Light Bearers returned to Oregon to host its ARISE Intensive event in Oregon Conference Holden Center in Gladstone on Nov. 4–6, 2022.
Led by Ty Gibson and David Asscherick, the ARISE Intensive program exists to take people through the Bible and the story of God in three days — condensing the weeks-long ARISE program especially for those who cannot otherwise access the longer ARISE Discipleship program. An intergenerational group of 220 people attended the event.
Nicole Dominguez traveled to Gladstone from Chicago to attend. “ARISE was always something that I wanted to do,” she said, “but I knew that I would never be able to take three or four weeks off and travel to Australia for it. Having these shorter intensives in other places that I’ve loved visiting, or have always wanted to go to, really worked in my favor. I love Light Bearers, and this is something I’ve always wanted to support and experience.”
With much of the Adventist Church in North America asking questions like, “How do we engage young adults in spiritual development?” ARISE seems to be doing just that. When asked why she was willing to spend her time and money to attend something like this halfway across the country, and what drew her to ARISE in the first place, Dominguez said, “First and foremost, they're Christian before they’re Adventist. They care most about getting to the core of the Gospel and making sure you understand it. I think that’s a major — and really beautiful — pull that I’ve seen in this generation of Christians and young Adventists."
"We’re kind of tired of all the red tape," said Dominguez. "We’re exhausted from the constant rush of do’s and don’t’s. We’re tired of majoring in the minors. So getting back to the core of why we believe what we believe is key.”
Dominguez shared that it was not only the information shared at ARISE that stood out to her, but also the method and language Light Bearers uses to share their message. “Another thing that has been amazing is that ARISE focuses on storytelling. They’re not just making sure the content is grounded, they’re also showing us that the way humans were created to learn also happens to align with how the Scriptures were meant to be read.”
The ARISE program tells the story of God from eternity past, which is the time before Creation, through eternity future, which is the time after sin and suffering is no more. It presents the Bible as the source book which tells the story, showing us God before the creation of the world, the story of creation and the fall, the covenant God made to rescue humanity, the coming of Jesus and humanity’s need for a Savior, the role of the Church, the Second Coming and creation of the new Earth, and how to share the story with others in our lives.
Looking around many local churches, it may seem young adults no longer care about God. We may hear the cynical refrain that young adults are no longer interested in developing their faith. Dominguez shared a different perspective: “The most common breakdown of relationships in so much of our communication comes down to comprehension. I can say, ‘These are the things I need’ and list them out, but if my definition of those things and your definition of those things do not align, there’s going to be a breakdown there. A gap. We need more listening, more comprehending and more people willing to be engaged enough to stay for the questions that will come up.”
Cutting to the core values, Dominguez concluded her thoughts by sharing, "We’re seeking Christ Himself. We’re not seeking advice on how to tell people that the day they worship on is wrong. That’s my take on it.”
To learn more about ARISE, discover Bible study resources, or support the Light Bearers ministry, visit lightbearers.org.