THE MOMENT CAPTURED Todd Simpson photographs the Orlando Church's Sisters Appreciation Night.
READY, SET... Douglas Jacoby preaches, and posts notes, about getting ready for the holidays.
...AND WE'RE OFF To visit family, that is. To readers celebrating this week, safe travels and Happy Thanksgiving. It's our favorite holiday of the year.
NOVEMBER 21, 2005
COME AND SEE Ronny Yttrehus reports from one of the youngest of our sister churches, planted in Bergen, Norway:
All in all the disciples in Bergen are now involved in studying the Bible with 15 different people, and with the
addition of one sister who decided to move here from Oslo in October, we are now 16 disciples. The place we
rent for services doesn’t look so oversized any more…
AROUND THE WORLD The Seattle Church of Christ begins posting audio of Scott Green's sermons; our sister church in Nairobi sees its best soccer player called up to the Harambee Stars; the Granite State Church of Christ seeks a fulltime ministry couple.
ELSEWHERE Too busy?
NOVEMBER 18, 2005
CONVERSIONS Siblings tell how they became brother and sister in Christ.
10,000 MILES Joan Lapointe visits our sister church in Sofia, Bulgaria from Springfield, Massachusetts.
CALL TO PRAYER The Elders of the Nashville church send out a call.
One of our sister churches spent several hundred dollars to hire an outside consultant to come in and observe
and give them input. He told them they were great planners, but not “great prayers”.
NOVEMBER 16, 2005
THIS TIME, A PERSONAL RESPONSE Kip McKean calls the second statement "slanderous" and "full of half-truths," vowing no futher response.
When Jesus was insulted, He did not retaliate. He spoke the truth, then He remained silent. This is and will be
my response to this and any further “letters.”
LONG ISLAND, TOO A region of the New York City Church of Christ posts the statement as a PDF.
SOME KEEP BAPTIZING It's hard to believe our sister church in Aguascalientes, Mexico is almost a year old.
ITS/BST Andreas Weber reports (in German).
GBCOC HW The Greater Baltimore Church of Christ seeks "eager and capable people" to work fulltime in its youth ministry.
HEH This kind of man is hard to find.
ELSEWHERE China "tries to keep the flock in official churches" but Wu Guo Yin says it's a "preposterous idea." Muslim rioters set fire to two church buildings, a school, a student hostel, and the home of a Catholic priest in Lahore, Pakistan. AsiaNews.it reports "[f]resh new threats against Catholics" in Indonesia.
NOVEMBER 14, 2005
"YOUR RESISTANCE TO REPENTANCE" DisciplesToday makes the statement by over 80 church leaders, rejecting the response of the Portland International Church of Christ leadership, available to non-subscribers. The Boston Church of Christ reproduces the statement on its website as well.
From our deep concern for your soul and to protect the flock, we must continue to oppose you as long as you try
to divide disciples from one another. Out of reverence for God and love for you and all of his people, we commit
to...no further fellowship with you until you repent....
MCOC ONLINE We add the website of the Melbourne Church of Christ to our church directory today.
18 ANIVERSARIO Our sister church in Mexico City marks a milestone (in Spanish).
SLATED Kip McKean to speak at the Savannah Church of Christ on November 17; the Savannah Church of Christ also announces cooperative funding of "the work in the Dominican Republic," together with the Atlanta Christian Church and the campus region of the Atlanta Church of Christ.
NOVEMBER 11, 2005
EUROPEAN LEADERS MEET This year, in Budapest.
GOSSIP AND RUMOR Douglas Jacoby dispels a few in Athens (PDF).
ELSEWHERE Iranian Christianity International provides a brief overview of the situation in Iran, one of the most difficult places in the world to live as a Christian. Remember Iran, and other nations where Christians are persecuted, on November 13.
NOVEMBER 9, 2005
MORE EBS II Mirko Russo reports "breath-taking sunsets, vibrant fellowship, distinguished french cuisine, and a flair of catholic seminary."
HEH If you could only change one thing about your church...
ELSEWHERE Christian Freeedom International reports "more evidence of growing religious persecution in Bangladesh."
NOVEMBER 8, 2005
REGISTERED Our sister church in Burundi and Hope Worldwide's local affiliate are granted official recognition "after two years of paperwork, follow-up and prayers."
MARRIAGE REGISTRAR Pandian Uncle facilitates 100 marriages for the Chennai Church of Christ; the congregation "has grown from being a congregation of mostly singles to having separate Sunday services once a month for Marrieds and Singles."
ELSEWHERE Eritrean authorities hold almost 2,000 in prison for religious reasons, "nearly double the documented count six months ago."
NOVEMBER 7, 2005
EBS II Wyndam Shaw reports "eager and wholehearted disciples devoting themselves to Bible study, prayer, worship and dialogue" at the most recent European Bible School held in Nice, France.
CHURCH AND CAMPUS DIRECTORY UPDATES We continue to make regular updates to the church and campus ministry directories, but remind readers that we are completely dependent on your efforts to send us up-to-date information. Today, for example, we add links to the new websites of the Vladivostok Church of Christ, the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ, and the Springfield International Church of Christ to the directory.
We gladly supply this information without charge or subscription, but we need your help. We're not asking for money, just information. Church leaders and administrators use this quick update form; campus ministers can send us information with this form.
LTP Douglas Arthur institutes a new leadership training program in the Greater Baltimore Church of Christ.
CARTA DE ARGENTINA Norberto Dorantes and Gonzalo Mazar ask us to publish this statement from the Buenos Aires Church of Christ.
ELSEWHERE Many organizations that support persecuted Christian groups around the world have designated November 13 as International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Doctrinal differences don't detract from our strong support for those who are persecuted for their faith in any country. This week look for links to a number of stories about persecution in advance of the IDOP. Start with this map (PDF) and OpenDoors' list of the ten worst countries for persecution on its World Watch List.
NOVEMBER 4, 2005
"YOUR RESISTANCE TO REPENTANCE" Over 80 leaders publish a statement (subscription required) on DisciplesToday rejecting the response of the Portland International Church of Christ leadership to a recent letter calling Kip McKean to repentance.
HERE AM I Registration opens for the 2006 International Campus and Teen Leadership Conference, to be held in Los Angeles, July 6.
TO THE WOMEN OF THE CHICAGO CHURCH OF CHRIST Our sister church in Kiev sends a video (WMV file, with audio) in thanks for support received last year to host a women's event.
COURTING A DIVORCEE Philip Yancy writes about "how tempting it can be—and how distracting from our primary mission—to devote so many efforts to rehabilitating society at large," and the reaction evengelicals get from some quarters.
NOVEMBER 2, 2005
SOME KEEP GROWING Mike Fontenot reflects on key principles of church growth, with "a humble and fearful acknowledgement" of God's role. The Hampton Roads Church has baptized 75 so far in 2005.
1ST CENTURY EXPO Phil Zirkwitz seeks good ideas.
HEH Run for it.
ELSEWHERE Anglican delegates at the Global South to South Encounter in Egypt "reject the expectation that our lives in Christ should conform to the misguided theological, cultural, and sociological norms associated with sections of the West." Timothy Morgan says talk of schism is "no longer speculation."
OCTOBER 31, 2005
TOMORROW'S NEWS TODAY The Brotherhood Cooperation Proposal Group asks "all willing and able disciples to pray and fast with us on November 1, 2005 for the Spirit’s guidance and wisdom."
TRANSITIONS Stuart Plaskett is appointed as a full-time minister in the Sydney Church of Christ. Elsewhere, the Elders of The Nashville Church announce the dismissal of Doug Lambert.
DISCIPLESHIP BY NUMBERS Mark Galli says using numbers is, like tithing, a practical aid to discipleship:
It would be easy to end this little essay mocking all the little souls who resort to such silliness. The problem is that
there are a lot of us little souls. We know there is no intrinsic connection between discipleship by numbers and
genuine spiritual growth, but neither is there a necessary disconnect. The fact is that a little soul like mine needs
these simple numeric devices.
FAMILY WORSHIP The Northern Virginia Church of Christ announces a new approach to its Sunday worship service.
TRANSFORMADOS PARA SU GLORIA Over 1,200 attend the Festival de las Américas in Anaheim, California; MinisterioLatino has a report in Spanish.
ELSEWHERE Over 200 Mormon missionaries are withdrawn from Venezuela; the Salt Lake Tribune can't seem to get the facts right, though. Dr. Paul J. Dean says it's not enough to just check groups off a list of unreached peoples, neglecting places such as Europe.
OCTOBER 28, 2005
A PLEA Frank Davis seeks reconciliation.
POST-WILMA Florida begins to recover, and Pat Brush says it's just the kind of situation where "disciples can 'shine like stars.'"
OH HW The Columbus Church of Christ seeks a campus minister.
TEACHING TRAVELS Douglas Jacoby reports on a recent visit to several of our sister churches in Russia and the Ukraine.
HEH A little too seriously.
OCTOBER 24, 2005
ON MEMBERSHIP COVENANTS Andrew Lewis makes the case:
- My fellow evangelists and I do not suggest that this letter [is]...authoritative in a way that only the Holy Scriptures can ever be. We do not suggest that this is a creed, statement of faith, or plan for all Christians everywhere. However, it does state clearly and concisely what we see as non-negotiable for our local family of believers...
- The term covenant as it appears on the title page of the agreement is meant only to convey a mutual understanding and the heartfelt seriousness for what is being stated therein.
- Virtually no large organization in modern society, especially those entrusted with large sums of money and needing to give account to its governing authorities, will operate with a loose or unclear membership role.
SOME KEEP PLANTING CHURCHES Our sister church in Kiev sends a fully supported ministry couple to Zaparozhits, Ukraine. One hundred forty attend the inaugural service of the new congregation.
EBS II Registration closes for the second session of the European Bible School, to be held in Nice, France. Eighty-seven enroll, from throughout Europe and elsewhere.
ELSEWHERE Lisa A. Stracks shares ideas that only really work in smaller congregations. See our almost-related recent analysis of how smaller churches in our own fellowship have fared over the last two years.
OCTOBER 19, 2005
SFCC YM Barbara Porters describes the youth ministry of the South Florida Church of Christ, manned by "shepherds, workers, and mentors."
GLOSSOLALIA Steve Chin explains why the Taiwan Churches of Christ "disapprove the practice:"
From the second century’s Montanists to the Taiwanese pagan spiritist of today, men have searched for the
added experience of power and the occult. I believe the worst part about glossolalia is that it induces a person
to trust in experience, rather than the Word of God.
OCTOBER 17, 2005
LONDON CORRECTION The response of the Portland International Church of Christ to the letter to Kip McKean today is amended and carries this footnote:
Our sincerest apologies to the disciples in London. We were informed incorrectly that there were 200 disciples
that were faithful. After our letter was released, a brother from London called and informed us that there were
around 1000 disciples but they were in eight different autonomous churches. (The original text read "...from
2000 members to less than 200.")
Not only the substance but the style of the correction has merit: there's a footnote link at the point of the changed text, an explanation for the original error, and the text as originally written. The correction apparently was not prompted by our 10/14 post on the subject, but we've added an update note to that post as well.
A NEED IS SEEN Representatives of the International Missions Society meet in France "for a time of prayer, planning and inspiration."
One of the largest and most difficult agenda items was the 2006 IMS budget....[I]t always seems like we could
use more in our efforts to help encourage the present Christians and reach out to the 525 million souls in Europe.
In fact, in our close-out time, one of the brothers prayed with tears wishing he had another $500,000 to give for the
ELDER QUALIFICATIONS II It's not just a theoretical discussion (see our 10/12 item "LACOC Elder Qualifications"): Two elders in the Northern Virginia Church of Christ resign for family reasons, dissolving the church's eldership temporarily.
Since the New Testament pattern involves elders working as a team and there is no Biblical example of one elder
serving alone, James will also be stepping down from his role as an elder in the church at this time.
GODLY OFFSPRING The Montgomery County Church of Christ posts notes from a teen parenting workshop by Mike and Terrie Fontenot.
MINDANAO CIRCUIT Larry C. Balles puts into practice the idea that "winning as many as possible does not end in baptism," visiting General Santos City and Davao.
COSMIC CHANGE The Hampton Roads Church posts a free, 32-page study guide to Ed Anton's book on repentance, as well as a brochure for congregational or small group use.
ROLE OF CR Jim Brown encourages church leaders to add a tool "to your ministry’s arsenal of weapons against Satan’s schemes."
It would be foolish to use a rolling pin to open a can or use a garlic press to chop an onion. But, that is what we
often try to do in discipling addicts. Good goal, wrong tool.
CONFERÊNCIA BRASILEIRA We add "Apaixonados por Deus" to our list of upcoming events.
OCTOBER 14, 2005
PORTLAND RESPONDS The leadership of the Portland International Church of Christ responds to a letter (subscription required) from over 60 prominent leaders in our fellowship of churches. We find these parts of the response most significant:
Therefore, we beg you, our brothers and sisters around the world, not to consider our efforts as a division in the
former ICOC fellowship, but as in Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas going their separate directions.
Let us sadly reiterate, the formal “structure” of the International Churches of Christ has vanished. Therefore, the
idealistic concept of “one church, one city” is also gone.
Therefore, we will pray for and aid in any way any group of “sold-out” disciples in any city.
We are ourselves not neutral with regards to recent developments, but will leave commentary on the Portland response to others. However, since one of the objectives of ICOC Info is to provide accurate data about congregations in our fellowship of churches, we will point out that several of the membership numbers mentioned in the response require correction, clarification or additional context. For example:
London has decreased from 2000 members to less than [sic] 200. According to information we received in the 2004 church survey, congregations descended from the former Central London Church of Christ have a combined membership of at least 882. Some churches in nearby cities may also have been included in the membership of the CLCC. In any case, a ten-fold decline did not occur; rather, two things happened: 1) a substantial membership loss, and 2) the reorganization of a metropolitan megachurch into smaller, geographically-centered congregations. Update (10/17): See the newly added footnote, in which this error is straightforwardly corrected.
[T]he Boston Church has decreased from 5000 to 2000. Our records indicate the Boston Church of Christ never reported year-end membership higher than 4,308. Additionally, at least four congregations, their memberships formerly included in that of the BCC, are now reported (see notes) separately: Springfield, MA (165); Providence, RI (240); Worcester, MA (177); and the Granite State Church of Christ, NH (216). Adding these memberships back into the BCC membership, for an apples-to-apples comparison, would indicate a 2002-2004 decrease from 3,996 to 3,115.
These errors don't necessarily obviate the point of the Portland response with regards to membership decline; we simply offer this as an input to the discussion: the declines are serious, but overstated as written.
For a larger context, as we've previously pointed out in this space, declines from 2002-2004 should be viewed against a backdrop of a ten-year trend of dramatic declines in our fellowship's rate of membership growth that, ironically, seems to have begun about 1994, the year the Portland response identifies as the year the Boston Movement "adopted the name of International Churches of Christ."
OCTOBER 13, 2005
MORE ILC We promised in Seattle that we'd post the presentation and handout files from the ILC church building workshop for mid-sized churches we participated in. Most of the notes are from Steve Chin of Taipei, who led the session but gave considerable time to fellow presenters. The few slides we contributed should be fairly obvious. Audio of the session is available here. The other presenters in this session--Ed Anton, Daren Overstreet, and Kevin Tseng--added thought-provoking, substantive content as well, and can be heard on the audio file.
ILC MUSIC J. Brian Craig posts sheet music and a teaching recording with soprano, alto, tenor, and bass parts to By Faith, written for the 2005 Seattle International Leadership Conference. See also the call for new music by Geoff Fawcett and J. Brian Craig:
There's just no substitute for the power of congregational 4-part singing. And we are excited to announce our
plans to produce a small songbook supplement containing new songs written in the last few years.
OCTOBER 12, 2005
LACOC ELDER QUALIFICATIONS The leadership of the Los Angeles Church of Christ decides that "for a man to be considered for appointment as an elder in the Los Angeles church, it is our position that all of his children who are of accountable age should be baptized and living as disciples." Among other conclusions:
- "Those who still live at home should be baptized and faithful members of the Los Angeles International Church of Christ."
- "If he, as an elder, has a child who is out of the home and then leaves the faith, there should be an evaluation as to whether or not he has lost his credibility to serve as an elder."
For background on the "family qualification" question, see articles by Ron Sawhill, Gordon Ferguson, Steve Staten, Andy Flemming, and an unsigned statement by the Boston Church of Christ leadership.
DISASTER RELIEF Hope Worldwide mobilizes help for Guatemala and Pakistan and north India.
PLANTING PLANS Andrew Smellie calls for disciples willing "to be part of the Mission Team planting to Rochester in 2006;" Chris and Kerri-Sue Adams report on the inaugural service of a sattelite group established in Mohawk Valley; the inaugural service of a new church planting in Ithaca is slated for October 23.
K.I.T. We add a link to video files of sermons in sign language on the links page, under "Ministry-Specific Websites."
HEH What about me?
IDOP Several relief and missions organizations will recognize November 13 as "International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church." Maps like this one capture the big picture.
OCTOBER 10, 2005
65 SIGN DisciplesToday posts a letter (subscription required) from prominent church leaders confronting Kip McKean and calling on him to take "steps to turn around and guard your heart for the future." Among the strongest statements in the letter:
- "You have consistently said that you repented and changed and yet you have continued in the very behavior you claimed you repented of. In fact, you have worn many of us out in our confrontation of your sins."
- "If you do not listen and do not show godly sorrow, then you give us no choice but to take your continued sins to our family of churches around the world in the hopes that you will listen to them and repent of these sins."
- "You have never built a large church without pulling people from other churches."
URGENT CONCERN The Portland International Church of Christ posts the letter to Kip McKean on its website, with a short, tentative response from Bob Bertalot and Tony Untalan.
MORE ILC Jon Augustine reports on the Seattle International Leadership Conference: "Here's the bottom line: our church is no longer isolated, our Leadership Group is more united than ever, and we're heading in the direction of hope and maturity." HMS Books makes audio of the lessons available for download.
AROUND THE WORLD Tania Solórzano reports (in Spanish) a special contribution 30 times the church's weekly offering, and baptisms, too, from Belize. Seattle Church of Christ member Mack Strong is featured in a News Tribune article. And, can you guess which one of our sister churches Theofanis Roropoulos profiles on the IMS website before clicking the link?
THE "A" WORD Robert Jackson says it "does not mean ‘independence’....an autonomous church could have deep and powerful ties of fellowship with a whole host of sister congregations."
ELSEWHERE The nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, and her membership in the Valley View Christian Church, leads journalists to a take a closer look at the "early nineteenth century Restorationist [sic] Movement." Also, Justo Dorantes plants 11 congregations of the Churches of Christ among Hispanics. Finally, a CT article on ways to encourage church leaders includes this gem of a quote: "[T]he space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is holy ground."
OCTOBER 7, 2005
LA TO ATLANTA Tom and Kelly Brown move east to serve as Evangelist and Women's Ministry Leader for the North River Church of Christ.
MISSION REPORTING The Taipei Church of Christ posts an extensive report on an innovative church planting effort in one of Taipei's nearby satellite cities.
MORE BCP Our sister churches in Seattle and Munich post announcements about the Brotherhood Cooperation Proposal.
KIT Today we post a link in the church directory to the new website of the Savannah Church of Christ.
MILESTONES Virginia Lorna Rivera Stierle reports (subscription required) on the ten-year anniversary of the Blue Ridge Church of Christ in Charlottesville, Virginia.
NOW HIRING The Sydney Church of Christ prepares to hire Stuart Plaskett to serve in a ministry capacity that is "quite different to the role we have been used to."
USD21 LIST UpSideDown21 posts links to "a listing of our global family of churches" as well as a list of "our affiliated churches." Update (10/10): The content on the page we linked to on 10/7 has been removed; here's a screen shot.
MORE ILC Jay Hernandez reports that "despite the great time of fellowship there was an air of quiet disunity."
As many of us might have read in the past few weeks, several of the top leaders from around the globe are
not unified, or have taken issue with one another. I am refusing to enter into these disputes, and as the leader
of this church I want to encourage each of us to do the same. Instead, let us focus on training ourselves to be
godly, and the job of evangelizing Utah for Christ.
OCTOBER 5, 2005
QUICK UPDATE The ASARB meeting concludes today; we'll be back to regular updates tomorrow. In the meantime, here are some reader-suggested items:
- The Brotherhood Cooperation Proposal group of nine invites proposals "for unity and cooperation"
- The small group of disciples in Yuma, Arizona seeks a minister
- The Omaha Church of Christ posts sermons and handouts from its Emotionally Healthy Church series
- The Alameda region of the San Francisco Church of Christ organizes a special service for Katrina evacuees
OCTOBER 3, 2005
ASARB We'll be traveling this week to Louisville, Kentucky to attend the annual meeting of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, October 4-5, and to participate in Tuesday's panel discussion titled "Data Collection and Dissemination in Four Religious Bodies: Issues and Challenges."
Our participation is, of course, unofficial with regards to data collection among the International Churches of Christ, and like this website, comes simply from a strong interest in church growth and missions, and how to best use statistics in the service of the church.
We'll take this opportunity to remind readers of our quick update survey. Churches with membership data more recent than end-2004 are invited to use this form, so that we can update the information we publish in the church directory. If you've recently sent an update, we're working through hundreds of e-mails, and will eventually post it. Thanks for your patience!
With 16 hours of driving ahead, updates to this page will be less frequent than normal. Readers are welcome to on content we normally link to.
SEPTEMBER 30, 2005
GRANITE STATE SMC Mike Fix reports a Special Missions Contribution of $35,000 for "various foreign and domestic works and well as future dreams for New Hampshire."
SAICOC BYND Over 600 attend on the hottest day of the year in San Antonio, Texas.
HEH That's effective preaching.
ELSEWHERE Forum 18 reports Belarus authorities fine the administrator of New Life Church the equivalent of "160 times the country's official minimum monthly wage" for organizing an "illegal" worship service.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2005
MORE CPG The Cincinnati Church of Christ posts the Cooperation Proposal Group announcement.
GREATLAND CAMPUS MINISTRIES Our sister church in Anchorage, Alaska starts new ministries at the University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2005
PHOENIX WARNING The Elders and Ministry Staff of the Phoenix Valley Church of Christ urge any "fellowship or contact...be totally discontinued as of today" with those who recently "returned to Phoenix with the intent to begin a new church associated with Kip [McKean] and the Portland church."
CALLING PORTLAND Kip McKean says "[o]ften during a week I receive phone calls from Evangelists around the world about how to get their churches 'moving.'"
SLATED Steve and Lisa Johnson are scheduled to speak at upcoming events organized by the Central New York Church of Christ.
CPG DisciplesToday moves the Cooperation Proposal Group announcement to the non-subscription area of the website.
SMALL CHURCH GROWTH The Heart of Texas Church reports growth from 30 to 41 so far in 2005. In Bryan/College Station, the arrival of new fulltime leaders coincides with a well-attended "Aggie Day." The Kampala International Church of Christ celebrates 20 additions in the past 20 months.
SMALL CHURCH STABILITY As a group, congregations in our fellowship of fewer than 100 members fared much better from 2002-2004 than their larger sister churches, and anecdotal evidence shows many growing again in 2005. We'd love to post more news from members and leaders of small churches--send links, reports and photos to .
EVENTS We add the 2005 Fall Singles Retreat, organized by the Dallas/Ft. Worth Church of Christ, to our list of events.
UNIFIED CHURCH Bronson Taylor writes about unity as "a physical and mental discipline."
Passion for the church must precede reform for the church. There is relief when you decide to love your church,
sin and all.
ELSEWHERE Dr. Warren Throckmorton suggests another look at those famous penguins, and a more skepticism towards "deriving lessons about human traits from animal behavior." Also, "two youth pastors" say "it's time that the church stop ignoring pornography."
SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
THE BRIGHT SIDE In contrast to "turmoil and grim outlooks" the Dallas/Ft. Worth Church of Christ reports high retention in its campus and teen ministries, among other news.
NONE LEFT BEHIND Augusto Russell says New England churches want to "be more like a brother-sister church to European churches, offering support to those who ask for it."
SEPTEMBER 22, 2005
COLLEGE STATION COOPERATION Mike Taliaferro describes the joint effort of several Texas churches to fund a fulltime ministry staff position.
COTE D'IVOIRE COOPERATION A similiar joint effort sends Douglas Jacoby to Abidjan.
APPOINTED The New York City Church of Christ recognizes a new Evangelist.
MORE ILC A.T. Arneson reflects (PDF) on lessons learned at the International Leadership Conference: "We cannot rely on accountability, structure and guilt to propel the church forward."
GO WEST! (OR NORTH!) Members and friends of the Greater Houston Church are offered shelter from Rita in San Antonio and Dallas.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2005
WHY SUPPORT EUROPEAN MISSIONS? Dave Malutinok, Executive Director of the International Missions Society, makes the case.
MATAKU TLAH MELIHAT KEMULIAAN Our sister church in Jakarta celebrates 15 years, and 25 are baptized at the beach, at the Nusantara Conference 2005.
ELSEWHERE Agnieszka Tennant interviews Richard J. Foster and Dallas Willard on "the difference between discipleship and spiritual formation."
(Willard) In our country, on the theological right, discipleship came to mean training people to win souls. And
on the left, it came to mean social action—protesting, serving soup lines, doing social deeds. Both of them left
out character formation.
SEPTEMBER 20, 2005
CPG The ILC announcement about the Cooperation Proposal Group is posted on a non-subscription church website.
HOW MUCH? WHAT FOR? The Sydney Church of Christ posts a lesson on giving.
DREAMING AGAIN We add the 2005 Heartland Singles Retreat to our events list.
HEH The latest from ChurchLaughs.
SEPTEMBER 19, 2005
CPG The ILC announcement about the selection, composition and purpose of the Cooperation Proposal Group is posted (subscription required) on DisciplesToday.
ILC AUDIO Messages on audio CD or MP3 disks are available for purchase.
PORTLAND POST-ILC Kip McKean writes about the ILC, and admonishes Portland leaders "to remain “God-focused” and not “man-focused” in the face of our brotherhood’s controversies."
SEPTEMBER 16, 2005
ILC REPORTS Andreas Weber shares (in German) lessons learned at the conference. Mike Fix says he's glad he went:
On a personal note, Laura and I wrestled with whether we should go to the conference or not. In hind sight we
are so grateful for the encouragement we received to attend.
WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER The San Francisco Church of Christ posts a summary.
ELSEWHERE Two employees of Christian Life Bangladesh are killed, apparently for showing the Jesus film in a village about 90 miles from Dhaka. Lena Lopez reports on new "repressive restrictions on religious meetings in private homes" in Cuba.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2005
MORE ILC DisciplesToday posts a more detailed summary (subscription required) of the ILC missions sharing than our September 10 post on the subject. Also, we've updated the item "Nine Selected" to include the ninth name and the dates the group is working with for accepting input and issuing a proposal.
ELSEWHERE M. Craig Barnes asks and answers the question "What makes leaders weighty, worthy, and believable?"
Gravitas is a condition of the soul that has developed enough spiritual mass to attract other souls. It makes the
soul appear old, but gravitas has nothing to do with age.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2005
SOME KEEP PLANTING Our sister church in Santiago, Chile plants a new congregation in Vina del Mar, Chile. The
Central New York Church of Christ plants a new house church in the Utica-Rome area.
SLATED FOR RELEASE C. Foster Stanback's Into All Nations starts shipping on September 26.
HEH An offering you can't refuse.
AROUND THE WORLD Five hundred singles meet (article in Spanish) for a three-day retreat in Ixtapa, Mexico.
SEPTEMBER 12, 2005
WISE WORDS Tom Jones bids farewell to the Boston Church of Christ's Northwest Region.
But, while we must work our way through pain, we must not let our painful experiences become the eyes and
lenses through which we look at life. We must look at our painful experiences through the eyes of Jesus. And
here is what we must understand: we do have a choice.
A WISER CHOICE OF WORDS A reader gently questions our description of the group that met on Friday evening at the ILC as "30-odd of our churches' most influential leaders," and correctly points out that individual participants in such groups are chosen for representativeness as much as for influence. The phrase we used was simply an effort to describe the group in terms that would be more meaningful to readers than it's actual title (ILC Continental Planning Committee) might be. We gladly accept such input from readers--it's not easy at times to be both precise and
clear, and we appreciate any such help our readers care to .
THE RELIEF EFFORT AS A MODEL John Kennedy writes (subscription required) about Hope Worldwide's response to Katrina-related needs:
As your donations started to come in, some of you expressed concern over HOPE WW ability to get funds
directly into the hands of the people who needed them the most. Let me reassure you today, by telling you
how great they have been at meeting the needs of brothers and sisters from the church....We emailed their
requests for help directly to HOPE and the HOPE office began to send out checks by express mail. After the
second day, I believe HOPE had sent out over 42 checks.
On the cooperation fostered by the relief effort:
In our recent quest to become a unified Church, I would suggest we learn from this model. Loving God and
loving our neighbor as ourselves is what truly brings Gods people together.
SOUTH FLORIDA RESPONSE John Brush writes (in English, Spanish here) on behalf of the ministry staff and leadership, to the South Florida Church of Christ about "a controversy that is brewing in our fellowship of churches."
The issues raised in these letters require biblical convictions and not be decisions based on feelings or
ROLES REDEFINED We announce, together with Roger Lamb, a redefinition of our cooperation, reached quickly and with pleasant surprise at our ease of agreement. We realize it's gauche to quote oneself, but indulge us just this once:
This week I invited DisciplesToday.net to take over the responsibility for the contact directory, events and
membership information. I am happy to see this role taken on by Roger Lamb and his team. Truly, it was
always a role better suited to a website such as DisciplesToday.
Here's the same announcement on DisciplesToday.
TAKE III More site improvements and new content over at Bronson Taylor's Apollos.ws.
AROUND THE WORLD Jerry Jordan, an elder in the San Diego Church of Christ, resigns. Our sister church in Belize marks five years. Youth Talents Week goes to Makindu this year. The Seattle Church of Christ posts ILC photos.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2005
MISSION REPORTS Reports this year were fewer in number and narrower in scope than last year, with one person representing each of seven regions: Eurasia, the Middle East, Latin America, China, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Last year's reports often focused on how churches had fared after the dissolution of pre-2003 governance and funding structures. By contrast, this years' mission reports were of the more traditional type: news of new church plantings, summer and short-term mission efforts, and a few instances (Nairobi, Abidjan) of churches baptizing over 100 so far this year.
None of those presenting reports were "missionaries" in the traditional sense, with the exception of Andy Flemming, who provided a concluding summary of how our mission funding efforts are currently organized. It is clear that these men--Aziz Sarah, Luis Herrera, Bruce Li, Christian Herbst, Blaise Feumba, and Harliem Salim--and dozens more like them in mission churches, are leading in ways far more substantial than before.
There were also indications that we're reaching a new frontier: mission churches are, in at least a few places, becoming completely self-supporting, and are now providing almost all the resources to plant and grow churches in their respective areas. Our sister churches in Hong Kong and Taiwan provided over 150 participants (and the funding for them) for summer mission trips to China this year. The Moscow Church of Christ aims to soon be 100% self-supporting, so that support received from Eurasian Missions can be redirected to new planting efforts.
Should this trend continue we'll see a sea change in missions funding strategy: instead of more-or-less evenly spread support for non-U.S. churches, funding can be focused on those remaining areas where church planting is still exceptionally hard (such as the Middle East, Central Asia and Northern Africa) or where even self-supporting churches may face exceptionally large unevangelized populations (such as China and India). Church planting teams themselves, though, may be largely composed of Africans, Asians and other non-North American disciples, even to areas far outside their own regions.
2006 ILC Next year's International Leadership Conference is slated for Virgina Beach, home of the Hampton Roads Church.
NINE SELECTED Thirty-two leaders met Friday evening; one of the decisions reached was to select a group of nine to solicit input, then formulate a proposal for inter-congregational association. We know of seven of the nine (Mike Taliaferro, Dinesh George, Mike Fontenot, John Louis, Steve Staten, Scott Green and Sam Powell) but missed the actual announcement to make the first of three flights to get home. We're certain a more formal announcement will be posted soon, and will link to it, and other ILC reports, as we receive them. Update (9/11): Our "first draft" will need at least two updates. Philip Lam and Andy Fleming will be part of the proposal group; Dinesh George, though selected by the group, cited a heavy travel load and volunteered his spot to another. Update (9/15): The ninth name is Bruce Williams of Los Angeles. The group will solicit input until November 1; a proposal is to be presented in February, 2006.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2005
ILC DAY 1 Other than the morning address by Bruce Williams and John Louis, the ILC program of classes and meetings proceeded according to schedule. Two afternoon class sessions followed a morning general assembly address by Scott Green. We were surprised by the strong attendance at the 8:00 p.m. church building forum we participated in, for medium-sized churches. ILC attendance may already be well beyond the 600 who pre-registered.
Today's mission reports will provide more blog-friendly material. In the meantime, some ILC photos are posted here. Participants are welcome to additional photos, class notes, etc. Once an announcement is made about the outcome of last evening's conference planning review, attended by 30-odd of our churches' most influential leaders, we'll post that as well.
SEPTEMBER 8, 2005
GOOD MORNING, SEATTLE After a long day in the Texas heat, Seattle's cool September weather is a welcome change. We'll post later this evening on the ILC's opening day. Participants are also welcome to their on-the-ground observations As always, comments from readers are welcome, too.
THE CALL, LIVE It wasn't on the schedule, but first to speak at the ILC were Bruce Williams and John Louis. Bruce Williams expressed thanks for the volume of response to the Call (his tongue-in-cheek "we're all much more responsive these days" brought laughter), and apologized for "any feelings of pressure" for churches to sign on quickly. "We're stepping back" from the L.A.-initiated plan, citing only a desire to "start a process."
John Louis then made a strong appeal to take advantage of "the rare opportunity of Seattle" while representative church leaders are together to "move forward now." His perspective as a chuch leader from outside the U.S.:
- World mission support needs to be coordinated better. Indonesian church leaders rented a car and drove 3,000 miles from church to church seeking financial support. "I think we all believe they have better ways to use their time."
- Members of our churches worldwide often travel to the U.S, England, Canada and other nations to complete their studies or for work assignments. More coordination will help answer the question members pose that he's unable to answer now: "How's the church doing there?"
- There is no representative voice for the ICOC. Members see articles on websites and ask, "Is this representative of what we believe as a family of churches?"
He concluded: "Let's get reorganized. Through this we will move forward more powerfully than ever before."
GERMAN RESPONSE Church leaders in Munich and Berlin respond (in German, with English below) to The Portland Story.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2005
NEXT STOP: SEATTLE We'll travel to Seattle this evening to attend the ILC, and hope to provide timely
coverage of the event (see here for several ILC-related posts from last year).
MORE LA Q&A Leaders of the Los Angeles Church of Christ offer additional information on the background of the Call to Brotherhood Unity and Revival, and propose instead "a multi-congregational effort."
That really was our desire and effort from the beginning. Therefore, rather than an LA sponsored initiative, we
look forward to participating in discussions with other church leaders in Seattle to develop together a collective
MORE FROM THE PORTLAND JUBILEE UpSideDown21 posts more video of Jubilee speeches. Vince Pierce, attending from San Antonio, shares notes from various lessons.
BWI TO SIN Doug Arthur speaks in Singapore, September 18.
ORH TO TIA Members of our sister church in Worcester report from Albania.
NOT EITHER/OR, BOTH/AND Roger Lamb says (subscription required) we "put ourselves in a terrible bind when we think of Jesus as an extemist."
ELSEWHERE Steven L. McKinley says boredom isn't "completely bad for pastors."
Many of our parishioners do work that is sometimes quite boring....My occasional bout of boredom gives me
empathy and respect for those people who faithfully keep at their work, even when they are bored.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2005
A VOICE FROM VANCOUVER Brian Felushko suggests a "different approach to building true unity amongst us and our churches."
I present this because I do not believe “signing on” to a statement of faith created by one leadership group is the
answer to our unity issues. I would discourage us from having any kind of “signing up”, ratifying or voting at our
upcoming International Leadership Conference in Seattle.
ATLANTA RESPONSE TO THE CALL The Atlanta Church of Christ posts (PDF) Alan's Rouse's response.
WORLDLY CHURCH Roger Lamb writes (subscription required) about immaturity, jealousy, quarreling and division among us.
VERY RELUCTANT TO PURSUE IT The Elders and Evangelists of the San Diego Church of Christ cite "the tendency of human nature...to become more and more legislative and controlling" in voicing reluctance to join "a new brotherhood structure based on adherence to a statement of beliefs and practices."
SEATTLE DIESE WOCHE! Representatives of our sister churches in Munich and Berlin head for the Seattle ILC.
TWENTY YEARS CAN CHANGE A MAN Douglas Jacoby opens a window on our history with a tribute to Chuck Lucas' role in our movement's earliest days, and his return to ministry after a "wilderness period."
Sadly, this portion of the history of the COC/ICOC movement has frequently been omitted or glossed over.
Yet in my opinion, the quantum leap from the missions mentality of many mainline congregations to that of
the Crossroads ministry was huge. It was much greater, in fact, than the jump from the Crossroads philosophy
of ministry to that of the Boston movement.
SEPTEMBER 5, 2005
SEATTLE PRELUDE Kip McKean endorses the Call to Brotherhood Unity and Revival:
The Portland Church has gladly joined the LA Church because we fully agree with the accompanying
"Statement of Unified Brotherhood."
P&R MinisterioLatino publishes a Q&A about the Call in Spanish.
PVCC SPEAKS The elders and ministry staff of the Phoenix Valley Church of Christ say The Portland Story's call to start rival congregations is "arrogant, threatening and divisive" and commends "the responses of the leaderships of the Boston church and the Seattle church."
ST. LOUIS SPEAKS John Lusk and Dan Rice respond the Call:
...at this point, we do not desire to sign such a proposal, fearing it may limit true unity rather than promote it.
AFTER KATRINA II John Kennedy spearheads an effort "to assess the needs" of members of the New Orleans Church displaced by Katrina. Hope Worldwide posts a message "from a relief worker in the New Orleans area." Tom Briscoe outlines Hope's plan.
SEPTEMBER 2, 2005
SEATTLE RESPONSE The leadership of the Seattle Church of Christ offers a detailed response to not only
The Portland Story, but also the "ongoing pattern in Kip’s writings" over the past two years.
DT RESPONSE Roger Lamb explains (subscription required) why DisciplesToday posted, then withdrew, Kip McKean's The Portland Story.
The article clearly calls for disrespect, rebellion and division among God’s people -- far beyond the boundaries
of boldly challenging God’s people to be righteous.
This was, perhaps, the toughest editorial decision DT has faced in its short history. As the best-received website among our family of churches, supported voluntarily by almost* 2,000 members and a number of congregations, DisciplesToday has been more than a "voice" among us--it is broadly representative of our fellowship. It would have far been easier to simply pull the article without explanation. Regardless of whether or not we agree with that decision, we've no doubts about the integrity our brothers and sisters at DisciplesToday--including its Board--bring to their ministry.
*Update (9/5): Roger Lamb sends the latest figures: "we have 2,000 paid subscribers and 1,700 free subscribers from 96 countries and another 3,500 who receive our free email newsletter."
AFTER KATRINA Members of the Dallas/Fort Worth Church of Christ open their homes, and appeal for help: "[T]he Christians can’t afford to support so many extra people indefinitely and we would like to help with these situations....The biggest needs are money, housing and some clothing for the evacuees." Also, John Kennedy, former Evangelist of the New Orleans Church, shares (subscription required) what he's learned so far about the whereabouts of church members.
K.I.T. Today we add the website of the Vancouver Church of Christ to the church directory.
SEPTEMBER 1, 2005
LA Q&A Leaders of the Los Angeles Church of Christ publish answers to questions, like this one, about the Call to Brotherhood Unity and Revival:
Q: How will those churches be treated that choose not to sign up?
A: We realize that there may be many different reasons why some churches may not sign up. They are still
our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we need to continue to respect, love, and cherish one another in the Lord.
AFTER KATRINA One reader forwarded a brief email from a member of our sister church in New Orleans who
has evacuated to Houston, but knows little of the whereabouts of other church members. Readers can
contribute to relief efforts through Hope Worldwide's Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Fund, the American
Red Cross, or any other of a number of worthy relief organizations.
A SALT LAKE MEMBER SPEAKS James Dinh says Jay and Angie Hernandez have "not come with any sort
of overbearing rules or factioning" and that the "Portland church and all churches being influenced by it has been given the gift of an incredibly charismatic and challenging leader who knows how to bring people to making a commitment to God."
Do we so easily forget that we are on the same side? Our methods are different, our sins are different, but
ultimately we are all fighting for God. Rather than opposing one another, let us do our best to work with each
other. Rather than condemn a man, bring the issues at hand to light so that they may be dealt with.
K.I.T. The new Eurasian Missions website is now online, and joins our list of links.
OUR READERS WRITE A reader who requests she not be quoted asks if we post unsettling news to increase website traffic. It's a fair question, given the practice of many websites and news media to highlight conflict in order to increase readership.
But we assure our readers, we gain nothing from additional website traffic. ICOC Info is not supported by advertisements, subscriptions or donations. Our only purpose is to provide accurate, relevant information. We need not agree with a particular perspective to respect its source. Like most of our readers, we pray for peace in our family of churches, unity, reconciliation, and wisdom for those who lead us.