One. The running theme of Disciples of Christ's General Assembly this year. Never has a single word meant more than it did at the General Assembly. It's funny how we don't think about mundane, everyday words; much less about how valuable and significant they can truly be and the impact they can have on our lives.  

Attending General Assembly was such an exciting adventure. To have the opportunity to travel with such an amazing group of people (PSWR Young Adult Leaders) to a conference who's purpose was to encourage, and practice, unity amongst our churches was a genuine pleasure and blessing.  

I'll admit, I was a little naïve towards what I thought I would actually receive that week. Although I was excited, I had almost the same expectations as that of any other conference I had ever attended. What I didn't expect was the various cultural backgrounds and mindsets I would interact with. It made me start to wonder, what exactly does it mean to be one? 

At the heart and core of the General Assembly was this idea that we can unite people, in spite of their many differences, for one sole purpose and that's to praise and worship our one true God. As I spoke with different people, I discovered very quickly just how truly different we all are. Never had I encountered so many believers who thought so differently than I did. I found myself really struggling in my heart and mind. It made me really ask myself, "Could I truly be united with others who didn't think like me? How could I expect acceptance and unity for my own personal beliefs yet neglect to even acknowledge the views and beliefs of others'?  

 I think Rev. Jose Morales said it perfectly the first night of Assembly, "Safe unity does not equal unity at all. True unity is service and sacrifice. True unity is done at foot level." 

True unity is done at foot level. But this level of unity is driven by a single force: love. A sacrificial love like Christ demonstrated. A love that serves others without any pretense. And that’s exaclty the kind of love I saw during those 5 days, a sacrificial love. I saw people serving together, serving each other, no matter their race, sex, or background. My favorite part of the whole assembly? Getting together to take part in communion while the worship team played a beautiful rendition of Israel Houghton's Alpha and Omega. And that's really what it's all about it isn't?  Jesus welcomed all to the table. He died for all. And His desire is that none would perish.  

I am a Bible study leader for high school and college aged girls and one of the youth coordinators at my church. My desire for the young people in my church is that they would learn to love and serve others with a sacrificial love. A love that knelt at the feet of others and placed their needs before even their own without a single question.

I am thankful to the region for allowing me to be a part of such a beautiful experience. It's an experience that both challenged me in my walk with Christ and rekindled a desire to love God and love people. My encouragement to other current and/or aspiring young leaders: be a part of the leadership at the regional level. Get involved and take advantage of these incredible opportunities that may come your way. Getting involved means bringing more unity to our churches. It allows us to impact those lives outside of our own congregations. But getting involved also means allowing God to grow you in ways you never even dreamed about. It’s a precious gift that I will carry with me and live out for the rest of my life. 

-Veronica Martinez
CdO Youth Coordinator

AuthorAlisa Mittelstaedt