- Follow the rest of this discussion here.
I would expect a church with the name “The Church of Christ” to have one, or many, favorite verses about Jesus. Yet, as a Church of Christ insider, I would consider the following a representative list of Church of Christ “motto” verses:
- Acts 2:38 – baptism
- Colossians 3:16 – acapella worship
- Acts 20:7 – weekly Lord’s Supper
- Mark 16:16 – Great Commission & baptism
- John 4:24 – worship in spirit & truth (emphasis on truth)
These verses seem to more accurately describe the way others perceive us as “The Church of Baptism” or “The Acapella Church”, rather than The Church of Christ. Others perceive us this way, because that’s the message we’ve emphasised.
If I was starting from scratch and came across a church named “The Church of Christ” I would expect that church to have Galatians 2:20 as a central value. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. The members of the church no longer live for themselves, but seek to serve and glorify Christ in all they do, because Christ now enlivens them.
The Church of Christ should emphasise spiritual disciplines as a means of dying to self.
Romans 12:2 & 2 Corinthians 3:18, both refer to this dying/new life process as a transformation. But it’s not a transformation that we perform. It’s a transformation that God accomplishes within us. Our only task is to create the space for God’s Spirit to work. As we allow God to transform our mind, our thoughts and priorities, in turn we will increasingly live within the will of God.
The Church Belonging to Christ should be dedicated to the process of transforming itself, and members, into the image of Christ. We recognise that even if there was a point when we “came to Christ”, that point only served as a beginning point for the process of “becoming like Christ”.
In Luke 9:23 Jesus told his followers that they must take up their cross daily and follow him. We often approach this thinking that we must endure difficulties as we follow Christ. And often, we look at those difficulties as something imposed upon us from outside: by life, or others. But if you look closely you’ll see that Jesus is more specific than that. The first step he gives is that we’re to deny ourselves, or as Paul would say, that we die to [crucify] ourselves.
Finally, a church with personal and corporate transformation as a core value would necessarily also stress personal accountability. The leadership would encourage and look for spiritual growth within the members. Attendance would no longer be primary measure of church growth or success. The church would constantly change as God continually transforms its members into His image.
- How do you think churches can encourage spiritual transformation? Special Wed. night prayer classes, sermons on spiritual disciplines…?
- I think we have previously demanded transformation by stressing obedience. What are the alternatives? Are the Biblical examples?
- How can leaders monitor the growth of the congregation? Number of Bible studies, mission trips…?
- Maybe you’d like to suggest some more “motto” verses for Churches of Christ?