By Allan Martin, June 22, 2017: “It great to know that Jesus is still a draw in 2017,” beamed Pastor Lola Moore Johnston, young adult ministries director for the Adventist denomination’s South Central Conference. “It was refreshing to be in a space with people, young and mature, who were excited to hear and speak about Jesus.”
DFW 1:1 was a smaller-scale version of The One Project gatherings hosted this Spring at the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in the suburbs between Dallas and Forth Worth, Texas. The goal was to help people, especially new generations, deepen their relationship with Jesus and foster a profound, positive relationship with their community.
The event “set the record straight for what we, as Seventh-day Adventists, believe and should exemplify every day; love,” stated Ashley Hollon, a 27-year-old architect from Dallas. “It all comes down to love; Love for God and love for others.”
“The Heart of Jesus” as a focus was based on the Luke 15 in the New Testament. Featured speakers included Johnston, Pastor David Franklin from Miracle City Church in Baltimore and Dr. Alex Bryan, senior pastor of the Walla Walla University Church in College Place, Washington.
“I was immensely blessed by my experience” said Cece Cobb, a 27-year-old software engineer also from Dallas. “The speakers were dynamic and the messages thought-provoking. … Each session concluded with honest and heart-felt conversations about how we as individuals, and as a community, could more fully develop the heart of Jesus.”
Following the general sessions, the event offered times for “recalibration,” allowing participants to process their thoughts on the various presentations and to begin engaging in practical applications intended to make a difference in their lives. This included time praying together.
“I appreciated and enjoyed the chance to not just listen to a sermon, but also dig deeper into what the speaker said,” noted 31-year-old teacher, Kristina Cruz, from San Antonio, Texas. “The Recalibrate round table discussions gave us all a chance to express ourselves and ask questions. Recalibrate gave us a deeper look into our own personal thoughts on matters that are affecting not only young adults, but the Church as a whole.”
Vennor Hackshaw, a lay elder at Arlington Church, said, “To me the most important parts were the Recalibrate sessions, where we got opportunities to engage our youth in conversation by listening and sharing experiences. In their search for answers to life’s challenges, I could sense their passion for Christ and their desire to have a more intimate relationship with Him.”
“I also enjoyed the meaningful fellowship opportunities as facilitated by the Recalibrate sessions,” added Cobb.
Additionally, the event offered Generation One (ages 13-17) and TOP Kids (ages 4-12) sessions to help bring teens and children into a closer relationship with Jesus through fun, interactive activities and social events. Michelle Mattingly, a 34-year-old dispatcher from Arlington, shared her experience as she served as a volunteer for the generation One program, “I saw teens filled with the Spirit, being welcoming and taking on the mentoring and leadership roles with their peers and younger children. I was so humbled to see how wonderful and full of the Spirit the teens of this church are.”
As a culmination to the event, an eclectic ensemble of young artists, musicians and worship leaders called the Elemental Worship Collective offered a “Night Of Worship” concert filled with authentic expressions of praise to honor Christ Jesus. “The music completed the feel of the event, and the worship leaders did an amazing job leading us into a worshipful mode,” added Cruz. “DFW 1:1 was such an eye-opening experience and I was blessed to attend.”
“DFW 1:1 was a rich spiritual experience,” reflected Hackshaw. For him “it was about coaching, mentoring and connecting with young people. We were challenged by the speakers to come out of our comfort zones and connect with the youth of our church.”
With the goals of focusing on the heart of Jesus and fostering inter-generational community, the event was organized by Younger Generation Church, the young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I would really encourage adults to stop and have a conversation with our young people,” said Hackshaw. “Get to know them by name and face, then listen to their dreams and aspirations. Make a connection; it is rewarding on both sides.”
The One Project is a network of Adventist pastors, campus chaplains and young adult ministry leaders which now reaches around the world. Annual gatherings are held in the United States and other countries to provide a singular spiritual focus on a personal relationship with Christ and His call to serve and share.
Dr. A. Allan Martin is the teaching pastor for the young adult ministry at the Arlington Adventist Church. He has served as a faculty member in the seminary at Andrews University and a pastor in Celebration, Florida.
The featured photo captured one of the Recalibrate groups praying together about the needs and goals of one person in the group.