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Connecting Everywhere... Every Day

ChristiaNet
August, 2017 Issue 163

Where in the World is the Stone-Campbell Movement?



How many Churches of Christ, Christian Churches, and Disciple Churches are there worldwide? How many members of those churches? In what countries are they most numerous?

These are some of the questions we are frequently asked at World Convention. Asking recently was someone who counted (literally). Gina Zurlo, the Acting Director of the 
of the World Christian Database, contacted us back in April asking for updated numbers for our congregations around the world. 
Here is what I sent her for the World Christian Database (these numbers are now on the front page of our website):
 
Please click on this link (or copy into your browser) and look at the numbers. We need your help to make these numbers more accurate. If you have information on the number of our churches in any country, please send it to me at gary@worldconvention.org

Where did I get these numbers? From online databases and websites from various countries, from papers and magazines our churches publish, and from correspondence with those who have attempted to count our people in their country. Since our movement is largely congregational, counting us has always been problematic.

When you look at the numbers on our website, please keep several things in mind:
1. These numbers include all churches from the Stone-Campbell heritage with various names-Church of Christ, Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, International Church of Christ and others.
2. As is usual in comparing numbers across Christian groups, we number adherents (including unbaptized children) not members.
3. We only know what we have been told, so please email me if you have corrections to these numbers.
 
So, the best answers we have now: 104,623 churches and 10,358,953 adherents in 199 counties and territories. If you look at the list on our website, the big jump in numbers from the year 2000 to 2017 is partly because of growth, but largely because we have more accurate numbers from more countries.

God is at work among us in God's big world!

-Gary Holloway
A Global Fellowship                                           

A Global Fellowship: A Concise History of the World Convention. This 145-page book with forty photographs tells the amazing story of World Convention from its beginning in 1930 until today.
 


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Stone-Campbell Family Stories:
 Making 'one' the common denominator

In this issue, we are reminded that the Stone-Campbell family is spread around the globe in 199 countries and territories. The experiences at World Convention Global Gatherings are proof that God makes it possible for individuals to come together to share and celebrate God's all-inclusive love.  "How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1) 

World Convention and Global Women Connecting relate to others through Global Missions and Ministries.  When global regions are faced with  emergency or disaster, many discover ways to help through the Great Compassion links. Other Resources on our websites have been helpful to you for news, publications, sister unity organizations or women's issues and programs. 

What are other ways you find 'one' common denominator inspired and encouraged? What are your challenges in promoting oneness in fractured times like these? What are the tools you're finding useful at home and work to live into John 17? How do you, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace," described in Ephesians 4:3?

What are you doing, what are you discovering?   Click here to join the conversation.

Editor's note: Global events in recent days serve to convict us of the importance of communities built in love and lived by faith. May we practice oneness in Christ so others may come to b elieve.
The Local Comm
Unity 
 - from Make a UTurn by Lyndsay Jacobs

Mkae a U turn
Read Matthew 18:18-20

Christ
ian unity may seem distant and abstract. In fact the local church is the ideal   place to emphasise its centrality and importance. The local church can think globally and act locally. Here are ten reasons why an effective local church will focus on unity:

1. An effective local church will focus on unity because the unity of the whole church must be built on grass roots unity if it is to be real. To use another metaphor, a sound building cannot be built with weak bricks. We must always be intentional about building community in our congregations. The grace and presence of God must be evident. Patience, tolerance and understanding must constantly overcome arrogance and being self-centered.

2. An effective local church will focus on unity because enthusiasm for unity needs to come from everybody. Leaders cannot create unity if local folks don't see the point.

3. An effective local church will focus on unity because  unity is at the heart of the gospel . The gospel is about good relationships with God and others.
You shall love the Lord your God...and you shall love your neighbour a s yourself. 
We cannot preach reconciliation and practise division. We must practise what we preach. A good place to start is with those Christians we see most often. 
4. An effective local church will focus on unity because  Christian unity is the will of God, the prayer of Christ and the primary sign of God's presence . What God sees as important, we make important too.
5. An effective local church will focus on unity because  the world desperately needs a model of community and the church is intentionally that model. A picture is worth a thousand words. A local church in action is a picture. St. Francis challenged us to preach the gospel - but using words only if necessary, he said. In comm unity we must model the truth of the gospel.
6. An effective local church will focus on unity because  unity is a key New Testament theme . We are well aware of Jesus' prayer for unity (John 17), the body of Christ image (1 Corinthians chapter 12) and the  one Lord, One faith, one baptism emphasis of Ephesians 4. But we need to remember that unity is a constant New Testament and early church theme. To be biblical Christians we must take the Bible very seriously.
7. An effective local church will focus on unity because at parish/congregational level
we can learn about ( and practise) unity in diversity. There is a great range of opinion, attitude and expectation within virtually all congregations. Here we can practise tolerance. We need to hold our diversity - even in tension - as we resolve the way forward - together. Here we can practise being the body of Christ where every part matters.
8. An effective local church will focus on unity because here  we can learn that fellowship doesn't depend on agreement . With any 'issue' congregations need to develop the approach of identifying what is agreed on, and what needs continuing discussion, understanding that we are a people who remain bound together. This is where the hard stuff needs to be dealt with if we are to be credible witnesses for Christ. Here we can learn the skills, develop policies and set up procedures to prevent and deal with disagreement and diversity. Above all we must recall that being related is more important than being right.
9. An effective local church will focus on unity because  the church is there for others . Barriers between church and community cannot be overcome if the congregation does not model comm unity . Comm unity is the base for effective service and mission.
10. Finally, an effective local church will focus on unity because  we are people of the table . Here we can understand that we all belong around one table. The Lord's table. The invitation to attend is Christ's. He is our host and he is inclusive. We are family here. As they say, you can choose your friends, but not your relations.

GWC Service Project 



Aatma Vikas trains women in sewing, stitching and jewelry making to prepare them for employment and free the future for themselves and their families. Global Women Connecting supports Aatma Vikas until Global Gathering-20 in Swaziland. 

The Skipping Stone partners with Aatma Vikas by providing lifestyle products. Profits go directly toward employing women still working in bondage. 

Consider "making a ripple" by a gift to Aatma Vikas or a purchase from The Skipping Stone.
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