Visit the Newsroom

NPUC Spark Tank Funds 7 Innovative Projects Across Pacific Northwest

NPUC Spark Tank Funds 7 Innovative Projects Across Pacific Northwest

The North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) has launched a brand-new initiative focused on empowering local young adult ministries. On Sabbath, September 9, seven teams of young adults traveled to NPUC headquarters to present ideas for the 2023 NPUC “Spark Tank” Young Adult Outreach Summit. After worshiping together that morning, the seven teams presented several new and innovative ideas to connect with their communities and share the message of Jesus.

Each conference in the North Pacific Union was encouraged to bring up to three young adult teams. Representatives from across the NPUC were also present to help evaluate each presented idea and were given the opportunity to award $50,000 in funding (which would then be matched by a local church or local conference young adult department) to help launch these initiatives. The maximum amount to be awarded to any individual team from the Spark Tank initiative was $10,000!

All seven teams presented during the event, representing the Oregon, the Upper Columbia, and the Washington Conferences.

Refuge Church: The first to present was Evelin Vilanova, a member of the Refuge Church in Seattle, Washington. A key strength of Refuge is its professional-level worship music thanks to dedicated musicians and even members who have composed for Netflix shows and blockbuster films. Refuge requested funds to help launch an ongoing music mentorship program for their local community.

West Metro PDX: After launching as a collective youth group between three Spanish-speaking churches west of Portland, Oregon in 2022, West Metro PDX discovered a growing need for community amongst young professionals in their area. In July of 2023 they decided to host a young adult vespers service, assuming around 20 people would join them. After 60 people showed up, some of them driving from over an hour away, the idea began to form for an initiative more specific to the young professional age and stage of life. A representative team outlined a year-long calendar of engaging events targeted at this demographic, as well as a formalized strategy for “passing the torch” each year to younger leadership and thus ensuring that the initiative would remain one that is both created for young adults and led by them.

Lifebridge Church: A leadership team from the Lifebridge Church in University Place, Washington, shared their vision of an outdoors-based ministry. The focus of the initiative would be to create strong relational connections with local community members who regularly engage in outdoor activities such as bouldering, backpacking, disc golf, and other sports. The team outlined a four-step framework for establishing these relationships, beginning with engaging their community, then inviting them to spiritual growth through small groups and volunteer activities, encouragement toward baptism through worship gatherings and Bible studies, and finally developing them as spiritual mentors and leaders who could go out and begin new positive relationships in the community themselves.

Nuestra Iglesia: La sociedad de jóvenes, somewhat similar to what is known in many English-speaking churches as “AY,” is a longstanding tradition with a rich history in Spanish-speaking Seventh-day Adventist churches. The student leaders of the Nuestra Iglesia (“Our Church”) recognized a need on the campus of Walla Walla University to renew sociedad de jóvenes, and to create meaningful, bilingual Sabbath afternoon services. They specifically pointed to the space that these services create for international students, who often have less built-in community available to them during their time at college and who greatly benefit from spaces where food and fellowship are provided.

Sharon Adventist Church: A team of four young adult leaders from the Sharon Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon presented “Project Resurgence” ––a year-long initiative focused on developing engagement with young adults between the ages of 18-25 through eight major events including a back-to-school supply drive, a graduation mentorship program, Friendsgiving, Family Field Day, community service projects, and more. In addition, the team from Sharon outlined many quarterly goals including mental health check-ins, life and career coaching, game nights, Bible studies, and vespers programs. The team brought with it strong local support in an initial startup pledge from their church for $10,000.

Unnamed Docuseries: Team leader Rachel Swanston brought forward an idea for a Union-wide docu-series focusing on the ways God is moving through young adults and young adult ministries in the Pacific Northwest. The project is being supported by the Upper Columbia Conference Youth Department with additional support from the Oregon Conference Young Adult Department.

Journey Church: After being strongly impacted by their own experiences participating in the NPUC’s “DiscipleTrek” program, a team of young men from the Journey Church brought forward a pitch for a young adult leadership retreat built on similar values––time away from the distractions at home to invest in Bible study and building strong relationships together.

Once all groups had presented their ideas, representatives from both the NPUC and individual conferences met to pray over the teams and their ministries, and to allocate the available $50,000 worth of funding. Due to the frugality of several of the teams’ initial pitches, the NPUC Spark Tank was able to meet every request brought forward and even present more than what was requested for some teams!

“The North Pacific Union and every conference in it just wants to be incredibly supportive to young adults,” said Rob Lang, NPUC director of Young Adult Ministries as he announced the decision to the gathered teams of young adults. “That’s the news. So, share that news that your church loves you, values you, believes in you, and trusts you. And we need you! Every presentation today was worthy, well done, and well thought out. So, it’s just a privilege for me to be able to share this… If we add up all of the funding awarded from the NPUC Spark Tank, the total amount comes to $53,950. That’s a little more than the $50,000 we had planned, but we praise the Lord for you all. Around this time next year, we hope to hear your reports and learn about what God has done. Remember that this isn’t about you hitting certain benchmarks, it’s about engagement. It’s about you praying and engaging with others and allowing God to work in you and through you. And we’ll celebrate whatever that is.”

Through the NPUC Spark Tank, seven new outreach initiatives will be launched between 2023-2024. Please join us in praying for each group and the communities they serve!

Check out photos of the event by Washington Conference intern, Lacey Stecker...

No items found.




You might also like

How the OC Works: Oregon Conference Executive Committee
How the OC Works: Oregon Conference Executive Committee
Read more
Hispanic Youth Leaders Learn How to Disciple the Next Generation
Hispanic Youth Leaders Learn How to Disciple the Next Generation
Read more
Snack Shack Event Weekend
Snack Shack Event Weekend
Read more