Being a Church of Christ

I recently got a note from some former members who were asking my input in their search for a church home in their new city. I spend some time looking at a church website and reading the preacher's blog so that I could get a feel for the church and give a reasonably intelligent answer to their questions... at least as intelligent as I get. One of the preacher's blog entries got me thinking.

He said that when he is around peers from different Christian fellowships and is asked what is his church background, he usually tells them "I'm Church of Christ." OK, that is grammatically awkward, but we don't have an "ist" that fits (like Baptist or Methodist). And that is really the point, isn't it? He went on to suggest that he is always a little hesitant when he says "Church of Christ." I run into people who connect "Church of Christ" with a smug, arrogant and prideful "We're the only ones who are right" attitude. In fact, I ran into the manager of a store in the Beverly Center in Beverly Hills California (long story) who heard "Church of Christ" and responded, "That's the church that thinks its the only one going to heaven!" Unfortunately, that is the baggage that "Church of Christ" carries. Some congregations have stopped using "Church of Christ" in their name just because of that negative baggage.

But that isn't the point the brother made in his blog. The hesitancy he feels in using the name "Church of Christ" is the "of Christ" part. What enormous pressure it is to wear the name of Christ in your church name. What great responsibility to model the life of Christ, the teachings of Christ and the sacrifice of Christ in your church. Quoting from his blog--
The name Church of Christ should always cause us to ask: "Are we of Christ?" "Are we Christ-like people?" "How well do we live up to a name that describes a people belonging to him?" If we claim to be the Church of Christ, we must recognize that we'll have to conform our American way of life to His death and resurrection way of life, not the other way around...To be a church that is worthy of the name Church of Christ will require relinquishing power and becoming vulnerable in order to serve others who are different from us. May the Lord give us the grace we need to more fully become a Church of Christ.

I think that is pretty much on target.