Breaking News: After Collision of Priorities, Christ’s Mission Prevails

Thursday, February 6

2-6aBy Eyewitness Reporter Karin Franklin Peter of Adrian, Missouri, USA

It is for divine purpose that you have been given the struggles as well as the joys of diversity. So must it always be in the peaceable kingdom.

—Doctrine and Covenants 162:4b

“Karin, you are sending out some bad juju. You need to snap out of it!” This was the unexpected and uncomfortable advice given to me by my counselor. I reeled as my ego, my agenda, and my self-absorption collided with reality. However, it was just what I needed. I have seen and heard similar collisions taking place in lives and congregations.

Collision: I have seen a traditional congregation with priorities of comfort, order, and perfect worship services collide with the reality of the abject poverty and suffering of children from the neighborhood surrounding the building.

Mission Initiative: In response, older members learned new skills and risked their orderly worship and tidy environment to better engage the lives of neighborhood children. Young parents, who previously wanted to shield their children, now bring them to share in ministry, to build relationships, to live the compassion and hospitality of Jesus.

Collision: I have seen the demons of racism and segregation challenge an all-Caucasian congregation. Would the members throw open their doors and be present in the African-American community around their church building?

Mission Initiative: Yes, they intentionally met their neighbors, not just to “offer ministry” or teach discipleship. Rather, they moved into real friendships, resulting in the first baptisms, confirmations, and participation by people of color in that congregation’s long history.

Collision: I have heard the voices of young adults and new disciples searching for their place in congregational leadership and mission.

Mission Initiative: Now the leaders reach out to friends and family members on the fringes, gathering them into the community of faith. They reach out to those on the margins of society, and find new ways to engage them in mission. Their fresh ideas are challenging the status quo and stretching congregations into new avenues of ministry.

I testify that I have heard the crashing and clanging of the in-breaking of God’s Spirit to congregations in mission. And I have seen boundaries that hinder the life and purpose of the church tumble down. Let us rejoice in this, not for what we have done, but for the faithful, awkward, uncomfortable, gracious response of God’s people.

Prayer for Peace
Creator God, help us make Christ’s mission our mission.

Spiritual Practice: Experience Congregations in Mission
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–d. Make a list of the issues you feel mattered most to Christ. Make another list of issues that matter to your congregation. How can you help align the lists? As you face each issue, ask yourself, “Would this matter to Christ?”

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will do collision repair on my priorities, and realign with Christ.

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6 Comments

  1. Karin, it’s wonderful to see what you are doing in the world. I miss you, old friend.
    Paige Fiedler Nicholl

  2. Val Morley

     /  6 February 2014

    I am challenged by your thoughts, i feel we are on the edge of a new adventure. Our congregation is in an affluent area, and we are perceived as being well to do. I crave for ways to expand our ministry to the needy.

  3. Linda Sue

     /  6 February 2014

    Thank you, Karin, for saying eloquently what my heart feels and tries to express. I participate with the people of Detroit Hope–a church plant in Detroit. It’s not easy, but I’m learning the importance of honoring the cultural differences, as well as words, phrases and body language. And many other lessons in diversity.
    I’ve been weary of “doing church” rather than discovering how to be the Light of Christ; and not an enabler among the bruised and brokenhearted (physically, emtionally and spiritually.)
    The real heartbreak is hearng, “I wouldn’t go there or let my kids go there”, from faithful members in comfortable cong.. Do we really believe in the power of prayer and that there are legions of angels ready to go with us in our desire to live the Gospel?
    A major challenge is that the families move a lot; then have no way to get to church.
    I want and need to worship “where the tire hits the road” There is great joy in hearing, “I really like this church”, from a child or family. There are no easy answers, but the Community of Christ, I believe, has the potential to create the answers..

  4. Nancy Williston

     /  6 February 2014

    This is a lesson for all of us. There are many “hidden” blessings for all of us as we stop “digging” in our heels and reach out to all.

  5. Dick Hahn

     /  6 February 2014

    Thank you Karin for the wonderful reminder that we all put out “bad juju” every day of our lives. And also that our spirits can sore; that we can repent, and claim the mission of Christ
    as our own, and share lots of “good juju” every day. May we all be so blessed!

  6. Linda

     /  6 February 2014

    “people of color” degrading choice of words!

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