Why just Jesus?

Pastor Japhet J De Oliveira.

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Avondale is not only hosting but co-organising a more intimate gathering of the One project as it returns to campus for a third consecutive year.

Avondale 1:1 is a single-day gathering limited to the first 150 people who register. The gathering will explore what it meant and means to be a follower of Jesus. Reflection sessions will revisit the story of Jesus and discover how His disciple-making shapes our life and mission as His disciples now. Recalibration sessions and a response session will help participants apply the messages to their lives by encouraging conversation through discussion and questions.

Why has the One project introduced these gatherings and what is it like attending one? And is the One project’s “Jesus. All.” focus too narrow?

Co-founder and chair Pastor Japhet J De Oliveira explains in this conversation with Avondale College of Higher Education Public Relations Officer Brenton Stacey.

A 1:1 gathering is a local church-based gathering. What motivated the One project to introduce it?

Our love for the local church. While our gatherings are safe sacred spaces to bring people back into focus with Jesus, we recognise not everyone can take two days off “life” to attend. The 1:1 gatherings combine the incredible creativity of local churches with the One project model, and it’s proving to be a more intimate safe sacred space for more lives to be transformed.

The Avondale gathering is the first 1:1 gathering in Australia. You’ve hosted two 1:1 gatherings at your local church in Boulder (Colorado, USA). What’s it like? How does the experience compare to a usual gathering?

The Avondale gathering will be only the fourth 1:1 gathering worldwide. Yes, we’ve hosted two at my church and Dr A Allan Martin has just hosted one at his church in Arlington (Texas, USA). Allan and I were debriefing about the energy we’ve experienced at these gatherings. It’s entirely different, as these are people with whom we’ve personally connected. They’re members of our local church, so we’re journeying together and reflecting at these gatherings on what that means in practice. The results for us at Boulder have been brilliant—a renewed engagement in our church’s mission. We’ve seen people consider church for the first time in a long time. We’ve also seen that when you answer the ultimate question, “Who do you say I am?”, concluding He is Jesus our Saviour can only bring the revolution of change home.

The Avondale 1:1 gathering will explore what it meant and means to be a follower of Jesus. This practical focus seems to reflect the One project’s move into mission. Are discipleship and service by-products of your “Jesus. All.” focus?

Absolutely. In fact, the Avondale 1:1 gathering has a powerful direct theme that the One project leadership team loves. I’ve enjoyed reading Peter Roennfeldt’s book Following Jesus. (Peter is one of the presenters at the Avondale 1:1 gathering; Following Jesus is his new book on discipleship.) Not least because Peter was a powerful mentor in my life but because of his ability to effortlessly distill and challenge us on our walk with Jesus. The joy of being a disciple is the call of Jesus on our lives to make space for others to know and to love God. That gospel reality is changing the world as we know it.

This is the One project’s sixth year in Australia and it remains focused on celebrating the supremacy of Jesus through the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Why just Jesus? What not God and the Holy Spirit, too?

We’re committed to the idea that a Jesus-driven, Jesus-bathed, Jesus-backed, Jesus-led, Jesus-filled, Jesus-powered, all-about-Jesus Adventist Church is the uncompromising directive from our past, the joy of our present and hope for our future. We claim the primal Adventist impulse: a longing to be with Jesus. But we’re not ignoring God and the Holy Spirit. We believe Jesus is the full revelation of God in the world, so when we speak of Jesus, we are speaking of God. The function of the Holy Spirit is to bring people to a greater recognition of Jesus. So, if we are speaking of Jesus, it is the Holy Spirit that leads us to the speaking, to the recognition of Jesus as God, and in the speaking of Jesus we reveal who God is to the world. A Jesus-drenched conversation can be called a Spirit-Drenched conversation or a God-Drenched conversation. It’s a continual process of discovery.

The One project Avondale 1:1

“Following Jesus.” What did it mean to be a follower of Jesus? What does it mean today? A focused one-day gathering where you will worship, reflect, recalibrate and respond. Speakers include Drs Peter Roennfeldt, Kayle de Waal and Lisa Clark Diller. Gathering limited to the first 150 people who register. Registration fee: $70 (includes lunch). Early-bird special: register by May 26 and receive free entry to two post-gathering events: Tell Me A Story and Just Disciples. Ella Hughes Chapel, Avondale College of Higher Education (Lake Macquarie campus), August 12. Visit www.the1project.org for more.

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