Together As One 2017

Encourages Better Connected Communities

In early January, Oregon Conference pastors, educators, student leaders, and department directors got together for the second annual Together As One (TAO) summit at the Holden Convention Center in Gladstone, Ore. The theme was Redeemed and the goal was to encourage the building of closer relationships between schools, churches, and the communities they reside in. Better intentional integration between the Adventist schools and churches will work to widen and deepen the ability to bring Christ to every family.

We asked some of the speakers and attendees what they hoped those attending would take away from the event. Here are a some of the responses received…

Gale Crosby - Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, VP of Education

The goal for this TAO summit, with the theme of redemption, was to have all of our ministers (pastors, teachers, student leaders, and conference department directors) come together to focus on Jesus: “It’s all about Jesus” and His calling on each of us: “What Extravagant love the Father has for each of us, that we should be called Children of God” and to strengthen our ties to reach our community for Jesus: “My children, love one another”.

Our purpose was to come together and remind each other that we are living in the last days of this world's history and that we are called to meet the needs of our community. Our student leaders were a huge blessing for these meetings. Of our seven keynote speakers, four were students from our academies. During the discussion time, many of our students spoke passionately about reaching the community for Jesus. They brought insights that were from a new and vibrant perspective. Looking forward, I am excited to work with a team that is moving in the same direction with our focus on Jesus!

Elizabeth Talbot - Jesus 101, director/speaker

I was very excited to be part of TAO 2017! I pray that a deeper understanding of Jesus as our Kinsman-Redeemer will provide all the pastors and teachers with a renewed sense of assurance and gratitude in their spiritual lives that will overflow in fullness of joy, evident in their interactions with members, seekers, and students.

Kiana Brusett - Milo Adventist Academy, student

The youth are the church of now, just as you are. For this to be effective, we must create opportunities for your youth to be leaders in our church. Once these opportunities are made, we need to act upon them. When we act on the call of God, the world changes. So, go. Act. Stop being afraid (because Jesus wins!), *MENTOR YOUR YOUTH*, challenge yourself, your leaders, and your peers. Let us really be Together as One.

Mitchell Powers - Columbia Adventist Academy, student

I hope for a congregation, or more a people, I can say with a confident mindset "That's my family". Not just any old family but a family wrapped in love–love from the Lord our God. That the youth of this family be mentored and taught through love and wise experience. That the leaders of our church come down to all levels in the church to communicate and present an authentic and genuine love. That our churches, schools, community centers, and hospitals not all be alone... but be fashioned as one big happy family that is woven in Christ Jesus our Lord God. That is what I hope the attendees heard.

Thank you once again for involving me in the ministry of Christ!

Adoniah Simon – Portland Adventist Academy, student

I've been coming to realize that not a lot comes out of my school and my church after these meetings. Because it's the nature of life in this age to keep moving, quickly forgetting to make space for the Spirit to work through our lives. Humans are forgetful, but we cannot afford to forget the transformative, and unifying love of God that brought us together. Although we are broken, we are made new through Him. We can only experience life to the fullest through love. We can change and be changed! Praise God!

So now it's time to make space in our own lives for the love of God to work through us, the Spirit of God to lead us, and be more intentional with our time, and the people around us. We all have the power through Him to become the change we want to see in our communities! We have been called to love! We have been called to be the hands and feet. We have been called to serve. For me, intentionally doing mission is going to mean a lot of emails. It'll mean working with the ministries I'm in with purpose. It'll mean putting myself out there. Getting uncomfortable. Becoming more available.

"What opportunities are You leading me to today?"

"How can my life become a response to the redemption I've received in You?"  

"In what ways can I be an agent for change in my world?"

The answers will come when we create space for God to answer.

We all must begin to earnestly listen to the brokenness and pain around us, and the Spirit within, and act now on whatever God is putting on our hearts.

Dan Linrud - Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, President

The TAO planning committee and Education department did an amazing job organizing and conducting the 2017 Together As One Summit.  This summit was another wonderful opportunity to gather Oregon Conference pastors, educators, and conference staff to open the year with a spiritual focus to worship, pray, listen to messages from dynamic speakers, and engage in group discussion, activities, and fellowship. It was my privilege to join the voices of other speakers emphasizing the theme of redemption in Christ, which was beautifully woven throughout the summit.

In my opening remarks, I shared what a joy and privilege it is to have been called to serve with such an incredible team. I encouraged the attendees at the outset of the meetings to give their concerns to Jesus and focus on his grace and redemption and the renewal that he is eager to give them. Also, to allow Jesus to continue to build unity between all Oregon Conference workers as we serve Him and His Church together. My desire is to do what I can to help facilitate this team being the best we can be at what Jesus has called each of us and all of us to do for Him, giving excellence and glory to Jesus.

I am enthusiastic about the great things Jesus will do through this team.

In my closing remarks, I emphasized that the foundation of everything we do in the Oregon Conference is that—It’s all about Jesus! I further focused on our need for the prayer of Jesus for his disciples in John 17:1-23, emphasizing our need for Jesus’ prayer for the Oregon Conference, calling for:  1. Praise for redemption, 2. Pleas for protection, 3. Petitions for unification, and 4. Prayers for completion. As we go forward as members in ministry focusing on knowing, loving, serving and sharing Jesus, He will do great things in the life and ministry of His church!