STORIES, XPLOR

Nurturing Hearts for Service: A Reflection from Keri Anderson

Keri Anderson   |   June 30, 2013
NBA XPLOR: Disciples Young Adults and Nurturing Hearts for Service
 
Recently, I was invited by the National Benevolent Association (NBA) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to a weekend event that was part "think-tank", brainstorming, and program development with other young adults from across the country. NBA convened us to come and help develop a new ministry program for intentional, young adult Disciples communities that will form around faith, service, and justice.  Having lived in an intentional community for a year myself, I know firsthand how formative such an experience can be in the life of young adults. I went to the weekend event to meet with other young Church leaders, excited but having only a limited knowledge of what I would be involved with.
 
When I arrived and started meeting those who would be my colleagues for the weekend, I was intrigued to realize that as a white woman, I was in the minority.  To say that it was a blessing to spend time "being the Church "with sisters and brothers of different ethnicities and cultures would be an understatement.  As we talked and shared our stories, we helped one another expand the concept of Christian community.  As we spoke and dreamed together about intentional, young adult Disciples communities, spread throughout the country and focused on spirituality, service, and justice, I believe that we were each struck by the significance of the work that we had been asked to participate in.  As young Disciples, we were being given the opportunity to be voices for a program that truly has the power to make real change in our world and impact lives for the better. I was deeply inspired by the ways each of my colleagues took this responsibility to heart.

I learned so much from each person and I believe that through this planning process, we were given a small, brief taste of what intentional, young adult Disciples communities will one day be like.  "Being the Church" is about discerning, struggling, serving, compromising, forgiving, living, and laughing with sisters and brothers whose stories can expand and enlighten our own as we commit ourselves to the most important task of all: the building of God's Kingdom.  Jesus himself modeled for us a vision for what building beloved community entails. Under Christ's guidance, this blessed work was carried out through small groups of believers.  God has given us the gift of one another, and it is through intentional, young adult Disciples communities that we can work together to create true community and respond to God's call.  I wait in joyful expectation for the continuing work and establishment of intentional, young adult Disciples communities around the country. I truly believe that we have the power to change lives and, through those lives, we seek to build a better and more just world!
 
Keri Anderson is a Disciples House Scholar at the Disciples Divinity House at the University of Chicago Divinity School. She is getting her Masters of Divinity and her home congregation is Glen Oak Christian Church in Peoria, Illinois. 
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COMMUNITY BUILDING, CHILDREN / YOUTH / FAMILY

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