8 things I like about The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Written by Joel on September 13th, 2009

As promised, I have compiled a list of wonderful things I have found within the Disciples church. I attempted to stick with items that are unique to Disciples theology and practice.

1. Elders place at communion table. In most Disciples churches it is unheard of to celebrate communion without the prayers of a lay-elder. This helps to highlight the important ministry of the lay-faithful and their place at the table.

2. Communion every Sunday. I am surprised at just how rare this is, especially among protestant churches!

3. Parallel accountability. In the best case scenarios, believers are accountable to one another; congregations accountable to other local congregations; and regions accountable to regions. This is parallel accountability as opposed to hierarchical accountability.

4. Extremely welcoming. Even in huge congregations I simply can’t explain the level of welcome I have found in the Disciples church. This is certainly one of our strengths.

5. Freedom. I have the freedom to dissent within the Disciples church with no fear of being “kicked out.” Case in point – the last post. This includes freedom in the liturgy. It is not set and we are free to create the meaning we wish within worship. But, with great power comes great responsibility.

6. Christian unity has been a priority in the denomination since the beginning. I often hear the quote “unity is our polar star.” And in fact, I believe the Disciples Church is a great experiment in ecumenism – that though we are diverse we can worship together and be in the same communion.

7. Congregational governance. Including the power to call their own pastors. Each congregation knows its own context and needs best. There is an expectation that the Christian faithful will take part in the ministry of the church. This is somewhat rare in other churches I have visited, where ministry is often done for the congregation.

8. Chalice Worship (book). This is a wonderful resource for designing worship. I suspect that I have a lot in common with those who put it together. There is much in it that brings the Disciple church into greater unity with the universal church: a service of confirmation, an Easter Vigil liturgy, and a Ecumenical service of communion,  just to name a few examples.

Bonus: On a personal note, I was certainly nurtured in faith through this church, came to know Christ, and discovered my call to Christian ministry.

Again, I want to ask if there is anything I missed, especially of my fellow Disciples out there.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jessica says:

    Well, after much thought and deletion of ideas, I have decided that the Incredible Diversity of our church is what I love about it. You can argue that this is a result of points 3,4,5 and 6, but I think it is substantial enough to have a category of its own. You address it in your “Christian Unity” point as if it is an obstacle we work through. I see it as something to celebrate.

    We have members of many races, ages, backgrounds and beliefs. Once upon a time, the Disciples of Christ was depicted as a church for the white middle class conservatives. We have grown so much in that span of forty years, it’s unbelievable. The new perspectives we see so we can grow together in Christ is truly inspirational for me.

    While it is not unique to Disciples theology and practice, I’ve found that there is no other church as diverse in so many ways as we.

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