Urgent!

25 07 2014

By Carman Thompson, apostolic assistant

About a year ago, a blog by a Presbyterian minister I casually follow, www.achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.com, published “Mistakes Were Made (But It Was OK).” The post was about churches that are afraid to make a decision or take a chance on trying something new. One comment has stayed with me.

IMG_3330“Realize that mistakes are our friends. If your church hasn’t made a mistake in the past year, you haven’t tried anything creative.”

In the past year? Many congregations haven’t tried anything really adventurous in the past decade, probably two! That seems somewhat ironic given that during that same period, the inspired guidance given to Community of Christ has grown increasingly strident in its call for action.

The words that eventually became Doctrine and Covenants 161 were presented to the church by then-President Grant McMurray as words of counsel in 1996 and canonized in 2000. That document contained a fresh and compelling voice. It used the phrase, “Heed the urgent call…” (Doctrine and Covenants 161:6b).

Four years later, in 2004, another revelation was presented to the church, again conveying urgency. “The call to respond is urgent. Look to the needs of your own congregations, but look beyond your walls…” (Doctrine and Covenants 162:7d).

In 2007, Section 163 was given, and the call for immediate action became even more heightened. This document contains phrases such as “Open your ears…Do not turn away…Humankind must awaken…,” and “…equip people of all ages…” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a–c).

Then three years later, further counsel was presented to the church, primarily with timely guidance to help us through complex and difficult issues. This counsel, now Doctrine and Covenants 164, continued to call the church to immediate action. It contains urgency in a statement followed by two powerful questions:

The challenges and opportunities are momentous. Will you remain hesitant in the shadows of your fears, insecurities, and competing loyalties? Or will you move forward in the light of your divinely instilled call and vision?—Doctrine and Covenants 164:9e

Then in 2013 came further words of counsel, including:

Lovingly invite others to experience the good news of new life in community with Christ. Opportunities abound in your daily lives if you choose to see them.
Undertake compassionate and just actions that seek to abolish poverty and end needless suffering. Pursue peace on and for the Earth.

Let nothing separate you from this mission.

…Additional innovative approaches to coordinating con­gregational life and supporting groups of disciples and seekers are needed to address mission opportunities in a changing world.

Recognizing the need for innovative approaches in congregational life, is it time we perhaps took a few more chances and risked making a few of those mistakes mentioned earlier? Let’s have a conversation about risking making some mistakes, shall we?

It may just be urgent!

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