Washington Leaders Join Jesus Conversation in Seattle

In a triple-size hotel ballroom in downtown Seattle, Wash., nearly 700 leaders reconnected with old friends and met new ministry partners. They formed small communities at round tables to talk for two days about one topic: Jesus. All.

The One Project, a gathering to celebrate the supremacy of Jesus in the Adventist Church, brings together young adults and church leaders for conversations on the practical application of Jesus' ministry in their own lives, churches and communities.

"I wanted to experience a sense of community, get feedback, strengthen my spiritual walk and ignite new ideas," says Jenny Welch, a church planter from Anacortes, Wash.

The gathering combined meaningful times of worship with thought-provoking sermons on Jesus at crucial time periods in Adventist history and examined how to center Jesus in Adventist doctrine, mission and community.

"The speakers repeatedly called for the church to make Jesus central in everything, from our preaching to our policy making, from our identity as a people to our message as an organization," says John McLarty, North Hill Adventist Fellowship (Edgewood, Wash.) pastor. "They easily demonstrated that Adventists through the decades have prized their relationship with Jesus."

Mark Witas, North Cascade Church (Burlington, Wash.) pastor, gave one of the seven keynote addresses and talked about how Jesus' character is reflected in Adventist doctrines. "Doctrine is often used to define us," Witas says. "Doctrine ought to be an expression of love to clarify and explain the Father."

"[The One Project] is a time to reset ourselves in Jesus Christ and associate with people whose hope is in Jesus Christ," says Japhet De Oliveira, gathering co-organizer. "This is a gathering that provides space for leaders from all walks of life to pause and enter deep conversations on Jesus."

Community-building small-group discussions following the keynote presentations branched into hallway chats, lunchtime conversations, evening talks and social-media interactions.

"I enjoyed taking some of our young pastors to lunch and talking with them about their dreams for the Seventh-day Adventist Church," says John Freedman, Washington Conference president, who was among 50 western Washington attendees at The One Project.

The conversations generated in Seattle are continuing informally here at home and formally in Europe, Australia and other cities in the United States. Explore more at www.the1project.org.

April 01, 2012 / Washington Conference
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Heidi Martella, Washington Conference communication director