Ernest Staats, IT director at Georgia-Cumberland Academy (GCA) since 1999, was the recent recipient of an Excellence in Ministry Award. This award, given for “continual outstanding excellence” in various areas of ministry, is given out only two times every five years when the North American Division (NAD) holds its Adventist Ministries Convention.
Nancy Lamoreaux, director for Information Technology Services for the NAD, presented the award to Staats at the Monterey, Calif. meetings this past January. Lamoreaux noted that this is the first time an academy IT director has received this award. “Ernest demonstrates a very high commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist church with the work he has done and is doing at GCA.” She also noted his work in providing resources to the church in the area of security, as well as his training of GCA students in “best security practices as well as general computer best practices.”
Lamoreaux and Staats both see IT work as an important ministry within the church. Lamoreaux says that IT services should deliver those they serve the “best software, hardware and service that we can provide.” Staats observed that, “Everything in the church runs on technology. Technology is expanding the ways people receive the gospel through streaming, social media, and other ways of sharing information.”
Staats was surprised and honored that he was recognized with the Excellence in Ministry Award. “I am humbled that I have been able to contribute to the ministry of the church,” he said. “I am pleased that my team of young staff and I are able to facilitate the ministry of the church.”
Passionate about working with and protecting young people using technology, Staats is a frequent presenter at professional meetings, as well as church-related programs. His presentation at the NAD meetings focused on how churches can stream services and set up a wireless network. It was entitled, “The Streaming and WIFI Best Practices on a Budget.”
Staats has earned Bachelor of Science degrees in computer science education and business management from Union College and a Master of Science in information assurance from Norwich University. He is married to Carrie Staats, who is a GCA teacher, and is the father of Nuriah and Asa.
by Nancy Gerard, GCA development director