The problem with the Community of Christ in these early years of the 21st Century is also the solution. It’s our untapped potential. I cannot speak for the whole church, because I have not experienced the church in many places, but from my experience (mostly in Australia and the United States) the Community of Christ is like a seed. Tiny, ready to grow, not yet fulfilling it’s potential. It is the seed for something amazing.

The potential for the Community of Christ exists within each of its members. It is made up of wonderful sincere people with many gifts and talents, each with a calling to spread the Gospel, but many without a sense of what they can actually achieve. Jesus the Christ said to the disciples, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these.” (John 14:12). What an amazing prospect!

But somehow any sign of fulfilling potential is not yet being accomplished on a large scale. It seems to be happening in pockets. Why? Why aren’t we doing anything about the fact that it is not happening everywhere the church is?

My theory is that it is because we are a people distracted from a knowledge of our own ability to accomplish Christ’s mission in the world. Have you noticed how little you hear from local people doing good works in their local congregations? Have you noticed how the church heroes/celebrities that are talked about are almost exclusively church employees? We are falling into a trap of complacency and relying upon the few to accomplish the work of the body of Christ instead of recognizing and fulfilling our own callings and abilities. We are a people that disempower ourselves.

What is needed is a refocusing of attention. Instead of the Herald and the church website publicizing the wonderful works of church leaders, let’s focus on what amazing things volunteer ministers can accomplish. The best paid ministry sits in the background. It supports the ministry of the disciples not by doing it for them, but by providing the motivation, support and encouragement needed to get them moving. So let’s forget about the fact that we have paid ministers at all for a while. If we stop giving leaders and staff all of the attention, maybe we will cease to view them as the source of ministry in our church. Maybe we will discover gifts that have lain dormant because we have felt less worthy, or less needed. They have a vital function, but nowhere near as vital as you ministering to your neighbor, nowhere near as vital as you providing prayerful support in a time of need, nowhere near as vital as you taking action to create justice and peace in the world.

The Community of Christ has amazing potential to be a movement of people who discern for themselves the ministry needs of the community and acts upon them – a movement of people taking action to bring about the peaceful and just reign of God on earth. We will not fulfill that as long as we remain comfortable, and reliant upon the leaders and paid staff of the church to do our work for us.

People of the church arise! Engage your neighbours, your communities, the global village and be the agents of transformation each of you are called to be. God gave you your potential. Pray earnestly and act. Your time has come.