My name is Mike Munz and I am the Treasurer of the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ. I was born August 16, 1957, which makes me 52 days younger than the United Church of Christ. My parents were members of Trinity United Church of Christ, Hudson, Kansas. This church’s historical roots were in the German Evangelical Synod (later Evangelical Synod) of North America, one of the four major historic churches that compose the United Church of Christ. So I have always been a member of the United Church of Christ.
I grew up in a family where going to church was not optional. Not just going to church on Sunday, but going to most church events as well. My memory is that I actually liked most of this. In I believe it was in 1969 that my father was a delegate to the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference meeting held in Lawrence, Kansas. The whole family went. This was my introduction to the Conference. At that meeting, I discovered the wider church and fell in love with it. Looking back, I’m not sure exactly why I fell in love with it, but I believe that it had something to do with experiencing the church beyond Hudson, Kansas. It made the wider church real in a way that hearing about it just couldn’t do. From that pre-teen experience through today, I still love the wider church and the people in it. Since that time, I could probably count on one hand the number of Conference meetings that I have missed.
The involvement beyond the local church has also had a significant impact on my faith. I am not even certain that I would be active in a local church of any denomination today without that involvement. Through the experiences of the wider church I have come to realize the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a broken world. Whether it is in the formal settings of meetings (business sessions, worship, break outs) or in informal settings with other people, pastors and lay alike, I believe that my faith has evolved to where it is today because of the interaction with people who are from different areas and walks of life than myself.