Connecting the youth

It was to be specifically for young people. That was the idea that District Apostle Norberto Batista announced in 2007 when he decided to launch a magazine for his working area. And it is still produced for the youth, every month anew.

Camila is excited: the February issue of JNA conectada is online. She scrolls through the website of the Regional Church South America and clicks on the new magazine. Camila is 18 years old and from Paraguay. The young people in Paraguay had recently met with District Elder Alejandro Caracciolo, while he was on a visit there. The new issue carries a report of the visit. “I was so happy when I saw our congregation in the magazine and for having been able to comment there on what we did and how we experienced that meeting,” she says. There are additional reports on youth events, enhanced by animated elements and motion design. And there is even something to listen to.

It took the editorial team of the New Apostolic Church South America a month to design this virtual magazine. They had help from members and young people, who gladly sent in reports and pictures from various places in the Regional Church. A great job: the issues of JNA conectada are created in a young and modern way and are a real eye-catcher.

How everything began

September 2007. Youth conventions were held on the first two weekends of the month across South America. A total of 9,300 young people from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay took part in the various events throughout the Regional Church. The then District Apostle Norberto Batista described the youth conventions as “very enriching meetings”. He himself was in Buenos Aires, where he announced from the altar that the youth would get their own magazine.

The editorial team immediately got down to work. In December 2007, the first issue of JNA conectada came off the press. Viviana Aloy, one of the editors, remembers: “The first issue also included a welcome letter, written by District Apostle Batista, with a message dedicated to the young people. Other contents included an article on a biblical theme (written by the then Apostle Norberto Passuni) and several sections on general topics, such as health and entertainment.”

About 10,000 copies were printed. The surrounding districts picked up their copies at the Church offices while the rest of the issues were sent by post.

Something to look forward to every month

Since then, the magazine has been published on a monthly basis in Spanish and Portuguese. The content is both entertaining and informative. The “Word of the Month” (La palabra del mes), for example, is either based on the Bible text of the youth service, on a religious feast, or special occasions such as confirmation. Other spiritual topics are, for example, content from the Catechism. Entertaining content includes youth activities and meetings of the young people at district or congregational level or on a larger scale. The young people are happy to supply the articles and photos themselves. Occasionally, someone even submits an experience of faith which they think could help other young people. The editorial team also regularly asks Apostles to write a message for the young people.

To ensure the quality of the magazine, a language professor who is on the editorial team edits and proofreads all submissions. Like the other editors, she is employed by the New Apostolic Church South America and therefore does not cost extra. The only extra costs are those for the layout of the issues. District Apostle Enrique Eduardo Minio is happy to pay for this so that the youth in his working area (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay) can read the magazine at no charge to them.

What the young people want

In English conectada means “connected”, and this is exactly what the church in South America wants: it wants to be connected with the young people. That is why the editorial team is constantly asking itself what the young people want. And to keep pace they stay in touch with the young people and the youth leaders. This is how Viviana Aloy and her team realised that they would have to prepare and design content differently to reach the younger youth in particular. That is why an Instagram account was launched alongside the magazine. Since April 2019 JNA conectada is available as a digital magazine and since January 2020 as a multimedia magazine. Every issue carries animation and embedded videos.

The magazine is also advertised and distributed virtually. All it takes are a few clicks and Camila can share the magazine’s link with her friends via WhatsApp and let them share in her experience with the visiting minister and the joy of it.

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