The One Project â Seattle
More than 700 people, including a large group of Walla Walla University faculty, students and church members, gathered for The One Project, a time of discussion-based programming and inspirational worship, held in mid-February in Seattle, Wash.
"It was good to engage in fresh conversation with one another and to celebrate communion as one body," says Alex Bryan, WWU Church senior pastor. "There was, and continues to be, a sense that God is up to something special in this young movement."
The One Project began only two years ago in a single hotel meeting room when Bryan and four of his ministerial colleagues gathered in Denver, Colo., to reflect and focus on making Jesus primary in their lives. Since then, the interest and attendance has been building, as they met in Atlanta, Ga., and Finland.
The conference attracted many young Adventists, including a number of students. Bridget Bechtel, a WWU senior elementary education major — who spends her summers working as the girls' director at Camp MiVoden in Hayden Lake, Idaho — drove across Washington state to attend the event.
"It was an amazing experience," she says. "I loved how everything they mentioned was about Jesus. After a presenter spoke, we shared our thoughts about what was said, how it related to God, and how we could learn from it."
Nolan Kinne, a WWU senior pre-med music major, originally attended The One Project because he was invited to play violin. However, he soon discovered that the event would be more than just about his musical performance.
"It was like nothing I've ever been to before," Kinne says. "It wasn't a convention, and it wasn't a seminar. The leaders call it a gathering, and that is exactly what it felt like. It was a gathering of Seventh-day Adventists, placing Jesus at the center of our hearts and religion."
Kinne also spoke to the value of being exposed to other views on important ideas, after he sat and discussed each new topic with a diverse group of people. Like many who attended, Kinne came away from the experience thinking about how churches could revolutionize their communities if the words of Jesus were fully implemented.
"If the message of Jesus is adopted by a church, it will transform it into one that loves, cares for and accepts the worst of sinners and guides them to Jesus," Kinne says. "It will be one which is not torn apart by disagreements of doctrine or theology but united and focused on one goal — sharing Jesus with others."
The next gathering is scheduled for 2013 in Chicago, Ill., and will center on the messages of the four Gospels. Visit www.the1project.org for more information.