On March 22 and 23, over one hundred Adventists gathered at the Biltwell Event Center in Indianapolis for one simple purpose: to see what happens when revolutionary, unconventional believers come together to seek the Holy Spirit.
ZEAL19: A Revolutionary Gathering of Believers is what brought these creatives, visionaries, change-agents, movers and shakers together with the purpose of inspiring, rejuvenating and equipping Adventists who intend to be culture shifters within our denominational structure. The rally’s key focus was to facilitate productive conversation concerning the revolutionary work of the Holy Spirit and how this work should be seen as a catalyst for creating institutional change.
When attendees arrived onsite, they entered the event space located in a repurposed industrial building, intentionally selected to represent #AdventistRevolution’s main objective. “The movement does not desire to demolish Adventism; it desires to see Adventism refurbished,” explained Michael Polite, #AdventistRevolution team member. The space was lit with soft lighting and decorated with a live moss wall, indicating that it is possible to see growth and change, even in old spaces.
The schedule for ZEAL19 included two days of Ted Talk-style presentations called ZealChats. Sixteen speakers from a variety of disciplines, ethnicities and age-groups shared on topics which inspired attendees to be positive change-agents in their local context.
“This rally provided an organic, uplifting environment for people who need innovative ways to harmonize their faith and day-to-day lives. The rally was a picture of intentional, open community in Adventism,” said Paul-Anthony Turner, #AdventistRevolution team member and ZEAL19 presenter.
For each minute of presentation, there was an equal amount of time allotted for discussion. In addition, community breaks provided more time for attendees to connect with one another. Each evening ended with ZealWorship, a time to present an offering of praise, prayer and progress to God.
ZEAL19 was an event hosted by #AdventistRevolution, a movement of Adventist believers who seek to reclaim the revolutionary identity that fueled the establishment of the Advent message at its inception. An example of this revolutionary identity was set by the disciples in the Book of Acts, who gathered together in one accord and received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to make a change in the world around them. The foundational values of #AdventistRevolution are their G.R.A.C.E. acronym: Gospel, Restoration, Advent, Community, and Empathy.1
Organizers believe that ZEAL19 was necessary because “now is the time to re-engage Adventism with renewed fervor,” said #AdventistRevolution team member Tacyana Nixon. They recognized that #AdventistRevolution is just one of many beacons of hope calling for necessary, institutional changes to be made.
“I talked to a girl at ZEAL who has been Adventist her whole life, but was now questioning her denomination . . . Her struggle to truly feel connected to any Adventist community brought her to a crossroad,” said Jackie Dohna, an #AdventistRevolution team member. “She told me that attending ZEAL19 was her last effort to see if Adventism was worth her energy. People are hurting and searching, but their needs are not being met within our current structure due to the various deficits. This rally displayed #AdventistRevolution’s commitment to providing space for people to use their unique and unconventional talents. ZEAL is necessary because change is necessary.”
ZEAL19 attendees also were filled with the desire to bring change to their local communities. “Words cannot describe the spiritual revival that happened over the weekend,” said Monna Bianca, a ZEAL19 attendee from Chicago. “I enjoyed every speaker, embraced every vulnerable moment, cherished each heartfelt story and worship session. I am inspired to continue the revolutionary movement in Chicago.”
Overall, ZEAL19 accomplished the goal it set out to achieve: inspire, rejuvenate and equip unconventional, Adventist change-agents. To find out more about future #AdventistRevolution initiatives, visit www.adventistrevolution.com or email email@example.com.
1For a more detailed description of the #AdventistRevolution values, please visit www.adventistrevolution.com.