Young Adults Encounter God in Seattle
An Adventist-sponsored event called "Relentless," which is part of a larger movement called GODencounters, was held in late January at the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. Attendance was nearly 200 on Sabbath morning. Jeff Gang, GODencounters co-founder, prayed the program would be a "catalyst for deep, personal experiences with God, not an act or a program, but an everyday, every moment way of living."
"Relentless" was sponsored by 24-Seven Ministry Center. Matthew Gamble, of VagaBONDSERVANT International, flew in to speak, and Soulfill, Jon Davidson and Garage Voice provided music.
Ministering to the secular UW campus has been a challenge because even Adventists who attend the UW have difficulty staying connected to the church.
Tiffany Varesko, UW graduate, says, "I remember coming as a transfer student and trying to find Adventists on campus; it wasn't the easiest task...I was somewhat shocked to see [the group] consisted of just five to 10 people. The club is clearly in the process of making a huge movement for God."
24-Seven Ministry Center has sponsored the group, also known as the UW chapter of Adventist Christian Fellowship, since 2006. The group has helped students stay involved and encouraged them to share the gospel with their classmates.
Victoria Campbell, another UW graduate, founded the chapter in 2003. She says, "I can't believe how much it's grown! I didn't do much in getting it launched—just planted a seed really. But now, the work of God is evident. It's awesome."
Seattle has always been considered a difficult city to reach. But Brenda Ferguson, a 24-Seven member, says, "[That while it] is the most unchurched city in the nation, unchurched doesn't mean people don't have or want a relationship with Jesus. There is a difference between relationship and ‘religionship.'"
Many of the young adults who attended the event came to the same conclusion. Outreach is not just inviting people to vespers or church, although that obviously works for some people and is always a seed planted. In the end, the best way to reach out on campus is to make friends and build trust, and then growing God's kingdom will be inevitable.