Holy Spirit rain down. Change us from the inside.
Singing. We need revival.
These lyrics from the song “Revival” by Soulfire Revolution (feat. Kim Smith) became an anthem for me as I sensed my ministry focus shift a few years back. It was a shift that led to my call, acceptance, and ordination to the office of Seventy. In many ways, congregational life in the Christian church is in the midst of its own huge shift as well, or at least needs to be. The needs and demands are changing. Building glorious structures of praise, beautifying our property, and traditional 11 am worship on Sunday meet the needs of many of our active members, but they no longer meet the needs of many in our communities. An “If we will build it, they will came” approach to living out congregational life is no longer relevant in our Western culture society today.
Community of Christ has gone through some major transformations over the years. As we listened to the Holy Spirit, we evolved as a faith community. Our denomination has the vision and renewed sense of calling to bring about transformative change in the world as we seek to meet the relational and spiritual needs of many. Some of our congregations feel disconnected and have no desire to evolve to the same place or don’t know how. There is an invitation here for others to walk the journey along with them in trust and hope for the future. For we are a Community of Christ. Meanwhile, there are many that have become more missional than they ever were before, but they have claimed this new sense of call to mission while still trying to operate under the ministries and structures that worked for congregations of the past. It’s like trying to download digital music to play on your portable CD player—they aren’t compatible. It is time for an upgrade so that the ministries and structures of our congregations seek to exist solely for pursuing and living out the fresh vision resident in the mission of Jesus Christ that Community of Christ has claimed.
This past February, our Greater Pacific Northwest (GPNW) USA Mission Center Seventies met in retreat with our Western USA Field Leaders to focus on the shift that has happened in our culture and the shift that we need to make in Community of Christ to meet the needs of the present day and future. We left that retreat more invigorated than ever before with excitement to help our congregations and members make this shift as we live out our missional callings to be ministers of invitation and witness. We’re here to serve God by serving our congregations. When invited, we will respond.
As we reflect on the Easter season that we recently experienced on the liturgical calendar, may we remember the counsel in Doctrine & Covenants 165 that says, “the way of suffering love that leads to the cross also leads to resurrection and everlasting life in Christ’s eternal community of oneness and peace. Trust in this promise.” So in the Northwest, what can we do to help our congregations experience resurrection again? Not for the survival of the church, but so that those in our world who are experiencing disconnect from Christianity can thrive in their discipleship once more. So that new disciples can be formed through the power of the Holy Spirit and with an invitation to Christ. So that lives can be transformed and the Gospel of Christ lived out.
May we open ourselves up as the Holy Spirit rains down. May we be open to recognizing the inward shift we need to make so that we can move outward in reaching our brothers and sisters in the communities in which we work, play, learn, live, and worship. So that we can move out and create new relationships. So yes, that we can and will invite people to Christ. Singing, “We need a revival!” May we embrace the challenges and opportunities that are before us with expectant hope. May we run towards revival.