Sydney, New South Wales
The One Project attracted a record 400 participants to its gathering in Sydney last month, and also launched in a new location, Perth.
If church was more like The One Project from Sabbath to Sabbath, with more interaction and response, it would be a healthier environment.
The weekend gatherings offered a varied menu of speakers from the USA, UK and Australia, led by The One Project’s co-founders, including Pastor Japhet de Oliveira and Pastor Sam Leonor. The format of the weekend maximised opportunities for interaction, with participants seated around tables and given time to reflect together after each of the 20-minute talks.
“If church was more like The One Project from Sabbath to Sabbath, with more interaction and response,” said Pastor Terry Johnson, president of the Western Australia Conference, “it would be a healthier environment.”
Although The One Project weekend in Perth was not an official Conference event, the invitation to hold the gathering came from Pastor Johnson.
The mainstreaming of The One Project was also a feature of the Sydney gathering, with Greater Sydney Conference president Pastor Michael Worker welcoming participants to the event and noting that at least half of the Conference’s executive committee was present.
“We have learned some things here that we hope to replicate in The One Project in other parts of the world,” said Pastor Alex Bryan, co-chair of The One Project and senior pastor of Walla Walla University Church in Washington State, USA.
Comments from participants at the Sydney event indicated that previous gatherings—in Australia and elsewhere—had featured what One Project organiser, Pastor Terry Swenson, called “rawness”—people openly revealing their personal hurts and disappointments with their church experience. The atmosphere in Sydney was much more positive, with a focus on people sharing their dreams for the church during open mic sessions between speakers.
A new feature of The One Project in Sydney was the inclusion of a community service project, where participants travelled to the inner city to offer practical help to the homeless.
The One Project is holding a conference in Auckland on November 8-9 and plans are being developed for a return to Australia in 2015.
For more information visit <the1project.org>.