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Discover the Disciples

Updated: Jun 14

The History of the Disciples of Christ


THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Disciples of Christ) was founded in the early 1800's in the United States. Seeking to move beyond denominational disagreements, the founders envisioned a united church of Jesus Christ modeled on the New Testament.


Our 3,800 congregations share these characteristics:

  • Each congregation is self-governing and calls its own pastor.

  • Worship services may be formal or informal, and include lay women and men in leadership.

  • Open discussion of issues is encouraged. Diversity of opinion is common - in fact, welcomed!

  • We are growing in racial and ethnic diversity.

DISCOVER deep christian spirituality.

  • CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY is a way of life that relates who we are to who God is as revealed in Jesus Christ and as experienced through the Holy Spirit. Disciples encourage one another in the spiritual disciplines and practices through which we open ourselves to being shaped by God. Those disciplines include: prayer, Bible study, worship, stewardship, service and hospitality to strangers.

DISCOVER true community.

  • Although each Disciples congregation has its own personality, all have members who care for each other, opportunities to grow and learn and ways to serve others. In Disciples congregations, study and fellowship groups offer opportunities to ask honest questions, share opinions and discover ways to deal with life's difficult issues, while growing in faith.

DISCOVER a passion for justice

  • Disciples Ministries don't stop at the front door. Members work to make a difference in our neighborhoods and community. Disciples churches have shared ministries across the country: disciples assist in repairing homes, have facilities for abused children and their families and for disabled individuals and senior adults. Disciples also have shared overseas ministries stretching throughout the world. Individual and partner churches help dig wells, train pastors, immunize children, help persons in times of natural disaster, economic upheaval and war.

Beliefs and Practices Associated with Disciples of Christ.


  • Open Communion. The Lord's Supper, or Communion is celebrated every Sunday in worship. The table is open. That means that all are invited to respond to Christ's invitation to draw closer to Him around the communion table. For Disciples, the open table is a powerful symbol of our deep commitment to unity. The open table honors diversity even as it celebrates unity in Christ. All are welcome!

  • Freedom of Belief. Disciples are called together around one essential of faith: belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Persons are free to follow their consciences guided the Bible, the Holy Spirit, study and prayer and we are expected to extend that freedom to others. We do not expect all to find the same meaning and direction from their faith.

  • Baptism by immersion. In baptism the old self-centered life is set aside, and a new life of trust in God begins. Although Disciples practice baptism by immersion, other baptism traditions are honored.

  • Belief in the oneness of the church. All Christians are called to be one with God and to seek opportunities for common witness and service.

  • The ministry of believers. Both ministers and lay persons lead in worship, service and spiritual growth. Men, women and children are welcome and encouraged to participate by serving in our worship services.



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