By Michael C. Mack
Like Rick Chromey, I love the Restoration Movement . . . but for very different reasons. Rick grew up in an independent Christian church. I had never heard of these churches until I was 27.
In his article, “Why I Love the Restoration Movement,” Rick says he is thankful for his upbringing in the church; I’m thankful for a church, and a movement of churches, that exist to carry out the mission of Jesus to go and make disciples. I am an example of someone whose life was forever changed because a church in our movement decided to call people in their community to invite them to Easter Sunday services. Though the call that reached me was a wrong number, God used it to change my life and my eternity. (See the full story of this “wrong number,” on our website at www.christianstandard.com/the-wrong-number.)
That independent church in Centerville, Ohio, was planted one year earlier to reach people like me, and I’m glad they did!
That church is just one example of churches in our movement that work hard at keeping first things first. That’s just one of many reasons I love our movement. I love that we focus on Christ and his mission unencumbered by all kinds of denominational distractions. I love that we are Christians—disciples of Jesus, churches of Christ—and that’s enough; no need to add any other labels. I also love that we’re not so pretentious to think we’re the only Christians. I love that we seek for Christians and churches to be one, an answer to Jesus’ prayer. I love that we believe the Scriptures are God’s Word and we let them speak for themselves.
So, thank you, church, for getting out of your comfort zones and seeking people like me. Thank you for focusing on the mission of Jesus to go and make disciples. Thank you for calling people to Jesus and then equipping them and sending them to go and make a difference.
I’ve gotten to know the movement far better over the past 30 years—especially during the year I’ve served as editor of Christian Standard—and I continue to appreciate it more and more. Sure, we have our flaws, but I see in this movement something worth being a part of, worth investing into, worth strengthening in every way we can.
The articles in this July issue, particularly, indicate some of the good things happening within the Restoration Movement today. Our movement itself is in need of restoration, and only God can provide it—on his terms, not ours. We see examples of that among independents and a cappellas in Victor Knowles’s “Paddling Together in the Same Direction” and in the story I tell about Disciples pastors in “Back at the NACC.”
We see an example of faithfulness and compassion in our movement in Jerry Harris’s story about Cam and Sarah Huxford. And we see renewed hope for our movement’s future in Jon Ferguson’s “Restoring God’s Dream for Our World.” You’ll also want to read David Dummitt’s column about church planting in the Restoration Movement and Jeff Faull’s e2 column in which he provides some of the best practices for Restoration Movement elders and leaders.
We’re all about restoration, and one of the best cases of that in our movement today is the long overdue reconciliation among people of all nations, races, and peoples. Relentless Church in Cary, North Carolina, is an example of a church planted to be intentionally multiethnic. I hope their story by Justin Horey provides an example other churches can follow.
By the way, this month we start a new column called MinistryLife, a personal narrative essay about some aspect of the writer’s life in ministry. Tyler McKenzie throws out the first pitch for this new column. We’re inviting you to send your 500- to 700-word essay telling of an experience through which you gained wisdom or learned some vital ministry principle. See more about writing for this column at www.christianstandard.com/contact-us/submit-articles.