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Leaders Need One Another

July 13, 2009

I am registered to attend the 2009 International Leadership Conference in Denver on September 3-6. This will be my third time attending (having also attended in Chicago in 2004 and Los Angeles in 2007). These conferences bring together ministers, elders, and others from ICOC congregations for fellowship and inspiration. As one who is committed to pursuing unity with other Christians, I am glad to be able to attend this year and am hopeful that the time will lead toward greater unity among these churches.

A few days ago I received an emailed article promoting the event, titled “Leaders Need One Another.” The article reminded us of our responsibility to counsel one another (Rom 15:14) . It spoke of how much we need each other, as different parts of the same body (1 Cor 12:21-26). The writer then said,

Boy, do we need one another. We need one another for the encouragement to persevere in an increasingly lost world. We need each other for direction and perspective when the work of ministering gets heavy and disorienting. We need each other for counsel and advice. And perhaps most important, we need each other as reminders of God’s miraculous devotion to the salvation of souls, including our own! We need to be together.

I heartily “amen” all of that. We need more communication, not less. We need to show the world that believers in Christ can be united, so the world will believe (John 17:20-23). We need the love and support of other believers. To the extent that we isolate ourselves from other parts of the body of Christ, we deprive ourselves of the benefits God intended for us to share.

But I wish that the organizers of this event didn’t stop there. This event is focused only on the congregations tracing their roots back to the International Churches of Christ. What about our brothers and sisters in the traditional churches of Christ? What about the independent Christian churches? What about others who have made Jesus Lord and have been baptized into Christ (Gal 3:26-29)? Are we not therefore one in Christ? Do we not need them, and do they not need us? We desperately need those brothers and sisters. And now more than ever, I think we might have something to offer to them also.

In the Chicago ILC of 2004, we had a guest speaker from Abilene Christian University who was the highlight of the conference in my opinion. There have been other interactions between the ICOC and ACU, but I don’t hear much about that any more. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in those things. With the approaching 200th anniversary of the Declaration and Address, the ICOC should re-examine its roots, and reconcile with the rest of the family.

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2 comments

  1. Alan,I think you are on to something with this post. When talk of 'unity' is restricted to a single group it creates disunity on a larger scale. So, in the very process of promoting so-called unity, people ironically wind up promoting the very thing they are trying to oppose. And they wonder why people outside the faith think Jesus and church are so ridiculous and unnecessary??? How do we get ourselves into such absurd positions? It appears to be as silly as some of the things Jesus had to say to the Pharisees… it just touched a sensitive nerve.


  2. Hope to see you there (still have yet to firm this up). I was just looking at the agenda, hoping to find at least one talk on this topic, but to no avail. I attend many conferences for my job and it's been my experience that more comes out of the 'break' times than the actual sessions. Hopefully that will be the case here so that this topic will get discussion.



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