“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love as each part does its work.” – Ephesians 4:16
As we consider the continued development and effort to take the gospel to the “ends of the earth” we marvel at what God has done and what we believe God will continue to do through us as his people. We are incredibly humbled at the purposefulness with which our lives are filled through the mission of spreading the gospel message of Jesus to all the world.
Many scriptures show us that unresolved conflict is displeasing and unacceptable to God (Matthew 5:23-26, Hebrews 12:14-15). Unresolved conflicts are grave and sinful, and call for urgency and conclusiveness in resolving them amongst us as disciples. When we don’t resolve conflicts, they can grow, fester and linger with significant costs to our spirituality, emotions, unity and finances. These disagreements, and sometimes disruptions, can go as far as splitting churches and the brotherhood.
Maintaining Unity of the Spirit through the Bond of Peace
Never before as a fellowship have so many engaged in a collaboration process as with the ICOC 3.0 Forward by Faith discussions. Facebook, emails, FaceTime, Skype calls, articles, phone calls, have all been ignited as we dream, discuss and debate our path forward as an international family of churches. Around the world disciples continue to pray and fast seeking the Spirit’s guidance. Disciples Today has never seen so much traffic to understand our current leadership and check in for the updates and results of this global exploration. We have seen the results of conversations by more than 2,500 leaders from all six continents. Young and old, rich and poor, men and women, staff and volunteers alike are continuing to be heard in this conversation about our collective future. Many have said “I have been praying for this day to come”; while others have suggested that we “slow down, these are really big things to consider and we should be more thorough.” We are a family of 108,000 members in 684 congregations in 144 countries. A big family gets a little complicated and we are grateful for the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus that bind us together in love and respect.
Our global leadership has spoken and we are listening.
These are exciting times to be part of our fellowship. We have embarked on a comprehensive self-evaluation like none we have ever experienced before entitled “Forward by Faith” ICOC 3.0. From coast to coast and continent to continent leaders of all ages have engaged in significant discussions about where we are as a movement and more importantly, where we want to go. More than 2,400 elders, evangelists, women’s ministry leaders, interns, lay leaders and board members have met from every family of churches around the world. We are hearing from disciples from China to Chile, from India to Indiana and from Lagos to LA.
We are excited to see what God will bring through our 10th ICOC Delegates Meeting. Our focus this year is prayerful consideration of where God will take us for the next 10 years to honor him and to accomplish his purpose.
There is a powerful wind of inspiration that is blowing through our fellowship at the moment. This is truly an unprecedented time in our storied history. Leaders the world over are discussing, dreaming and praying about our future together as a fellowship. From Africa to Australia to Anchorage to the Andean mountains, families of churches are weighing in about their vision for where God is calling us. In our brotherhood we have 33 families of churches spanning every continent. The leadership of all 33 have plans to meet in the next few weeks, explicitly to consider these crucial concepts.
2017 brought several new sisters into the women’s service team as others transitioned out. This team consists of the Elders Service Team wives and the wives of those on the Evangelist Service Team. The women on the Teachers Service Team have also been a part of the group. Together, we try to keep issues pertinent to the sisters around the world in focus as we seek to fulfill our team’s purpose.
We are seeking a member of the International Churches of Christ to serve in this crucial role as the Conference Director of the 2020 ICOC World Discipleship Summit in Orlando. With these events growing from the 17,000 who attended the 2012 WDS in San Antonio and the 18,000 attending the 2016 Reach event in St. Louis, it has become obvious we need someone to lead this great 2020 effort so that we don’t put the entire burden on the local church. Please see the job description below and notify us if you are interested.
2016 was another great year for our campus ministries. While we are still largely focused on our U.S. initiatives, more dialogue and planning has been prepared so that more international activity can be pioneered, reported and built. With the vast numbers of college disciples concentrated in the U.S. it is easiest to both document that activity and create more of it. However, our initial survey results are showing campus ministries all over the world gaining greater investment in resources, growing more in numbers and becoming central to the efforts to raise up next generation leaders.