Since my call and ordination to be an apostle, I’ve had several people ask, “Why did you say ‘yes’?” If I am to be honest, there were many times as I wrestled with my call that I found myself asking, “Why would I say ‘yes’? Why would I be willing to take on the challenges and frustrations that come in trying to lead the church forward in who God is calling us to be?” Each time I contemplated these questions, I found myself coming to the same response – “Because I believe deeply in the value and message Community of Christ brings into the Christian and secular communities. I believe in what God is calling Community of Christ to do and be.” Nevertheless, my convictions do not always relieve my frustrations in trying to live this calling as a church. However, my convictions and the presence of God’s Spirit, moving in the church, give me the hope and determination to continue the journey.
My sense is, as I have listened to young adults talk, many of you have found yourselves asking, “Why should I continue to be apart of Community of Christ? Why should I continue facing the frustrations of trying to find my place in a congregation that doesn’t seem to want to change?” The leadership of the church is aware of your concerns and simply wants to say to you – “We need your ministry and leadership to make the purpose and mission of the church real in the present-day and into the future!” We don’t offer this statement for the sake of just preserving the church as an institution. We make this plea out of a deepening awareness that God is calling Community of Christ to truly embody and live the concerns and passions of Christ. And we believe that you have the capacity and skills to help the church live its mission.
As I spent time at reunions in my new field, I was deeply touched and challenged by the ministry and vision shared by young adults who want to make a difference in our world. I was blessed as young adults shared their sacred stories of how the presence of Jesus Christ is working in and through their lives. As I have reflected on these experiences, I came to realize that too many times we have described our youth and young adults as the “future of the church.” Yet, what I was witnessing was not an aspect of these young adults’ future potential. What I was witnessing was a powerful expression of their ministry offered in the present that will help the church move toward God’s future desires for the peaceable kingdom. I know this does not lessen the challenges you face in trying to find your place in your local congregation. So I simply want to say, “Hang in there with us and don’t give up.” As the leadership works to strengthen the opportunities for young adults to participate in the mission of the church, I believe we are and will make progress.
One of the ways you can help the church is being present and active in the preparations for National Conferences to be organized in the different nations or fields of the church. Your voice and perspectives is needed as the church journeys in discovering how we live out being new creations in Christ who live the Enduring Principles. It is in this journey together, as disciples of Jesus Christ, that we will find a clearer understanding that will shape our response to the issues of justice and moral behaviors and relationships in the world. Be watching for information on National Conferences that will take place in your part of the world. As you journey and reflect on why you should continue to be active in Community of Christ, I hope you will find in your reflections a deepening conviction of the message Community of Christ can bring in the world today. May you recognize that you have a significant role in helping the church become who God is calling us to be and do.
Read the “We Share Document” with our 9 Enduring Principles.
Scott Murphy is a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles assigned to the Western USA Mission Field which includes the following mission centers: Arizona, Greater Pacific Northwest, Inland West, Rocky Mountain, Sierra Pacific, Southern California and Southwest International. Prior to being called to the Council of Twelve Apostles, Scott served in the roles of Director of Human Resource Ministries for the World Church and as Mission Center President for Lamoni Heartland Mission Center.
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