By Dick Duerksen, February 26, 2017: “150 chairs should be enough. No problem. … Better get some more chairs. These are filling up quickly.” Pastor Benjamin Lundquist, director of Young Adult Ministries for the Adventist denomination’s Oregon Conference, was concerned. Everything had to be just right for the February 17 Oregon Young Adult Night of Worship (ORYA NOW).
The team had brought in the very best band and singers. Pastor Jackie James was stalking the halls reviewing his sermon. The hospitality volunteers were putting the final touches on the evening’s snacks. And, most importantly, several young adults were deep in prayer; asking God to send the right people to the event. One young adult went out on a limb and invited two Buddhist friends, not only did they come, but they are coming back for the next worship night.
“We need more chairs,” one of the hostesses told the guys.
The chairs were placed and quickly filled by young adults from throughout Oregon and Washington. Some even came from Arizona and Idaho. All came eager for an evening of worship and restoration.
I stood in the back, holding a couple cameras and telephoto lenses. It was a tough assignment: take good photos of those guiding the program and those reveling in the experience, all in a darkened room while the lighting shifts from green to blue and to red.
The music was at the top of the spiritual worship chart, and Stephanie Cruz, who serves as a soloist for Hillsong Church in Arizona, led everyone to the foot of God’s throne and then turned the platform over to Pastor Jackie James, new family pastor at Meadow Glade Adventist Church. His message, brief and powerful, left no questions about how God feels about you. “You are Loved!”
Ben Lacy, praise leader for the evening said, “This is what it is all about, uplifting the name of Jesus, and watching Him share love and hope with our generation.”
“Miracles happen through prayer,” says Pastor Lundquist, “so NOW will always have prayer at its core. Those prayers will assure that everything we do here is in tune with the desires of God.”
NOW was an evening with God. The Bible was foremost. Hearts filled, tears flowed, prayers raised, and commitments to The Savior strengthened throughout the evening.
The NOW night of Worship started at 7 pm, and the lobby was filled with happy conversation until after 11 pm. The next NOW is scheduled for Friday night, May 5 at 8:07 pm.
Dick Duerksen is well known among Adventists as a writer and photographer. He is assistant to the president of the Oregon Conference for creative ministries. The featured photo is one that he took during the event reported in this article.