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SEPTEMBER 30, 2004                                                                                                                                   

MORE ILC DT posts Day 3 summaries; Jerry Jordan of San Diego reports a "wonderful spirit of worship, humility and cooperation."

MORE NEW PLANTINGS Quebec City, Canada and Giurgiu, Romania join our list of recent church plantings on the Missions page. 

5TO Our sister church in Lima, Peru marks its fifth anniversary.

KIT We add the NYCCOC Long Island Region website to our list of 99 standalone websites of churches, groups of churches and campus ministries. Thanks to so many who have recently written to suggest new links or simply to offer encouragement. 

SEPTEMBER 29, 2004                                                                                                                                   

INFO OVERLOAD There has been a delightful post-ILC surge of missions information; at times, it is hard to keep up with it all. We have organized much of the information shared at the ILC, plus other stories we previously linked to or reported, in our new Missions feature. It is a work in progress, so check back for updates. 

NEW STATS IN Seventeen churches are added to this table of 207 churches for which we have collected recent (post-2002) membership data.  These 207 churches made up over 53% of our total membership at the end of 2002. Our latest estimate of current membership, based on data collected so far, is 111,122. A description of this effort, and how you can help, is posted here.

VER TO SNA Luis and Teresa Priego join the fulltime ministry staff of the LACOC's Orange County Latino Sector from Veracruz, Mexico.

HELP FOR HAITI NYCOC collects $32K as of yesterday.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2004                                                                                                                                   

LAX TO GUA Jaime DeAnda reports on the 2004 Singles Missions Tour. Five singles from the LACOC visit our sister church in Guatemala City in advance of the Central American Missions Conference.

DAY 2 DT posts summaries of September 24 ILC sessions and makes available to non-subscribers audio of Steve Staten's message.

WELCOME A warm welcome to new readers coming here for the first time via the link in the Boston Church of Christ ILC report. See more ILC news in September 23-25 posts, downpage.

CONFERENCIA MUNDIAL Rafael Lua reports (in Spanish) on the ILC.

DARE DPI announces the publication of Jeff Chacon's Dare to Dream Again, available October 27.

SOME THINGS DO NOT MOVE The Sao Paolo Church of Christ website posts James Shults' latest article (in Portuguese), Algumas Coisas Não Mudam.

AFTERMATH The Christian Chronicle relays reports by "missionaries and local ministers" of "more than 100 deaths among members of churches of Christ" in Haiti in the wake of Tropical Storm Jeanne. 

ELSEWHERE CT reports attacks on Catholic mission workers in India; Time, writing of church splits among Episcopalians, wonders "How many other schisms will follow?"

SEPTEMBER 27, 2004                                                                                                                                   

AS PROMISED Seven participants from New England share their impressions of the ILC on the Boston Church of Christ website.

BRIEFLY DT begins to post short summaries of ILC sessions in the area open to non-subscribers.

MOST ENCOURAGING The Boston Church of Christ website promises what is certain to be the first of several upbeat reports on the ILC: "Fifteen leaders from the Boston Church and a number from other New England and European churches just returned from the leadership conference in Chicago. Watch for a report coming soon on this most encouraging and healing event and hear how God is at work moving us to healthy new places." Update: The article has since been revised to begin, "Nineteen leaders from the Boston Church...."

CRUCIAL CONVERSATION The program page describing the ILC Friday evening "crucial conversation" (this description comes from a similarly-titled book) can be viewed here as a PDF.

ILC ONLINE DT begins posting audio (subscription required) of the ILC messages and reports.

MOW TO IAR The Moscow Church of Christ announces (in Russian) the planting of a new church in Yaroslavl, slated for October 17.

MSQ TO GME A new church is planted (announcement in Russian) in Gomel, Belarus.

SLATED Tomorrow George Irungu and Steve Mukenya visit the Charlotte Church, which reports sending $94K for African missions earlier this month. Duncan and Lisa Comrie of Johannesburg visit our sister church in San Antonio, Texas, this week as well. Douglas Jacoby teaches in Philadelphia October 9.

BML TO CGN Mirko Russo reports (in German) on a recent visit to our sister church in Cologne.

VISION The SFCC prepares to announce, on October 10, its "comprehensive road map" for the church's next five years.

MILESTONE The Northern Virginia Church of Christ, first incorporated as a self-governing church from the former Washington, D.C. Church of Christ a year ago, marks its first anniversary with a special edition of its weekly newsletter.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2004                                                                                                                                   

GONAIVES Reggie Lambert reports from Haiti after the most recent hurricane.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2004                                                                                                                                   

SEE YOU IN SEATTLE The main program of the 2004 ILC concludes today with an announcement that next year's event will be hosted by the Seattle Church of Christ. The practice of rotating hosts--not just cities but organizers--is but one indication among many this weekend of just how much has changed in the way our fellowship of churches organize themselves and relate to each other. 

We attended one of nine classes held this morning, a panel discussion by Ron Brumley, Walter Evans, Mike Kwasniewski and Steve Martin on the role of evangelists and elders. The shift in thinking on this topic is so pronounced, and portends so much for the way our churches will be governed, we will post notes from the class here, soon.

CRUCIAL CONVERSATION Andy Fleming and Philip Lam report on last night's "Unity Session," to which 31 "brothers [who] have at one time or another made a significant contribution to harmony and the reconciliation of individuals" were invited. Mr. Fleming and Mr. Lam reported an "affirmation of commitment to be a brotherhood and work together," and a desire to meet again as leaders next year, but with greater representation from developing world churches.

Most former relationships between supporting and missions churches were seen to be "in good shape" and capable of meeting existing needs. On the more difficult question of helping churches that may have heretofore been financially independent, the group agreed to three guidelines: 1) respectfully approach the local leadership, realizing that no single person can speak for the church, 2) first contact the church that previously had a role in leading the church in need to see what plans they may already have, and 3) encourage leaders and church members to keep in contact with churches less strongly affiliated with our fellowship. 

More later on the "crucial conversation," lest we miss our flight home...

DT DEADLINE Roger Lamb seeks word from churches and individuals willing to commit to monthly support for DT in advance of a November board decision on whether or not to continue operations. While we have a different function from DT, we hope to serve in a complementary way. DT has shown itself to be a voice for brotherhood, and though we seldom include personal comments in our posts, indulge us this one: we're hoping for a green light for DT to continue operations in 2005. 

SEPTEMBER 24, 2004                                                                                                                                   

BEYOND CHICAGO It's hard to focus on much else at the moment when there's way more than we can post here, but check out the clean new design of MinisterioLatino, for a break from ILC news. 

ILC REPORT II Yesterday attendees heard reports from sister churches outside the U.S. Today representatives of the Atlanta Church of Christ and the New York City Church of Christ gave reports from their congregations.

Atlanta's past 18 months were described as a "perfect storm": membership fell from 3,800 to 2,400; weekly contribution dropped from $140K to $70K in a few months time; a staff of 32 (couples counted as one) became 12. The church went from no elders to 11, from different geographic regions of the church; many did not know each other or the fulltime ministry staff well. The church's influential lead evangelist resigned. Update (9/28): A reader familiar with ACOC membership and recent history writes that the membership decline mentioned above included the membership transfer of "several hundred people" to the newly self-governing Athens Church of Christ.

Out of this perfect storm came unexpected results: "We have forged an incredible relationship--staff and elders--through the crucible of what we went through." The ACOC's summer camp saw an attendance of 1,200 from 36 congregations this summer; the campus ministry is "coming back." The church has collected $320K for direct support of African mission churches "so far" with more regions slated to take special contributions soon. The report concluded with an oft-heard sentiment: "We are with you heart and soul; we are in this thing together."

The NYCCOC reported the recent addition of several new ministry staff, a commitment to provide 80% of the financial support going to 52 African churches plus several in the Caribbean, and the forging of a strong working relationship between ministry staff and the church's four elders. 

It wasn't on the schedule as a separate report, but Wyndham Shaw prefaced his address with a report from the Boston Church of Christ, including a collection of $750K to support New England and European mission churches, and a harmonious working relationship with its nine sister churches throughout New England.

ILC: DAY 2 Today's program includes two main addresses, by Tony Singh and Wyndham Shaw, and two periods for forums and classes, nine per session. This evening, 31 men "have been invited to attend a private meeting to discuss biblical unity." Two outside observers will report on the meeting at the final Saturday session. 

Last night's program featured perhaps the most straightforward report we've heard at such an event of the state of the church in a particular place.  Two attendees from the U.K. shared, with the caveat that they do not themselves
represent every one of our sister churches in the U.K., the current leadership structure and state of membership and fellowship among 21 affiliated churches in the U.K. Total church membership is only 1,500, and 106 ministry staff have been dismissed since early 2003. However, Malcolm Cox went on to report that "we are probably over the worst" and that while there are those who "are still hurting in many ways," the Christians "really want to move on."

The report concluded with a pointed statement: "Let there be no more talk of replanting [the] London [church], only rebuilding." Five new fulltime ministry staff are expected to join or rejoin the existing handful of fulltime  leaders next month. 

SEPTEMBER 23, 2004                                                                                                                                   

ILC NEWS Attendees from churches outside the U.S. share news from various mission fields this afternoon. It's far more than we can quickly post here; we'll revisit the subject when more time is available. First-hand reports from India, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kingston, Moscow, Geneva, Budapest, Jerusalem, Kuala Lumpur, Lima, Bogota, Johannesburg, and Abijan provided a mix of state-of-the-church-reports (a mixture of reporting losses, reductions in staff, as well as stability and slight growth for some churches), news of new church plantings, and repeated expressions of gratitude for financial assistance. 

Kelly Petre explains that a task force appointed by the Boston Church of Christ has concluded that DPI is not viable as an ongoing entity, and recommends the publishing house be closed, perhaps as soon as the end of 2004. In a  thoughtful statement read to all participants, he says "we're not pleading for money but communicating with you" and holds out hope for "help coming to us in unexpected ways."  One paragraph of the statement brought sustained,  spontaneous applause: a tribute to Thomas and Sheila Jones.

Apparently spontaneously organized breakout sessions after the report session (it's wasn't on the printed program) sees representatives of churches willing to cooperate on future missions funding in unstructured meetings long after the end of the official program. 

ILC OPENS Mike Taliaferro receives a long, standing ovation from attendees at the opening session this morning of the 2004 International Leadership Conference. His message stresses the courage to preach both grace and truth, a call to forgive and heal, and to "dream again". He calls on church leaders to support DT, HOPE, and AIM, to train "a whole new generation of men and women" in the ministry, to resume planting new churches, and to financially support existing mission churches.

Some people might say, "Come on, planting churches is so 'five years ago.' Listen, planting church
is so 2000 years ago!

ILC The Chicago Church of Christ posts a fuller description of the conference's aims and schedule.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2004                                                                                                                                   

ICOCINFO TO ORD We arrive today in Chicago for the 2004 International Leadership Conference, and look forward to bringing you almost-live updates from the events over the next few days.  

AKTUELLE MITTEILUNGEN Our sister church in Berlin posts reports (in German) of baptisms in Berlin and  Madrid, as well as news from Paris.

MGCC HW The two-year old Middle Georgia Christian Church seeks a fulltime evangelist.

Q&A Douglas Jacoby posts answers to new questions from readers and Glenn Giles' outline study, My Vision for the Church. 

NEW STATS IN New information raises our estimate of current membership slightly, to 113,010. Two new churches join this table of 190 churches that made up over 44% of total membership at the end of 2002. A description of this effort, and how you can help, is posted here.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2004                                                                                                                                   

PICOC BYND Kip McKean welcomes visitors to a special invitation service with an overview of the church's brief history.

FEEDBACK A reader takes issue with our link yesterday to an article on the Islamization of Europe.

I'm shocked by the article you chose on the so-called islamization of europe. This article is biased and
highly political and untrue....[Y]ou brought politics where it doesn't belong. I exhort you to repent from
giving biased information to our fellow brothers...

First, links to articles here don't endorse the views of the website the article appears on, or even the entire content of the article. That said, on second look the article did have a strong element of politics to it. We paid no attention to that ourselves, focusing on the first few paragraphs describing changing demographics. We don't wish to represent a particular national or political viewpoint, and will avoid links to overtly political content in the future, or post a disclaimer alongside the link. 

One comment, though, on something we really cannot control: "There is an ad [on the website you link to] that is harsh...." It's an impossibly high standard that requires any blog to avoid links to websites where a controversial ad might be seen. We hope our readers will distinguish between our steadfastly non-political, non-commercial environment, and that of websites we occasionally link to, which will contain advertising and viewpoints we don't endorse, but may have content of general interest to our readers. 

SEPTEMBER 20, 2004                                                                                                                                   

FIRST DRAFT The Lagos Christian Church posts its newest version of the church's constitution (PDF file) for member review.

KBP TO BUD Seven members of our sister church in Kiev attend the European Spiritual Summer Retreat in Hungary and share (in Russian) their experiences.

Q&A John Oakes and Douglas Jacoby post new exchanges (here and here).  

ELSEWHERE Regular readers know we focus on happenings in our fellowship of churches. Occasionally, though, we will post links to articles and websites that are likely to be of interest to members and friends of our churches, such as this one on the persecution of minority faiths in Eritrea, or this article on the Islamization of Europe.   

SEPTEMBER 19, 2004                                                                                                                                   

SUNDAYS The Gainesville Christian Church marks its fifth anniversary today.

BAGHDAD BAPTISMS The LACOC notes five additions so far this year.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2004                                                                                                                                   

THIS WEEKEND Fishing for HOPE, a retreat for married Spanish-speaking Christians, and two singles events make this this busiest weekend to date for our events page. Updates posted for both the 2004 and 2005 Southwest Singles Retreats, and more, can be found here.

Update: Due to weather and ocean conditions, the HOPE fishing classic is postponed.

NYCCOC New content and links to websites for the Queens and New Jersey regions of the church begin to populate the new NYCCOC website.

PRAYER PARTNERS Andrew Lewis of Toronto asks, "Why all the fuss?"

PICOC Kip McKean calls on college and teen students to "not only to confess sin, but expose it."

According to Ephesians 5, when disciples expose sin, they wake up the "sleeping" disciples, so
"Christ will shine on them."  

SEPTEMBER 16, 2004                                                                                                                                   

KIT Today we add a link to the new website of the Makati Region of the Metro Manila Christian Church; coincidentally, the Philippines is "today's country" at Operation World.

NEW STATS IN We post new information to this table, which we believe to be the most comprehensive survey of current membership available, now including 188 churches that made up over 44% of total 2002 membership. Read more about this effort and how you can help.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2004                                                                                                                                   

BOSTON VOICES Three elders of the Boston Church of Christ call on the church to "develop or revive deep convictions about" the "relationships in the Body of Christ in which we get encouragement, support, advice, perspective, correction and challenge." Their shared perspective:

As this church and sisters congregations have faced some of our mistakes, we have realized that on
occasions we went too far and that there was sometimes an element of control over other people that
should not have been there....While we have been eager to correct our mistakes and will continue to
pursue needed changes, the three of us want to share with you our conviction that we (personally) still
need the "one another" relationships" the Bible describes...

ORLANDO HW The Orlando Church of Christ seeks a campus minister. 

ATL TO ORD The Atlanta Church of Christ announces "[s]everal of the Atlanta staff members" and "one of the elders" will attend the Worthy is the Lamb leadership conference in Chicago, September 23-25. 

SEPTEMBER 14, 2004                                                                                                                                   

ITM UPDATE Douglas Jacoby reports on visits to Australia...

As in many churches, these congregations are finding their way forward without the benefit of full-time
staff. (Sydney has elders; Brisbane is building an eldership.)

...and Agana, Guam, where he is met by a new church planting:

Imagine my surprise when I met the entire Saipan church at the teaching weekend! They had all made
the flight from Saipan, the island immediately to the north of Guam....I had no idea this congregation even
existed; they were planted by the Agana church nearly a year ago.

Back in the U.S., he speaks at a congregation that is "not a Church of Christ" and describes the courage of its preacher:

He showed from the scriptures that the "sinner's prayer" is nowhere to be found in scripture, insisting that
the only way to be saved is to have faith in Jesus, repent, and be baptized. Half the church walked out,
saying they preferred the altar call and sinner's prayer; naturally his job is less stable than it was before. To
find a man who teaches the biblical truth on (1) conversion and (2) commitment was very refreshing indeed.

The entire report is available here, and by e-mail subscription as well.

J.O.'S Q&A John Oakes posts new exchanges on C-14 dating, JWs and the synoptic problem. 

SEPTEMBER 13, 2004                                                                                                                                   

TIES Greg Marutzky reports "unity, fellowship, teaching and vision" among the 1,550 who attended the Texas International Evangelism Seminar, concluding:

The future of the church is brighter than ever. It was encouraging to realize how much stronger we are
becoming. Lessons learned from the past were shared without regret but with excitement to be able to
grow. Revival is in the air in the Texas churches. A period of discipline was needed and useful but we
are not going to wander in the wilderness.

Mike Taliaferro concurs:

While it is true that we have several churches that are struggling at this time, we have many more that
are advancing powerfully. Be it in Texas, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Singapore, Abidjan, Cape Town,
Chicago, etc, disciples are coming together in large numbers....From where I am sitting, this is a very
exciting time to be a Christian. We are very much alive, and quickly getting well.

The Greater Houston Church is slated to host the event in 2005.

NEW STATS IN This month we have added new membership data for seven churches and updated membership for another 45. We believe this table to be the most comprehensive survey of current membership available, now including 187 churches that made up 44% of total 2002 membership (the ICOC stopped collecting such information centrally in early 2003).

We encourage voluntary participation by churches and a mature understanding of statistics as but one measure among many of where we stand in our efforts to build and grow churches around the world. For more information about how your church can participate, kindly contact .  

SEPTEMBER 12, 2004                                                                                                                                   

El VIVE EN TI Mario Espinosa reports (article in Spanish) around 800 attend the singles conference held September 3-5 in Ixtapa, México.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2004                                                                                                                                   

COMING SOON PICOC announces its plans for Upcyberdown21, to be launched in January, 2005.

FIELD DIARY Dr. Maxine Cargill writes about the work of "deep rural" health clinics in Jamaica.

ALL CT Jimmy Allen reports on the combined Sunday service of three of our sister churches in Connecticut.

KIT We add new links today to the website of the Northern Virginia Church of Christ and to DiscipleForum

SLATED Doug Jacoby visits Denver September 17-19 and Omaha October 16-17. Steve Johnson presents The Gospel According to Mark in Seffner, Florida on September 17.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2004                                                                                                                                     

GOLDEN CITY Prague hosts (article in German) a meeting of leaders from sister churches throughout Europe from August 27-29.

FILLING NGO HALL Ben D'Souza addresses the growing marrieds ministry of the Bangalore Church of Christ.

DIGGING DEEPER The Boston Church of Christ invites Dr. Tom Olbricht to address its ministry staff and other ministry leaders from around New England. Other speakers include Kelly Petre and Dr. David McAnulty.

TIME OUT Tara Close delays a move in order to return briefly to Israel, and reports on the fellowship of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv disciples.   

SEPTEMBER 8, 2004                                                                                                                                     

FRANCES AND THE SFCC Church members in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties are hit the hardest according to a report posted today. 

TAKE TWO The GBCOC website gets a new look, too.  Recognize the design?

KIT We add new links today to the websites of sister churches in Lima, Peru, and Pachuca, Mexico. We frequently receive requests for contact information of churches without websites. If you can provide such information, please send it to and specify whether or not it can be posted here.  

Q&A DJ answers a questioner seeking "a passage that’s not been taken out of context to make the point" that we should read the Bible daily. 

SEPTEMBER 7, 2004                                                                                                                                     

BKK TO KKC Julie Kaufman reports (first item under Missions, subscription required) the Bangkok Christian Church's first church planting, in northeast Thailand. The 14-member team moved from Bangkok to Khon Kaen late last year.

SEPTEMBER 6, 2004                                                                                                                                     

EVENTS New on the events page: a teen rally in Texas, two singles retreats (Arizona and Texas), and a singles mixer for members of our sister churches in Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C. Send multi-church event announcements to .

DIGGING DEEPER The Chicago Church of Christ posts lessons presented to its staff by Dr. Richard Oster of Harding University Graduate School of Religion here and here. Douglas Jacoby releases Foundations For Faith, a survey of the Old Testament. 

SALARIES An ACU survey reports a wide range of salaries for fulltime staff in U.S. mainline Churches of Christ.

SEPTEMBER 5, 2004                                                                                                                                     

PF DAY 2 Attendance above the 1,200 registered participants requires extra seats be brought out for the second day of the Texas International Evangelism Seminar in San Antonio. Justin Renton of Cape Town, South Africa, delivers the final keynote address. 

SEPTEMBER 4, 2004                                                                                                                                     

PROCLAIM FREEDOM The Texas International Evangelism Seminar opens at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. Keynote speakers today include Mike and Anne-Brigitte Taliaferro, Gregg Marutzky, and Scott Green. The program concludes with a presentation of Disciples Today by Steve Staten, and an a cappella choral rendition of The Lord Bless You and Keep You. Participating churches include host San Antonio, as well as Amarillo, Austin, College Station, Dallas, El Paso, Lubbock, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley.

SEPTEMBER 3, 2004                                                                                                                                     

MORE STATS We recently received stats which lead to a downward revision of our best estimate of current membership to 113,612, a decline of 16% since the end of 2002. We now have recent (that is, current as of the end of 2003 or later) membership information for 181 churches in our fellowship.

We collect and publish this information unofficially, as a service to members interested in church growth, missions and church planting. If you would like to share data for your church or other churches in our fellowship, please contact .   

GUEST Randy Scott visits Portland.

TAKE TWO The NYCCOC website gets a new look, too.

DJ'S Q&A More questions answered, and the complete Cosmic Bible Quiz.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2004                                                                                                                                     

KAMPALA RESPONDS The Nairobi Christian Church posts an account of recent media criticism of our young sister church in Kampala, Uganda. Church leaders there responded:

The Kampala church put an ad in the two largest circulation national daily newspapers refuting the
errant claims and clarifying what they stood for. The media-staged tirade against the Kampala church
came to an abrupt and absolute stop.

OKC HW The Oklahoma City International Church of Christ seeks an evangelist. 

SYMPATHY We extend condolences to the family and friends of five San Francisco Church of Christ members and children who lost their lives in a car accident while returning from Mexico. 

AUGUST 31, 2004                                                                                                                                         

UNINTENTIONAL DEPROGRAMMERS Gordon Ferguson writes that "many in our churches have unintentionally become deprogrammers -- of themselves and of their fellow disciples." He elaborates:

After churches appeared to be past the upheaval of 2003, and the members in general were feeling that
real changes had occurred in the church and were going to continue occurring, members still were leaving
their congregations. In talking to some of them about their decision, the answers they gave simply did not
add up. The idea of leaving a group of people who had been close friends for years over issues that were
in [the] process of being dealt with simply did not make sense. What was happening? I think they had
been subjected to a practical form of deprogramming without realizing it -- at their own hands and at the
hands of their friends. They had engaged in just too much negative talk about the church for too long...

KWI TO LAX Matt and Sandy Anjilivelil return from Kuwait for a visit to the West Region of the LACOC.

LAX TO MGA A Nicaraguan member of the LACOC returns home and pays a call on our sister church in Managua.

CHARLOTTE SMC The Charlotte Church announces a missions collection of $24K so far.  The contribution will be "distributed to the Johannesburg Church of Christ to be fully dispersed to the churches of the East Region of Africa."

AUGUST 30, 2004                                                                                                                                         

UN-BLOCKED We are still working far from home but now, finally in a country that allows access to this website. Thanks to regular readers who stayed with us despite the sparse blogging last week. Stay tuned today for some make-up posting. 

ECKERO VOICES Messages from speakers at the XVIII Annual Nordic Missions Conference, including those by Andy Fleming, are now available online. The conference was organized by the Stockholm Church of Christ.

TRIANGLE UN-BLOCKED, TOO The Triangle Church website unveils a new look, featuring a letter from George Irungu of the Nairobi Christian Church and a related fact sheet

J.O. Q&A John Oakes tackles questions about one church and the synoptic problem

AID TO ASUNCION Our sister church in Paraguay seeks relief (article in Portuguese, first item) for victims of the August 1 explosion that claimed over 300 lives. 

AUGUST 27, 2004                                                                                                                                         

ESSR Messages from the European Spiritual Summer Retreat in Hungary are now posted here.

AUGUST 25, 2004                                                                                                                                         

CINCI HW The Cincinnati Church of Christ seeks a married couple to lead its youth ministry, which has approximately 20 teens.

SC SINGLES RETREAT Almost 200 singles have already registered for "A New Beginning," a retreat to be hosted September 24-26 by the Columbia (South Carolina) Church of Christ singles. For information contact Terronda Clarke at 803-407-8222.

AUGUST 24, 2004                                                                                                                                         

LEAP Lauren Rasmussen describes her summer internship with the Portland International Church of Christ.

NOTED The San Diego Church of Christ begins posting conference lesson notes from the just-completed Crown of Glory campus conference.

AUGUST 23, 2004                                                                                                                                         

BLOCKED We are working this week in a country that blocks access to the server that hosts the program we use to create and operate this website.  The blogging goes on, though, thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Icocinfo, who takes our entries by e-mail and turns them into the posts you are reading.

TEL AVIV You can hear parts of Jeff Fisher's message to the San Diego Church of Christ here.  Jeff serves our small sister congregation in Tel Aviv, Israel.

NYC SMC The NYCCOC's collection for African and Caribbean missions inches above $700K.

AUGUST 22, 2004                                                                                                                                         

SUNDAYS The Seoul Church of Christ concludes its "When You Believe" conference today; Steve and Jane Chin of Taipei are featured speakers. Wyndam Shaw speaks at the all-Connecticut service today in Groton.

EURASIAN MISSIONS The Chicago Church of Christ collects $361K for Eurasian Missions and posts and eight-minute video from the Moscow Church of Christ.

AUGUST 20, 2004                                                                                                                                         

TAKE TWO The Seattle Church of Christ website sports a new look today.  Recognize the design?

BIENVENIDOS Luis and Teresa Priego now lead the Latin sector in Orange County for the LACOC.

AUGUST 19, 2004                                                                                                                                         

Q&A Both Douglas Jacoby and John Oakes post new Q&A content; the second part of the quiz is up on the ITM website. 

IAH TO JFK The Greater Houston Church says goodbye to former elder Larry Craig, who moves to New York on August 29.

AUGUST 18, 2004                                                                                                                                         

CHARLEY Terry Folker reports on the aftermath of Hurricane Charley:

God answered our specific prayer as we made contact with every disciple in the church. Everyone
is physically ok but emotionally shaken. We have several families that have lost their homes.....We
have disciples in Cape Coral, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Arcadia, etc. Many homes have sustained
damage. The last 2 days every family has been personally visited by someone in the church.

MISSING PEACE The Kingston Church of Christ announces The Missing Peace Caribbean conference, with keynote speakers Sam and Geri Laing, October 16-17. 

AUGUST 17, 2004                                                                                                                                         

P-TOWN Kip McKean describes Portland's August 15 Teen Sunday service and reports recent growth through new baptisms, restorations and additions from other churches.  

AUGUST 16, 2004                                                                                                                                         

REMEMBER THE BROTHERHOOD Rhett Spivey encourages DFW participation in the Texas International Evangelism Seminar in San Antonio, September 4-5: 

We are a region of churches like Galatia. We collectively have unique strengths and weaknesses.
We need to collectively receive direction from God. The seminar affords us that opportunity....

The Greater Houston Church features the seminar prominently on its homepage

HISTORY OF REACTIONS Gary Sciascia writes about the "new era" that "our brotherhood of churches has embarked upon," concluding:

The debate should not be over “should we be old school or new school?”, but simply, “what is most
biblical?” Shortcuts to building our ministries must be abandoned for the most biblical ways to build,
regardless of how long it may take. Oftentimes, the most biblical ways of doing things may take longer
or do not produce the kinds of quick results we have become accustomed to.

NC TO SA The Charlotte Church announces its 2004 Missions Contribution "will be distributed to the Johannesburg Church of Christ to be fully dispersed to the churches of the East Region of Africa."

INVITATION FROM KIEV In a subscription-only article posted today on DT (under the "Missions" heading), Christian and Debbie Flores "invite disciples around the world to visit" the Ukraine.

AUGUST 15, 2004                                                                                                                                         

TPE TO BKK Steve Chin of Taipei preaches today at our sister church in Bangkok. The Taipei Christian Church
recently donated $10K to Bangkok's HOPE Center.   

AUGUST 14, 2004                                                                                                                                         

ESSR Mirko Russo reports (in German) on the 2004 European Spiritual Summer Retreat in Csillebérc, Hungary.

EL PRIVILEGIO DE AMARTE New on the events page: the South Florida Church of Christ's third annual Spanish
marriage retreat.

AUGUST 13, 2004                                                                                                                                         

OPENING Tonight begins the 2004 SFNet Expo in San Francisco, The Crown of Glory campus conference in San
Diego, and Where is the Love, a singles conference organized by the Denver Church of Christ.

NEW ON DT Robin Weidner, Missions Editor of DT, writes about the visit of 22 young people from the Hampton
Roads Church to Chennai, India in Seventeen Days in India (subscription required, article under "Missions"). Once logged in, download the six-minute preview of footage for the first DT video. Scenes from the ACU meeting are worth the download time. 

A KAZAN FIRST The Moscow Church of Christ posts a report (in Russian) on a conference organized by our young sister church in Kazan, Russia, for students in the Volga Region. Twenty-four Kazan students joined others from Nizhny-Novgorod, Samara, Moscow and St. Petersburg, for a total attendance of about 100. Next year is Samara's turn.

CAPITAL WEBSITE The DC Regional Church of Christ website gets a new look

AUGUST 12, 2004                                                                                                                                         

FRIENDS Over 1,000 attend a women's event organized by the Bangalore Church of Christ, featuring guest speaker
Rita Shane of Dehli.

AUGUST 11, 2004                                                                                                                                         

JO'BERG SMC The Johannesburg Church of Christ collects its special contribution, in part to make up for the
shortfall in assistance from U.S. churches.  As of last Thursday, over R1 million ($161K) had been given,
exceeding the church's goal by 41%.  

TO LET THE WORLD KNOW Scott Green reports on the recently held Northwest Missions Conference in Seattle,
attended by over 700. 

This conference confirmed that Brotherhood is making a rapid comeback. We weren’t obligated to
be together, nor did we assemble out of a sense of tradition. We met because Northwest disciples are
neighbors—we need each other. We met because the Chinese disciples are our friends and partners in
the gospel, historically and currently.

Conference participants gave over $45K for China missions.

ITM New content on Douglas Jacoby's website includes more Q&A and a Bible quiz

AUGUST 10, 2004                                                                                                                                         

FIQUE POR DENTRO Douglas Alexandre reports (in Portuguese, first item) on the visit of 20 Christians from Miami to the Belo Horizonte church in Brazil.  Also posted today (second item), a report of the death of a member of our sister church in Paraguay in an explosion in Asuncion (CNN reports on the disaster here).

LAKSHAYA The Bangalore, India Church of Christ posts a report on the Bangalore and Karnataka churches' Men's
Leadership Retreat.

NEW ON DT Subscription-only articles by John Beene, who recently entered the fulltime ministry in Staten Island, New York.

AUGUST 9, 2004                                                                                                                                           

OHIO SMC The Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland churches have met their first goal of collecting $145K for support of the Jakarta, Indonesia church, with which the Ohio "family of churches" is paired. 

This pairing has and will continue to go well beyond financial support alone. The prayers, fellowship,
visits, etc. which stem from this root will bloom in many beautiful ways.

Additional funds collected are tagged for the support of the Toledo Church of Christ, leadership visits to Indonesia, and a future church planting in Ohio.

STATS UPDATE The addition of one more church, and new information on another church, leads to a revised estimated current membership of 119,712. For the first time since we began collecting data, our estimate indicates slight growth in 2004.

Two cautions: our estimate for 2003 is based on what is known about churches representing only 12% of our 2002 membership. The 2004 estimate is likely to be more accurate, as it is based on recent data for churches representing 37% of our 2002 membership. In neither case are we working with a truly representative sample.

Despite the inherent shortcomings of this indicator, it is heartening to witness these first, faint signals of a reversal. Send new information or corrections to . 

WILLKOMMEN A hearty welcome to new visitors coming from the just-posted link on the Internationale Gemeinde Christi Berlin website (the link is on the graphic on the bottom-left of the homepage).

AUGUST 8, 2004                                                                                                                                           

SUNDAYS Our sister church in Cheyenne celebrates its 10th anniversary today; the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine churches join with the Northwest Region of the Boston Church of Christ for a "Service
by the Sea" worship service.

FORCEFUL The Seattle church posts an article that first appeared several days ago on the Tacoma Church of Christ website by Daren Overstreet:

Of the lessons all of us have learned, one of them is not that leadership is unnecessary....The antidote
for bad leadership is not no leadership, but good and righteous leadership.  (emphasis in original)

AUGUST 5, 2004                                                                                                                                           

MORE STATS We've added membership data for six more churches, bringing the total number for which we have year end 2003 or 2004 information to 167. (There has been no centralized stats collection since early 2003.) After these most recent additions, we estimate membership of 119,671, a decline of 11% from peak membership in 2002. 

Our frequently-updated, unofficial compilation of the most current, accurate information on church membership in our fellowship depends on voluntary cooperation. Send new information or corrections to .

KIM IN SEOUL The Seoul Church of Christ posts a recent message to the church from former PacRim World Sector Leader Frank Kim. From the introduction:

A lot of people think, "What are you doing these days?" Well, I have a new role in the church.
It's a very special role. It's called, "bro."

The message, in English with Korean translation, can be heard in its entirety here.

DT HW DisciplesToday posts notices about ministry positions available in Birmingham, Alabama, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

FLA SMC The Gainesville Christian Church reaches its Special Contribution goal of $65K.  The young church reported giving $40.8K for its 2001 SMC, and $64.7K in 2002.

AUGUST 5, 2004                                                                                                                                           

LA SR SMC The South Region of the Los Angeles Church of Christ collects a special contribution in support of church planting and other mission work in Mexico and Central America, exceeding its $204K goal by 13%.

VISIONS Elders of The Charlotte Church complete three weeks of "vision meetings" with over 200 church members and post a letter to the church:

During the month of August the elders will work with the ministry staff and other leaders to begin refining the
vision, setting our initial focus, and discovering how God wants us to get there.

ACR  Doug Geyer reports on the 2004 ACR Conference, attended by over 1,000 on its final day. 

AUGUST 4, 2004                                                                                                                                           

MSM Jeff Hernandez, a deacon in the Portland International Church of Christ, reports on the growth of the middle school ministry from its first baptism last fall to twenty members today.

D.A.'S Q&A New content: “What do we know about crucifixion in the ancient world?” and other questions. 

EVENTS New on the events page: a "mini-conference" in Wales, and activities for teens and women in Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya.

AUGUST 3, 2004                                                                                                                                           

MT PLANTING Our sister church in Missoula, Montana, plants a new congregation of 16 in Bozeman, home of Montana State University.

ATL CONGO David Mathis reports that over 3,000 attended the first congregational service of the Atlanta Church of Christ in over a year.

EVENTS Just added to our events page: activities of interest to teens, teen ministry workers, college students, singles (take your pick between South Carolina and the Florida Keys) and even people who like to fish.

2004 ACR The Columbus Church of Christ begins posting audio of its Strong in the Grace conference. 

SMC II The Tampa Bay church considers four proposals for participating in South American missions funding this year.  The Tampa Bay church did not give a special contribution for missions last year, but cites the "very real and immediate" needs of our sister churches in South America, concluding "God is calling us to give to support the needs." 

AUGUST 2, 2004                                                                                                                                           

MILESTONES The 158-member Eldoret Church of Christ in Kenya celebrates it's 12th anniversary on June 27 (article posted July 30). The Greater Houston Church celebrates 13 years on August 1.

DT New content on Disciples Today includes reports from participants in the Midwest Church Leader’s Conference (here and here) and the Southeast Family Bible Conference, as well as a new editorial  (subscription required) by Roger Lamb.

NOMINATED The Christian Chronicle posts, for its "Churches That Work" series, a nomination for the South Florida Church of Christ. 

JULY 29, 2004                                                                                                                                               

GREATER The former Houston International Church of Christ website (cached) is re-launched with a new design, carrying the church's new name as well. 

NYC HW The New York City Church of Christ "has ministry position openings" and invites "anyone who is interested to submit their resume to the church office."  

SMCS The Gainesville Christian Church collects a Special Contribution tonight; the Central Jersey church's special
collection for African missions was on July 25. 

JULY 28, 2004                                                                                                                                               

KIT A new link to the Greater Albuquerque Church of Christ website, and contact information for our sister churches in Bloomington and Champaign, Illinois can now be found here. Send contact information you'd like to make available online to . Many of the visitors to this website come via searches for specific locations.

MSPCC Roger and Marcia Lamb are slated to speak at the Minneapolis St. Paul Church of Christ Family Workshop, July 31. 

JULY 27, 2004                                                                                                                                               

JO'S Q&A John Oakes returns to a full inbox and posts answers to new questions on Hebrews, predestination, etc.

JULY 26, 2004                                                                                                                                               

ISTANBUL We've held off posting news of the legalization of our sister church in Istanbul for over a month, in  deference to the wishes of local leaders. Yesterday, however, we received word from Turkey:

Now we all feel it's fine to do that and would be more than glad to hear from other brothers and sisters
around the world who are interested in the church here....we are now finally able to freely invite people to
Sunday worship, sing songs and invite people on the street, as well as rent a facility specifically for
worship.

Legalization of this small but courageous church planting in a predominantly Muslim nation is historic. Contact information can now be found here.  

BOOKED The Portland International Church of Christ books the Oregon Convention Center for August 19-21, 2005.

JULY 25, 2004                                                                                                                                               

HIRED Tim Huffman, Houston; David Hooper, Austin. Tim previously served churches fulltime in London, Los Angeles, Houston, metro Washington, D.C. and planted our sister church in Stockholm, Sweden.

JULY 23, 2004                                                                                                                                               

EVENTS The 2004 Northwest Missions Conference, "To Let the World Know," opens tonight in Seattle, Washington. Latest updates on the 2004 European Spiritual Summer Retreat, which begins July 29, are posted here

WELCOME A hearty welcome to new visitors coming from the just-posted link on Disciples Today.

SEFBC Douglas Jacoby reports on the South East Family Bible Conference, held July 1-4 in Orlando, Florida.  

...it was exhilarating to hear of new church plantings—scheduled, for example, for such US cities as
Sarasota, Florida, and secondary and tertiary plantings in such foreign nations as Bolivia and the Ivory
Coast....In other words, churches are not just becoming mutual admiration societies. There is an outward
focus. Missions are not dead.

MIA TO PLU A team of South Florida fathers and sons prepares to visit our sister church in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

JULY 22, 2004                                                                                                                                               

PART IX Kip McKean pens an additional essay in a series on world evangelism, calling on churches in our fellowship to "once again determine to fulfill God's dream to 'evangelize the world in a generation'" and lamenting a loss of zeal:

Gone is that intense urgency to save souls, since we no longer feel the urgency of accomplishing God's
dream in our generation, our lifetime.

VIRGINIA TO INDIA Young members of the Hampton Roads Church report from Chennai, India (formerly known as Madras):

The people of the Chennai church are awesome.  They have totally opened up their arms to us and
made us a part of their family. 

JULY 21, 2004                                                                                                                                               

ACES REDUX A rare long-time presence among our church websites, ACES Online has redefined the ACES acronym (formerly representing the region administered by the now-disbanded ACES World Sector, or Africa, Caribbean and Eastern States) as African Christians Evangelising and Serving

DJ'S Q&A Douglas Jacoby posts a new Q&A that addresses the question of "how much repentance can be expected" of a candidate for baptism. 

LINKS The Atlanta Church of Christ website removes its list of links and contact information of other churches. An extensive list of stand-alone church websites and contact information can be found here. Send suggestions for additional websites and contact information to .

CROWN OF GLORY The San Diego Church of Christ announces its Campus Conference 2004.  More events...

JULY 19, 2004                                                                                                                                               

NYC SMC The New York City Church of Christ collects $671K towards its goal of $1.2 million for African missions support. UPDATE (7/22) The revised total is $679K. 

BACK IN ISRAEL Aziz Sarah returns to Israel and reports news from our sister congregations in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, issuing a special invitation to "disciples around the world" to either visit or come for a longer stay to assist the church.

ORLANDO ELDERS SPEAK Elders of the Orlando Church of Christ post an open letter to the congregation.  The gist of the letter:

The elders believe that, although many of the changes that have occurred have been good, they are not
enough, and they have not been fulfilling. These changes primarily address symptoms exposed last year,
but not the root cause. In addition, while many undesirable and un-Biblical practices have ceased, they
have not, for the most part, been replaced by healthy, Biblical practices that emanate from a heart full
of gratitude and motivated by the grace of God.

PVCC IN TRANSITION A new report relates Phoenix Valley's Temporary Advisory Group's discussion of "what the church needs in the immediate future to move past last year's upheavals." 

They were quite united on the fact that we do need to move forward and no longer dwell on the past....
In other words, all we can do is repent of past mistakes, learn our lessons, and then move on, trusting
that God will continue to help us see other needs to change in the future. 

PVCC posts additional updates on elder training and church finances.

JULY 17, 2004                                                                                                                                               

LION CITY Frank and Erica Kim return to Asia to speak at events hosted by the Central Christian Church of Singapore UPDATE (7/19)  Frank's message can be heard here in MP3 format. 

MORE STATS For obvious reasons we can't disclose the specific names of cities, but have been told it is acceptable to share this information from a correspondent on overall membership in several countries in the Middle East.  The Middle East is home to many of the least-reached peoples as identified by the Joshua Project.

BOS TO IAH Boston Church of Christ elder Tracy Larr moves to Houston to work in the ministry of the Houston International Church of Christ.

JULY 15, 2004                                                                                                                                               

NEW FOCUS The eldership of the South Florida Church of Christ ask Peter and Laura Garcia "to redirect their energy from their local ministry and concentrate their time and attention on our brothers and sisters in South America," citing a "great need in South America for relationship building, emotional and spiritual strengthening, biblical and practical teaching."

JULY 14, 2004                                                                                                                                               
 
EURASIAN MISSIONS Bill Sanders reports in the just-posted July edition of the Chicago church bulletin (page 2).  Chicago took the lead in creating a new non-profit to coordinate funding of mission efforts by 22 churches after the World Sector structure was disbanded. In the first six months of 2004, the fund provided $640,000 in financial support.

DJ'S Q&A  Douglas Jacoby posts new Q&A content, leading with a question about "one church, one city."  The questioner is the author of a widely circulated study on church autonomy.

JULY 13, 2004                                                                                                                                               

MASTER PLAN Kip McKean writes about Portland's recent studies of "the principles of Scripture in Robert Coleman's book, The Master Plan of Evangelism." Ideas in The Master Plan, first published over 30 years ago,  were a seminal influence in our fellowship's antecedent churches.   

JULY 12, 2004                                                                                                                                               

MONROVIA REPORT Samuel Otieno Munyuwiny of Nairobi reports on his visit to Monrovia, Liberia.

CONGO The Atlanta church of Christ announces its first congregational service in over a year, to be held July 25. 

GBCOC Ron Drabot is slated to speak at a special service of the Greater Baltimore Church of Christ, also July 25.

FLORIDA VISION The Elders and ministry leaders of the South Florida Church of Christ hire Vision Planners to "facilitate aggressive planning" for the coming years.  From the announcement:

It has been eye opening to truly plan for the future. We now have a great vision of where we plan to be in
January of 2010! If that is where we want to be, the question that stands before us is: what will it take to
get us there? 

JULY 9, 2004                                                                                                                                                

DIAKONENAUFGABEN The Berlin church prepares to select deacons (link in German, translation available here).

LINKS Post-UCD, I've posted links to the stand-alone websites of 65 churches.  I'll give a free one-year subscription to icocinfo.org to anyone who can find a more comprehensive, up-to-date list online. Send suggestions for additional links or corrections to .

NEW EVENTS New links to information on the Breckenridge, Colorado singles conference and the Texas International Evangelism Seminar posted to the events page. 

JULY 8, 2004                                                                                                                                                
 
TANZANIA TRANSITION The small Arusha church is now led by nationals; Wycliffe Mbimwa returns to Nairobi.

FOOTNOTE A recently added footnote clarifies one statement in the "I Am Not Ashamed" article on the Portland church website.

DJ'S Q&A Douglas Jacoby posts new Q&A content on the correct translation of "obey your leaders" and addresses the question, "What must we expect from people who want to return to church?"

JULY 7, 2004                                                                                                                                                  

MORE STATS Today our frequently-updated, unofficial compilation of the most current, accurate information on church membership in our fellowship adds data on another 55 African churches and three more U.S. churches. That makes 161 churches; 271 to go.

JULY 6, 2004                                                                                                                                                
 
CHI MES Steve Staten reports on the Midwest Evangelism Seminar in Chicago: "The seminar this year was reminiscent of those from the 1980s." Stream the messages

SD LOSS Guillermo Adame, evangelist for the San Diego church for over 11 years, has been laid off for lack of budget. From the leadership's announcement to the church: 

Words cannot express how much we will miss Guillermo and Terry Adame’s leadership
on staff. They have faithfully served this church for over eleven years, pouring their hearts
out to not only the West region and the entire San Diego church, but to the entire Southwest
family of churches as well. For over a decade, they saw this church through thick and thin,
taking responsibility for the hard times and gladly giving God the credit for the good times. 

The Adames' response is gracious:

Our hearts our heavy with sadness as this has been one of the greatest joys of our lives. We are
grateful for the love and support that have been given to us by so many and we will forever be
grateful for the opportunity to have served here. 

Guillermo will speak at the Marina Village Conference Center in San Diego on July 11. 

JULY 5, 2004                                                                                                                                                

MORE STATS I've added recent membership statistics for 32 more churches, with a summary here and details for Asia, Eurasia, Europe and the United States, with thanks to the many readers who take the time to send in data from SMC handouts, bulletins and other reports. If your church isn't listed yet, .

POST-JUBILEE Kip McKean defends Steve Johnson and others who had speaking roles in Portland, blaming the "lukewarmness that is plaguing many American congregations" on "some leaders."

JULY 4, 2004                                                                                                                                                

SF SC The San Francisco church announces a Special Contribution of 14.3 times its weekly contribution, slightly beyond its goal of 14 times weekly contribution.  Almost 80% is earmarked for support of the church's Campus, Teens, and Singles (CTS) ministry.  

WANTED The 150-member Cleveland church seeks an evangelist.

JULY 2, 2004                                                                                                                                                

LINKS DOWN Many of the links to content formerly posted on the UCD website aren't working now.  I'm working to find cached versions of the old content, and I will update this new page of links to standalone church websites as often as possible. 

JUNE 27, 2004                                                                                                                                               

NYC SMC The New York City church collects its missions contribution today, with a goal of $1.2 million.  In conjunction the church publishes information on African churches and their memberships, as well as reports from Haiti, St. Vincent (a Caribbean island of 120,000 people), and Suriname (in South America, between French Guiana and Guyana). A notable statement from the announcement:

These funds will only be used for ongoing Africa and Caribbean missions and Africa and
Caribbean HOPE Medical programs.  These funds will not be used for any US church ministry
or administration expenses....Funds collected in excess of the goal will be restricted and
exclusively used for future Africa and Caribbean missions needs.

CHI MES Approximately 2,500 attend Friday and Saturday events at the Midwest Evangelism Seminar in Chicago.

JUNE 26, 2004                                                                                                                                               

EAST EUROPEAN STATS ADDED New data from Europe, added to our frequently-updated, unofficial compilation of the most current, accurate information on church membership in our fellowship. Many thanks to the church leaders and administrators who have volunteered information. Not all news is encouraging, but it is important to know, factually, where we stand in our efforts to build and grow churches around the world.    

JUNE 25, 2004                                                                                                                                               

JUBILEE The Portland church posts a report by Kip McKean on the International Discipleship Jubilee.  Key graf:

I shared [that] a new movement was not needed....However as in the 1980's, the campus
ministry churches were so damaged by sin and division, that a new planting was needed
and that Portland is in the process of targeting cities where former "ICOC churches" have
abandoned discipling and world vision.

UPDATE A participant in the International Discipleship Jubilee shares a first-hand report: "I went in cynical and came out inspired."  More... Listen to the speeches and classes online.

KEEPING O'HARE BUSY The Chicago church announces the 2004 International Leadership Conference, to be held September 23-25.  The organizer anticipates 800-900 "evangelists, elders, teachers and other leaders from around the world." Themes of the classes are missions, spiritual health, and unity.  Other events....

JUNE 23, 2004                                                                                                                                               

LA WEST Highlights from Andy Fleming's periodic update on the West Region of the LA church: a collection of $260,000 for Middle East missions; Christian and Debbie Ray, who presently lead the Kiev church, consider an offer to serve in the fulltime ministry leading the West LA sector; year-to-date baptisms (13), restorations (1), move-ins (13), move-outs (4) and losses (17) make for a current membership of 640.

JUNE 21, 2004                                                                                                                                               

HK SMC The Hong Kong Church of Christ exceeds its Special Contribution goal of HKD 2.7 million, collecting almost HKD 2.9 million (US$ 360,000) for missions.

APPOINTMENT The San Antonio International Church of Christ appoints Mark Wilkinson as an Evangelist at its June 20 service.

JUNE 16, 2004                                                                                                                                               

PARTING WAYS The Denver church's elders and evangelists publish a response to John Engler's resignation.  Engler was a Deacon in the Denver church but enjoyed wider recognition as editor of the Barnabas Ministry
website. The gist of the church leaders' response:

It is clear that there is a wide gap between the Englers’ perceptions and ours.  We are
willing to part company as Paul and Barnabas did in Acts chapter 15 and pray that we
will be able to work in separate arenas to accomplish God’s purposes.

JUNE 13, 2004                                                                                                                                               

AFRICA UPDATE Aces Online adds to its recent series of updates on our African churches this article on news from East Africa.

MILE HIGH SMC Today the Denver Church of Christ collects its Special Missions Contribution. $135,000 of the targeted $285,000 is earmarked for churches in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. 

JUNE 3, 2004                                                                                                                                                
 
OKIE SMC The Tulsa church, with 70 members, collects a 2004 special contribution of $29,000 in support of European missions, the Oklahoma City church, and its own building fund. 

MAY 30, 2004                                                                                                                                                

CINCI STATEMENT Five leaders of the Cincinnati Church of Christ, one of the oldest congregations in our young fellowship, post an Acknowledgement, Apology and Appeal.

MAY 28, 2004                                                                                                                                                

BEST AVAILBLE ESTIMATE New data from a number of different churches and sources allows us to make a new "best available estimate" of where we stand today: 116,066 members, down 14% from the end of 2002.  This estimate is based on the most current data available for 116 of our churches. I'll post more about the data and methodology that goes into the "best available estimate" over the next few days. 

MAY 26, 2004                                                                                                                                                

MIDEAST MISSIVE New reports from our sister churches in Israel are posted here.

MAY 24, 2004                                                                                                                                                

RESTORATION ROOTS In two new articles posted today, Greg Marutzky reviews a book about the current crisis of identity within the mainline Churches of Christ, citing its value to members of the International Churches of Christ: "the discipling movement's roots are in the mainline Church of Christ." On the same day, Kip McKean writes about unity and notes, "reformers in the Restoration Movement of the 1800's had a motto, "In essentials, unity. Non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity." "

MAY 23, 2004                                                                                                                                                

CHI MES Chicago's latest bulletin, posted today, is all about the 2004 Midwest Evangelism Seminar.  Featured speakers are Mike Taliaferro, Steve Saindon, Javier Amaya and Tony Singh. 

MAY 22, 2004                                                                                                                                                

WHAT HAPPENED? Thoughts on retention and our 2003 tipping point here.

AFRICA NEWS Chris and Rolayo Obonaya of Lagos post a current report on our churches in Africa on Aces Online.  Nina Toyo reports on the Abidjan church's planting in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, and other news. 

Update: A quick check of 2002 membership for the African churches indicates 59 churches with a combined membership of 12,773.  The first article cited above tallies 57 churches and 11,920 members, indicating a 7% decline. 

RIP UDC Following the announcement about UCD closing, ICOC News offers assistance to churches that have been using the UCD portal. 

MAY 21, 2004                                                                                                                                                

JOHN PORTER RESIGNS:  Longtime missionaries to Sao Paolo, Brazil, John and Barbara Porter, currently serving the South Florida Church of Christ, resign from the fulltime ministry. 

ICOC STATS BECOMES ICOC INFO: It became apparent to me that the word "stats" in close proximity to "icoc" is simply too loaded, too layered with different meanings.  The name of the website was hindering its usefulness, so now it's icocinfo.org. My editorial stance remains the same.  

MAY 20, 2004                                                                                                                                                

SAN FRANCISCO MEMBERSHIP: Word has it SF membership now stands at 2,107.  That's off 17% from end-of-year 2002 membership of 2,538.  Wasn't there a sector or region, though, that became it's own congregation last year? That would reduce the numbers somewhat but not be considered attrition.  Thanks for the heads up from a web browser; tips are always ...

APRIL 24, 2004                                                                                                                                              

NYCCOC POSTS MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS: The New York City Church of Christ posts current membership per region.  The numbers add to 3,886.  Hats off to the NYCCOC for making membership numbers publicly available.  

MARCH 27, 2004                                                                                                                                           

ATTENDANCE: The Greater Albuquerque Church of Christ now publishes current attendance in its monthly bulletin (see the bottom right hand corner of the on-line version). It used to be common practice for churches in our fellowship to include attendance and baptisms in weekly bulletins.  Here's an example from a 1990 issue of the Boston Church of Christ bulletin.

I hope more churches will start doing so again. Years ago, stats were not simply reported "up-the-line." They were collected and freely published so Christians could know how their own church was doing. They were shared with other churches, as mutual encouragement. To be sure, from time to time unhealthy, competitive attitudes emerged. But for those of us who were there, it was exciting to follow the progress of small campus ministries and new church plantings through their weekly bulletins. 

If you know of other churches that make their attendance or other stats public in this way, please . If I can find enough examples, I'll start a separate page to track them.

CHURCH PLANTING: Forest Versele announces an August, 2004, church planting in Roanoke, Virginia. The planting is a cooperative effort of the Hampton Roads Church, the Richmond Church, and the Charlottesville Church. Earlier this year, of course, the Portland Church sent a new church planting to Eugene, Oregon. 

MARCH 22, 2004                                                                                                                                           

FIRST REPORT ISSUED: I am pleased to announce the issue of our first report, a preliminary collection of end-of-2003 membership information, to participating churches.  You can see a sample of this report without the church names and membership numbers.  To receive a copy with complete information,

MARCH 10, 2004                                                                                                                                           

UPDATE ON 2003: So far I’ve received end of year 2003 membership data for 51 churches, comprising 10% of the ICOC’s membership at the end of 2002.  Collectively these 51 churches experienced a membership decline of 12% in 2003.  Eighteen of the 51 churches continued growing in 2003.  That just leaves 378 churches to go…if you lead or administer a church, or know your church’s membership at the end of 2003, to learn more about submitting your church's statistics.  (Only participating churches receive current church-by-church data.)  In sum:

Churches for which we now have 2003 membership:51 of 429

Total Membership for these 51 churches, end 2002:12,879
Total Membership for these 51 churches, end 2003:11,323

FEBRUARY 23, 2004                                                                                                                                     

FROM THE : "Hello, I just found out about your website and would be happy to help out. I'll spread the word around [to] church leader's nearby." Thanks!

MOST AMAZING STATISTIC: No, it's not about church growth per se.  Key graph:

Ninety-five percent of the people in America who become Christians do so before the age
of 25. Think about that. If we don't reach people with the gospel before they reach the age
of 25, we are going to miss 95 percent of them.

I don't agree with the inevitability expressed in Milton Jones' conclusion (and doubt that he intended it), but I suspect almost every fellowship of churches is made up primarily of people who joined before the age of 25, no matter what its members' average age is today. That surely has important implications for us.  Anyone know where the study he cites can be found?

FEBRUARY 20, 2004                                                                                                                                     

WELCOME! A hearty welcome to the newcomers to this website via the link and news item posted today on www.icocnews.com.  If you have questions, comments, or information you'd like to contribute, please feel free to .

STATE OF GIVING: Research by the charity organization empty tomb paints a bleak picture of the state of giving in the U.S. 

A new study found that in 2000, giving to Benevolences as a portion of income hit the
lowest point in the 1968-2000 period. Meanwhile, church members gave more to the
internal operations of the congregation that benefit current members.

The two tables included in the press release announcing the study show per member contributions in 2000 at just 2.6% of income, down from 3.1% in 1968, despite an inflation-adjusted doubling of disposable personal income.

FEBRUARY 17, 2004                                                                                                                                     

UNREACHED: Hats off to the Joshua Project, a momentous effort to "identify and highlight the people groups of the world that have the least exposure to the Gospel and the least Christian presence." Their listing of least-reached peoples by country is sobering, to say the least. Indifference to their plight denies millions a chance to hear the gospel.

SOME KEPT GROWING: Front page UCD article on the Fayetteville, Arkansas church's search for an evangelist notes 32 "stable, faithful disciples". This church reported 27 members at the end of 2002.  With no fulltime staff, Fayetteville is another example of a church that continued to grow throughout 2003, the fifteenth I know of so far.   

FEBRUARY 15, 2004                                                                                                                                     

SOME KEPT GROWING: Already 14 churches in six different countries have reported growing in 2003. Average growth was 6%. I intend to do a feature on churches that continued growing in 2003 or have resumed growing in 2004. If you know of either please , too.

TAKE TWO: I made a common calculation error and added the header row when calculating 2003 membership data received so far. In fact, those 46 churches had just under 11,000 members at the end of 2002, and therefore would have comprised 8% of total ICOC membership. The combined change in membership was -7%, not -6% as reported below. New totals: 46 churches; 2002 membership: 10,916; 2003 membership: 10,113.  

REGIONAL DOMINANCE: The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies publishes a fascinating map showing, county-by-county, the major religious families throughout the United States.  Note how, for all the religious diversity of the U.S., you could easily travel through one hundred contiguous counties where the major religious family is either Baptist or Catholic. 

IN THE NEWS: In his recent interview with the Christian Chronicle (extended version), Kip McKean notes that "Approximately half of our churches and membership are outside the United States."  For a more detailed look at the changing mix of U.S.-to-non-U.S. membership and churches, see this analysis.

FEBRUARY 13, 2004                                                                                                                                     

INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH!  From a website critical of the ICOC that linked to this one: “It's written by a "faithful" ICC member, and interestingly enough leaves out the 2003 stats.”  Would that we had a full set of 2003 stats to leave out! Centralized collection ended early in the year.

UPDATE ON 2003: So far I’ve received end of year 2003 membership data for 46 churches, comprising just under 10% of the ICOC’s membership at the end of 2002.  Collectively these 46 churches experienced a membership decline of 6% in 2003.  Fourteen of the 46 churches continued growing in 2003.  That just leaves 383 churches to go…if you lead or administer a church, or know your church’s membership at the end of 2003, to learn more about submitting your church's statistics. 

BIG NAMES IN CHURCH GROWTH: Frequently visitors to this website have probably heard of Donald McGavran, the “Father of the Church Growth Movement.”  Fewer know that he was affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, one of the groups that came from the same Restoration Movement that produced the Churches of Christ, from which the ICOC sprang.  A missionary to India, McGavran became frustrated with the slow-growing churches under his administration and began researching how churches grow.  He was a strong advocate for using quantitative measures:

Cities do not have to tolerate smog, nor do Churches have to work in frustrating
uncertainty as to the degree to which they are faithful to their Master in
propagating the Gospel. It is easily possible for any branch of the world mission
month by month, to see clearly the degree of church growth which has been
achieved….

His monumental Understanding Church Growth is a classic, still influential 34 years after he wrote it. 

FROM THE :  “It's great to hear what you are doing to keep members around the world informed, encouraged and connected! Best of luck with the website.”  Thanks!