What the Address Means to Leaders

20 06 2011

 

On April 11, the day after his “The Mission Matters Most!” address to the worldwide church, President Steve Veazey spoke at the Leaders Gathering in Independence, Missouri. He asked: “What does it mean to you?”

Erica Blevins Nye, Young Adult Ministries:

“I take away great hope in the connections being made. Young adults are just as diverse as any of the rest of us, and many that I’ve talked to have captured the vision of what our church is all about. They understand our vision, our mission to proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. They have a deep understanding of just what that means and calls us to do.

 

“Also, many young adults really powerfully want to change the world, change their families for the better, and grow personally. They just don’t quite get deep down in their heart how this Jesus guy has anything to bring to that great hope and call they feel in their lives. They don’t know how to make that connection for a spectrum of reasons.

“But what I’ve heard these last several days—and in the responses I’ve seen from young adults who have interacted with this just a little bit so far—is that it’s a foundational way for young adults who haven’t made the connection between Jesus Christ and world-changing mission. That brings me a lot of hope, particularly for those people who are hardest to reach, because they aren’t already in our doors.”

Greg Edwards, Chicago USA Mission Center:

“That we’re focusing on the mission of Jesus Christ. Not that we haven’t done that before; however, it is now so obvious. Now we’re able to share ‘who we are’ [through the Enduring Principles] and now ‘what we do.’…I haven’t felt this way since I was a teenager. I am excited for the future.”

 

Robert Cook, Cedar Valley-Nauvoo USA Mission Center:

“I believe this is prophetic, and I’m proud to be part of a church that has been led by prophets from the beginning until today.”

Wally Evers, Chesapeake Bay USA Mission Center:

“When I go back to share with our mission center…what I will share with them more than anything else is the trust and validity I get out of being here, hearing from our First Presidency, from our apostles. The sincerity and authenticity made me a believer. This is the right thing for us to be doing in the church.”

 Keith Townsend, Inland West USA Mission Center:

“I tend to hear and see everything through the eyes of a congregational financial officer. How is this going to affect my congregation back home?… I think these initiatives are terrific.”

 

Charlie Carter, Mid-Atlantic USA Mission Center:

“Twenty years ago Apostle Alex Kahtava put into our heads the idea of taking everything we did in congregational life, writing it on a white board, and erasing the whole thing. Then we started from scratch, asking ourselves: ‘What would happen if every single thing we did in our congregational life were based on mission?’

“That thought has been stirring inside of me…Recently I heard more questions that grabbed my attention. They were, ‘If Jesus in the flesh were a member of our congregation, what kind of a congregation would he want to be a part of? What kind of stuff would he want to do?’

“Over the last six months I’ve been sharing those questions and message with congregations.… We’re starting to get excited about that concept. Coming here has taken us very strongly to the next step.

“As we look at these mission initiatives, it begins to flesh out for us the answer to those questions. It’s been a very powerful next step for me. I can hardly wait to get back and share it with my mission center.”

Carman Thompson, Canada East Mission Centre:

“About a week ago I did a blog post called ‘Voice,’ and it resonated with a lot of people in my mission center. It talked about how over the last 50 years we’ve sometimes lost our voice. It ended by saying, ‘It’s time we found our voice.’ Of course, the critical questions are, ‘What is it we say with our voice? What is it we proclaim? And to what do we invite?’ The mission initiatives for me have provided an answer in terms of what it is our voice needs to proclaim.”

 

Robin Linkhart, Western USA Field:

“The last several years I have been thinking about mission and asking myself the question over and over again: ‘What is mission?’ Because of my ministry I’m called to teach others and explore together what mission is. I continued to go back to the passage in Luke 4:18 and 19, and to hear the passage of Luke in chapter 10.

“These days have been an affirmation to me that what is coming out of us as the body of Christ is God’s song of mission. …We are singing a beautiful, mighty chorus of mission. It’s expressed in lovely harmony and beautiful colors that reflect the whole world and all the peoples of the world. And we are singing it for the sake of the world.”

 

Bill Pennington, Chesapeake Bay USA Mission Center:

“I have this vision that’s been forming in my head since you shared this message. It was definitely from God. At my age I don’t get excited very often anymore, but I was really excited. I am excited.

“I think there is more hope for this church today than there has ever been in my lifetime. I think about going home. What will I say to people, and what will I try to make them feel?

“I want to make sure not only that I get the meaning, but everybody I share with gets the meaning. I intend to spend perhaps the rest of my life trying to do that with this message.”

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