Summary of Disciples’ Identity

The following aspects of the church identify the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ):

Weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper. Disciples’ life is centered at the table. Through Holy Communion we are connected to one another and to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Believer’s baptism through immersion. Following the earliest tradition of the church, we demonstrate our commitment to God by dramatic action, letting waters of our baptism give witness to God’s grace upon us. We normally baptize by immersion, but will practice other means as circumstances indicate.

Open membership. Recognizing that the traditions of the whole church are many and varied, we do not insist that our baptismal practice is the only one that is valid. We know that baptism is god’s action far more than own. Therefore, we recognize the Christian baptisms of all people regardless of mode or age of baptism.

Attitude of tolerance and rejection of creeds as tests of faith. We celebrate diversity as a strength rather than weakness, and do not expect everyone’s interpretation of the Bible or the Christian life to be identical.

Importance of scripture. We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and is best heard and understood within the community of faith with the diverse insight that context provides.

Congregational yet voluntarily connectional. We give the local congregation authority over their life and ministries, and yet share resources freely with a connected church, our denomination of voluntarily covenanting churches, knowing that the  mission of the church is not simply local.

Celebration of the leadership of women. We believe that God provides spiritual gifts to all, and we do not restrict any office or role in the life of the church by gender.

Emphasis on lay leadership. Aside from performing weddings, which is regulated by the state, lay persons in our church are permitted and encouraged to do all things, including presiding and offering the Eucharistic prayers at the Lord’s Table, often restricted to ordained clergy in other denominations.

Educated clergy. We set educational and professional standards for ministers–licensed and ordained, and hold our clergy to ethical accountability through denominational oversight.

Priority on ecumenical life. Disciples earnestly pray and strive for the unity of the church and attempt to work in ways that bridge the separation of Christ’s body.

Anti-racist and pro-reconciling and inclusive. We are intentional about welcoming all people.

As you can see, Disciples offer a refreshing combination of characteristics, difficult to find together anywhere else. We invite you to join us in serving Christ.