First Christian Church | Wilson, NC
Saturday, November 18, 2017
(Disciples of Christ)
About Disciples of Christ (DOC)
 
 
 As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord's Table as God has welcomed us.
(Disciples of Christ Statement of Identity)
 
Brief Background
 
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), while founded on American soil in the early 1800's, is uniquely equipped to live up to its identity that it is a "movement for wholeness in a fragmented world."  The denomination was born in the 1800's, and continues to be influenced by its founding ideals of our unity in Christ with openness and diversity in practice and belief. 
  
The Disciples Vision, Mission, Imperative and Covenant statements call the communion to be a faithful, growing church that demonstrates true community, deep Christian Spirituality and a passion for justice. 
  
The Vision of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
 To be a faithful, growing church, that demonstrates true community,
 deep Christian spirituality and a passion for justice. 
(Micah 6:8)
 
 The Mission of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
 To be and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, witnessing,
loving and serving from our doorsteps "to the ends of the earth." 
(Acts 1:8)
 
The church is identified with the Protestant "mainstream" and is widely involved in social and other concerns.  Disciples have supported vigorously world and national programs of education, agricultural assistance, racial reconciliation, care of the developmentally disabled and aid to victims of war and calamity. 
 
 
 
 
The denomination now records about 700,000 members in the United States and Canada in about 3,700 congregations.  Numerically, the strength of the Disciples of Christ runs in a broad arc that sweeps from Ohio and Kentucky through the Midwest and down into Oklahoma and Texas.
 
 
What We Believe
 
We believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. 
This statement is more than words or simply a profession of faith. It is the only question we ask when one wishes to affiliate with First Christian Church and our faith is expressed out of this simple profession. There are no other creeds or confessions that act as a test of faith.
 
We believe that The Lord's Table is open and inclusive. 
Communion, which we celebrate weekly, is open to all who confess Jesus as the Christ. The table is a symbol of our hospitality with Christ as our example. When we partake, we are asked to examine ourselves, to make our confession, and to commit to a deeper form of our spiritual journey.
 
We believe in the ministry of all believers. 
While there are ministers on the staff, each member and participant of the church is gifted in many ways; each is a minister of the church. We seek to use our gifts together, as the body of Christ. 
 
We believe in the love of unity. 
Recognized or not, we are in relation to one another. "Unity is our polar star" has been a theme of the Disciples. We believe that we are to work together as denominations to be the witnesses of Christ.
 
We believe in the justice of God. 
We are called to love and serve all of God's people. We serve the marginalized and distressed in our community and around the world.
 
The Four Priorities of Disciples
 
At the 2001 General Assembly, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) adopted the 2020 Vision, which contained four priorities that will guide the Church through the first two decades of the 21st century. 
 
The Four Priorities are: 
Becoming a Pro-reconciling, Anti-racist church
Formation of 1,000 new congregations by 2020
Transformation of 1,000 current congregations by 2020
Leadership development necessary to realize these new and renewed congregations
 
 Communion
 
For I have received of the Lord what I have also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you.  Do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way he took the cup also after supper saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."  (I Corinthians 11:23-26 NRSV) 
 
From the Preamble of The Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
"At the Table of the Lord we celebrate with thanksgiving the saving acts and presence of Christ"
The Lord's Supper or Communion is celebrated in weekly worship.  It is open to all who are followers of Jesus Christ.  The practice of Holy Communion has become the central element of worship within the Disciples tradition. 
 
Disciples' observance of the Lord's Supper emanates from the upper room where Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples on the eve of his crucifixion.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the living Christ is met and received in the sharing of the bread and the cup, representative of the body and blood of Jesus.  The presence of the living Lord is affirmed and he is proclaimed to be the dominant power in our lives. 
 
 
Baptism
 
Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38 NRSV)
 
From the Preamble to The Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), rev. 2005
 
"Through baptism into Christ, we enter into newness of life and are made one with the whole people of God."
 
Just as the baptism represents the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it symbolizes the death and burial of the old self of the repentant believer and the joyous birth of a brand new being in Christ. Those who founded the Disciples movement taught baptism by immersion as the accepted form.
  
From the "Word to the Church on Baptism," Commission on Theology, 1987
Baptism is a public act by which the church proclaims God's grace as revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ through the use of a visible sign of God's gracious initiative and the human individual's response in faith. With other Christians, we affirm that baptism is at once a divine gift and a human response.
 
Baptism, as a gift of grace, received by faith, expresses its meaning in a variety of images: new birth; a washing with water; a cleansing from sin; a sign of God's forgiving grace; the power of new life now and the pledge of life in the age to come. The meaning of baptism is grounded in God's redemptive action in Christ, it incorporates the believer in the community in the body of Christ, and it anticipates life in the coming age when the powers of the old world will be overcome and the purposes of God will triumph. 
 
 
The Chalice
The CHALICE symbolizes the central place of communion in worship for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  The X-shaped cross of the disciple Andrew is a reminder of the ministry of each person and the importance of evangelism.