that session, Will Baron and Don Yancy of the Norwalk Church gave a powerpoint presentation on contextualized communication using the Internet. Presentations were also made by the TAGnet and BibleInfo.com Internet ministries. In response to the various presentations made at the council, the GC administration subsequently organized the "Adventist Global Internet Network" forum event, an exploratory think tank which first met in Las Vegas in April 2003. AdventWeb's coordinator Will Baron was a delegate at that historic meeting, which laid the foundation for Adventist denomination administration's formal promotion of Internet ministry.
GAIN ANNUAL FORUM MEETINGS
In response to recommendations made at the Las Vegas Internet ministry forum, the GC organized a "Adventist Global Internet Network" (GAIN) committee, to promote Internet ministry in the Adventist Church, and to make the forum meeting an annual event to be held at various venues around the globe. Under the sponsorship of the GC, the GAIN committee organized the second forum meeting, held in the Fall of 2004 at the General Conference headquarters building in Silver Spring, Maryland USA. This meeting was open to all Adventists who had an interest in using the Internet for ministry. Subsequent GAIN forums have been held in Bangkok, Thailand (2005); San Diego, California USA (2006); London, England UK (2007); Denver, Colorado USA (2008); and Orlando, Florida USA (2009). There was no GAIN forum organized for 2010 due to the fact that the General Conference Session of the world-wide Adventist Church was held that year. Since 2011 there has been a GAIN event each year, typically held in the early part of the year.