To be a faithful, growing church that demonstrates true community, deep Christian spirituality and a passion for justice. (Micah 6:8)
To be and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, witnessing, loving and serving from our doorsteps "to the ends of the earth."(Acts 1:8)
At First Christian Church, we affirm these core beliefs:
1. Our central belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
"Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and do you claim Him as Lord and Savior of your Life?" is the sole question that is asked of individuals who desire to unite with us. Beyond this one simple affirmation, we do not impose belief requirements on people. One is free to work out his or her own salvation. As such, beliefs will differ as we all grow differently. Nonetheless we choose to accept one another without insisting that we all agree. As members one to another we seek to be inclusive rather than exclusive.
2. Our freedom and responsibility to know the Scriptures
We Disciples do not have an "official" interpretation of the Bible. Persons are encouraged to study the scriptures in the light of scholarly research and the historic Christian tradition. Because we view the Bible as human testimony to divine revelation, we Disciples tend away from a literal approach and more toward an understanding which combines faith with contextual integrity and contemporary reason. It is not faith in the book which we hold, but faith in the God as revealed through the book.
3. Our celebration of an open Lord's Table
We Disciples faithfully celebrate Holy Communion weekly and no individual, clergy or lay, has the right to bar any person from participating. The Lord's Table is just that--The Lord's Table. Jesus Christ is the Host, we are the guests. What's more, the same hospitality that is shown to us at the Table is understood to the be extended by us away from the Table.
4. Our belief in the ministry of all believers
Ministry for us Disciples is not limited only to the ordained or licensed. neither is it exclusively for men. our baptism places us in the context of ministry. The Holy Spirit empowers us with the gifts of ministry. All of us are commissioned to "go, make disciples..." All of us have a vocation of servant-leadership. It is up to us to discover our particular ministry, be trained for it, and then go forth to perform it. None of us is absolved from this responsibility.
5. Our passion for unity
"The church of Christ on earth is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one." This has been our "polar star" ever since the days of our inception. Our founders, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, made this the clear call of our movement, We are called to be uniters, not dividers. Unity, of course is not uniformity. Diversity is a valued entity. We all have something to learn from each other, whether in religion or life.
6. Our hope for a just world
The Kingdom of God instituted by Jesus is a just reign. Since God is the Creator of everything, human and non-human, it is our responsibility, as citizens of that realm, to treat every person and every thing as being precious to God. Think of what a difference it would make if we really did "love our neighbor as we love ourselves?" Wouldn't this make a difference in the way we relate to all persons? Wouldn't it alter the way we utilize our resources, talent, time? Wouldn't this answer the problems of hunger, poverty, ignorance, classism, racism, sexism, terrorism, and the like? Why then are we still afraid?
Discover the Disciples
Former General Minister and President, Dr. Kenneth Teegarden, once stated, "The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is a community of believers who through baptism into Jesus Christ are bound by covenant to God and one another. Disciples draw our inspiration from Scripture and the Holy Spirit, celebrating around the Lord's Table the life, death, resurrection, and continuing presence of Christ. We proclaim the Good News of salvation and claim as our particular mission the quest for Christian unity. While stressing freedom and diversity under God, we believe unity and mission are inseparable and witness and serve among the whole human family in the interest of peace, justice, mercy, and kindness."
Our movement within the church universal began on the American frontier in the early 1800's. We are grateful to the inspiration and leadership of such pioneers as Thomas and Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone. Disillusioned with authoritarian approach of the European church original "Disciples" broke away from Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican, and other backgrounds with a desire to do away with divisive creeds and practices. Their pleas was the unity of all Christians on the basis of no creeds but Christ, and no book but the Bible. In the essentials of our faith, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
Commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior is the only requirement for becoming a member of a Disciples congregation.
Although we look to the Bible as our guide, we approach it with reason and common sense. Members are allowed to hold different views on specific doctrines. Doubts and questions are respected.
We believe in the ministry of all believers. You will see men, women, and youth serving in all phases of church life and mission.
We choose to baptize by immersion but we also accept and consider as valid those who have been baptized by other modes.
The Lord's Supper is celebrated every Sunday. All who desire to approach Christ in faith are invited. One does not have to be a member to participate.
We seek to cooperate with other faith communities in the community and around the world.
We do not consider ourselves to be the only Christians, but rather strive to be Christians only.
You may not be familiar with our name, but this could very well be the church you've always been looking for. We invite you to Discover the Disciples.
The Disciple Chalice
The symbol of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is the chalice. Have you ever wondered about its origin? There are some who assume it was designed by our founders, Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone. But actually, the chalice symbol is a rather recent development.