Behind-the-Scenes Details of the One Project

(Spectrumbot) #1

Question: The One Project is heading to San Diego for a Gathering on February 8 and 9, 2015. How many people will be there?

Answer: We like the gatherings in North America to be 700-750 people. This year, we sold out before the end of December, but we had so many requests, that we decided to open it up for more attendees. We have capped it at just over 1,000.

Question: How many Gatherings has the One Project had so far?

Answer: If you include our first “gathering,” (which was just the five of us in Room 602 at the Holiday Inn near the Denver Airport) San Diego will mark our 17th gathering. People from all over have attended Gatherings in Denver, Atlanta, Helsinki, Sydney, Seattle, Copenhagen, Chicago, Mjøndalen, Newcastle, Binfield, Berrien Springs, Utrecht, Perth, Auckland — and now San Diego.

Question: How much will attendees pay to attend the San Diego Gathering?

Answer: Registration varied from $130 for the early birds to $230 for the late rate. If you think about the fact that people have to pay for food, hotel, and travel expenses, and average it out to $1000 per person times the 5,259 it means that just $5.239 million has been spent. Remember that we are really small compared to others…. but that is overwhelming.

Question: How many meals will be provided overall? Is it difficult to feed everyone vegetarian food? Are you even sticking to a vegetarian menu?

Answer: Food is really important. So we don’t offer any. We provided breakfast one year (provided by the hotel) and the post-gathering survey revealed the general dissatisfaction. It was the only area we scored really low scores. So we removed it. People are much happier when they choose their food themselves.

Question: What else do you have to organize? Goody bags? Water bottles? Name tags?

Answer: I am really particular about every element in the gathering. I do care about the shape, weight, color, design and feel of the ID tags. We want registration to be really simple and clean.

Much like Apple pays attention to the packaging of its products, we care about the details. We will get samples of envelopes to check for feel in our hands, the ease of opening, the look of them stacked, etc. Our gatherings vary depending on budget but we have offered in the past: journals, pens, mint boxes, note pads, blessing cards, free/saved cards, and books.

Question: What will the average age of the attendees be?

Answer: 42

Question: Do people tend to come to just once, or are they repeat visitors?

Answer: We have a core group that returns — some have been with us since Atlanta 2011. We used to preach the entire series and repeat it at all the gatherings. For 2015, we are going to offer a new theme and message for each gathering.

Question: How many minutes will attendees spend listening to presentations in the big group, and how many talking in small groups?

Answer: The recalibration (that is the around-the-tables-talking) times varies from from gathering to gathering, depending on what we need to create. We have asked all those who offer reflections to stay to 18 minutes per message. If you go online, you will see that most presenters have been able to stick to that, although some were carried away ;-)

Question: How important is media/AV in the One Project presentations?

Answer: There is a lot of complexity in the AV that we like to present with absolute simplicity. Clean slides. Clean images. Clean identity.

Question: What makes the One Project different than any of the other big Adventist gatherings, or other Christian conferences?

Answer: We are not a summit, or symposium, or convention, or a conference, we are simply a gathering. I have lost count of how many “conferences” I have attended.

While most were quite excellent, the most memorable moments were late at night in a hotel lobby, or sitting on the floor in a hotel corridor and engaging in honest conversation. To that end, we created the gatherings with lots of space for those moments. Two-hour lunch breaks. Thirty-minute refreshment breaks. Everyone seated in tables of 8 to10 people. No one seated in rows. Table facilitators. Nothing planned for the evening. Lots of great restaurants near our location. We have too many smart people who we can learn from. So the space to connect and hear is really important to our gatherings.

Question: What is the most effective way you have found to advertise One Project Gatherings? How important is social media to the One Project?

Answer: Personal invitation. We create a list and call people. It is really hard work. But every phone call or email turns into a story. I have wept many a time after a call/text/email. Over and over I hear stories of people who found the gatherings provided the space to re-charge and stay faithful to God and their tribe.

We have just over 4,000 people who receive our daily email devotionals leading up to the gatherings. We have not pushed hard on social media. One day we will have staff and that will be a priority. We do have a pretty great iPhone app and our website has a really good read-and-stay rate.

Question: How long will you remain so actively involved in organizing and running the One Project? Will you "retire" from this huge undertaking, or do you intend to keep working to make it grow?

Answer: There are moments when I thought about closing the One project down or stepping away from it. Not because it is a lot of work. Not because we have a shoe-string budget. Not because we need staff.

Yes, in part because the malicious negativity is relentless.

But — and this is huge — I have seen too many people find Jesus again to stop. I have heard of too many people who return to their local churches renewed and committed to stop. I have see Jesus change my life, so that I can’t stop. I have seen too many wonderful people who inspire me, so that stopping is impossible. Just meet Rod and Zan Long from Australia and see the innovation of the Gospel that they have generated and you too would say: None of us can stop. So we take the high road and we press on.

I think we will grow the One project with continued focus on the future of Adventism at the local church. For San Diego, I have 36 of the leaders from my church in Boulder, Colorado attending. Monday night — after spending two days pouring over the Sermon on the Mount, and closing with communion and a blessing — we are going to meet and dream about the future of our local church.

Twelve days later the church and board elders will meet to envision our church’s future. Jesus has called us to preach the Good News. That news is scandalous and foolishness to some (1 Cor 1:23) but it is the news that we need to hear.

Can you tell that I have missed being at a local church? For me there is nothing quite like it.

Jesus. All.

Japhet De Oliveira is senior pastor of the Boulder Seventh-day Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado. Originally from England, he most recently served as university chaplain at Andrews University, and director of the Center for Youth Evangelism before that.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Bille) #2

Thank you, Japhet, for your personal involvement in The One Project… and a big Thank You to all those who have worked together to build this vision of Seventh-day Adventism as putting primary focus on the ONE on Whom we all depend… whether we recognize it or not. I share your dream that this emphasis will come to permeate our whole church, from the very top to the lowliest member in a small local church or company.

I’ve been blessed very much by the messages I’ve been able to watch on-line for the last several years, and especially recently by the brief devotionals that you have been sending out in preparation for the San Diego Gathering. I hope that you can find ways to continue these.

May God shed His blessings upon you… and may your tribe increase!

(Jesse Andrews) #3

This seems to be the most progressive, Christ-focused, classic Adventist events (in terms of the traditional, old-fashioned one-on-one and discussions among small groups of dedicated Christ followers).

Not sure how to get on the exclusive email list for an invitation. I don’t live in Boulder or any of the wonderfully blessed places where this group has met.

Who is the target audience for these events that grew out of six people?

(Thomas J Zwemer) #4

Back in about 1960 the Signs carried an article by Dr Heppenstall entitled “The Centrality of The Cross”. It was a compelling essay for me. more recently John Stott wrote a master piece entitled The Cross of Christ. this also deepened my faith and assurance. This, I understand is the under pinning of the One Project. How ever any subset of Adventism is always held in suspicion. Yet the unspoken point seems to be there is something more important than the 28.

The issue seems to be how can pastors reach their congregations with the Gospel in a legalistic harness? If so, God’s speed. Tom Z

(Sirje) #5

That is the question. There have been numerous attempts to meld the Gospel with - thou must also keep the commandments. Anywhere there are thinking people, sincerely looking for answers, there can’t be the Gospel as reflected in its power - with the addendum, PS: you must also keep the Sabbath.

Not to be misunderstood, the Sabbath (+ the other nine) can most assuredly be part of the Christian walk, but it can’t be a mandate for salvation, as hard as they might try to make it so.

(le vieux) #6

And so we have another opportunity to allow the enemy in the back door of the church. Wake up, people; this is dangerous stuff: mystical, spiritualistic, emerging church philosophy packaged in an Adventist container. Dr. Kellogg would be pleased. (This sort of ignorant judgmentalism is unconscionable. - webEd)

Watch the symposium on the Emerging Church held at Sacramento Central last fall. Look at the material from Lighthouse Trails.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #7

isn’t strange that there are Sabbatharians who believe in theistic evolution and Sunday keepers who believe in Gen 1,2?

(Thomas J Zwemer) #8

please explain more about the linkage between Project One and the Emerging Church. it seems the Web Editor agrees with your apprehensions. (Agrees?? Certainly not. - webEd) I have grave doubts about the Emerging Church movement, but know less about your apprehension over Project One. I stand with Paul. gimmicks I can do without. Tom Z

(Thomas J Zwemer) #9

Dear Web Editor What does “Like It Too” mean? Tom Z

(Bille) #10

It means that if you click on the little heart, you will be included in the list of those who have “liked” that item… which you can see by clicking on the word “person” in the statement that others have liked it.

(Bille) #11

It is not really an “exclusive” list. Go to The One Project website, where you will get to “meet” Japhet “up close and personal” as well as find promotional material for their upcoming Gatherings, details of their history, their purpose, many testimonials, and archived presentations from past gatherings.

The target audience I would describe as being “humans living in the 21st century”… IOW, everyone. Their format, dress, music, and use of technology may not be the most familiar/comfortable to us octogenarians, but their messages are balm for the weary soul and food for the growing spirit.

For archived material go to “resources”, where you can 1) sign up for the newsletter, 2) read past news letters… including the current series which is called “generations” and which was in number 30 of 40 on Jan. 30, 3) read the recommended book list for attendees, and 4) most important maybe of all, go to Media, and chose video… where you will see blocks of pictures, which, when you run your cursor over them you will see titles of that choice contains. Only after you click on the item will you see the name, topic, and venue of the presenter. There is also the option of choosing a “filter” if you want to zero in on one specific Gathering.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #12

Bille Thanks Tom Zwemer

(Bille) #13

You are welcome TomZ.

(Steve Mga) #14

Jesus Said: If you love me keep my commandments.
The gospel writers wrote the Commandments of Jesus in the Gospels.
Perhaps those are where we need to begin with people.

One is: Let your light shine. [Be who you are, and who you are becoming]
Another is: Be Salt. Change the flavors of life around you.[In words and deeds]
There a whole lot more.

(Bille) #15

If you can call it a “linkage”, it is to be found in the fact that both those who refer to themselves as the Emerging Church… or “Emergent Christianity”… and those in The One Project… are working within their own various Christian communities to get back to Jesus Christ and to the simplicity of the gospel in Paul. This means that they are not all focused on exactly the same practices or doctrines that they feel need to be de-emphasized in order to make room for Christ, which also means that there are disagreements on some points between various ones. But what it does NOT mean is that they are throwing out the doctrines of each of their own communities. It only means they are putting them in the right relationship between salvation and the results this produces in our lives.

The “Emergent” vocabulary is somewhat based on the agricultural analogy between the “emergence” of new growth in springtime, which develops slowly, but gives promise of a rich harvest after it is grown. It’s not anything to be apprehensive of or to entertain “grave doubts” about.

For a comparison you can probably relate to… John Stott would have been considered an “Emergent” if that word had been coined in his day.

(Steve Mga) #16

The Emergent Church philosophy does not do away with Doctrines.
The Emergent Church philosophy changes the Life Question of “Who am I?” to “Whose am I?” It transforms the question to a “relationship” answer. It presents it as “Journeying to God, With God.” It asks, "Where am I?"
It changes the question of What do I do? to also ask the question of “HOW do I do?”, "Why do I do?"
It changes the question of What do I believe? to the question of “HOW do I believe?”, “Who do I believe?” Belief become Experience, Experiential.

(Jesse Andrews) #17


You have attended one of these events?

(le vieux) #18

I think the symposium on this subject is on YouTube. Google “Emerging Church Symposium at SAC Central,” and you should be able to come up with something.

(le vieux) #19

I’ve listened to firest hand accounts of those who have attended them.

(Jesse Andrews) #20

I don’t mean hearsay filtered through someone else. Have you yourself attended one of these events?