Our identity statement
We are Disciples of Christ,
a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.
As part of the one body of Christ we welcome all to the Lord’s Table
as God has welcomed us.
Understanding our identity is a vital concern for all of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Many long-time Disciples want us to name and claim our foundational values and commitments as a church. New Disciples want to know about our distinctive gifts as a community of faith. All of us need to have clarity about who we are in order to be faithful and effective witnesses to Jesus Christ, especially in a world that is increasingly pluralistic, globally-connected, and yet so often violently divided. The Christian Unity and Interfaith Ministry (CUIM) and Communication Ministries (CM) have teamed up to launch an “identity initiative” to help Disciples understand and claim who we are as a distinctive community within the whole church of Jesus Christ in our world today.
In this partnership, the CUIM has produced a series of brief videos, with an accompanying discussion/study guide for regions, congregations, church leadership, and small groups, that focus upon the four key concepts found in the Disciples “Identity Statement” adopted by the General Board in 2009:
“We are Disciples of Christ, a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. As part of the one body of Christ, we welcome all to the Lord’s Table as God has welcomed us.”
Supporting congregations in their local efforts, Communication Ministries is offering a series of practical suggestions and materials for Disciples to share what is unique about the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Disciples Identity Study Series
Group Study Guide
Suggested Possibilities for Curriculum
The possibilities for this curriculum are as endless as your imagination. It is our hope that you use these materials in the most fitting way for your individual congregational needs. We offer these suggestions, as well as a possible meeting outline to use as a jumping-off point for this curriculum’s ministry in the life of the church.
Elders, deacons, Adult Sunday School Classes, Small Groups, CYF & Chi Rho*
*If using these materials with CYF or Chi Rho groups, we suggest you shorten the time for the study, limiting discussion time to 30 minutes, and possibly reframing the questions for a more youthful approach.
45-60 minutes, in 4 different sessions
These materials can be facilitated by a minister, a leader, or shared leadership within the group of participants. If you share facilitating leadership, it is important to establish who the facilitator is at the beginning of each session.
Suggested Adult Outline:
- Gathering: Include introductions, with possible response to an “ice breaker” question (an “ice breaker” is suggested below for each session) Allow 10 minutes for Gathering time.
- Opening Prayer: This can be led the facilitator or a volunteer. Allow 5 minutes for Opening Prayer.
- Watch Video (3-4 minutes)
- Discussion Questions: Allow 40 minutes for Discussion Questions [In each of the four suggested “discussion guides,” re-watching the video (or just one or two sections of the video) might be fruitful, either in the midst of the discussion or as a concluding summation of the group’s conversation.]
- Closing Prayer: Allow 5 minutes for Closing Prayer
Suggested Youth Outline:
- Opening question & prayer (include introductions if needed): What’s your hope or prayer for tonight as we discuss [insert theme] tonight? After each person shares, collectively say “Amen.” Allow 10 minutes
- Possible Opening Game: Group building, teamwork, or community-focused games help illustrate the four themes. Allow 15 minutes
- Watch Video (3-4 minutes)
- Discussion Questions Allow 30 minutes [In each of the four suggested “discussion guides,” re-watching the video (or just one or two sections of the video) might be fruitful, either in the midst of the discussion or as a concluding summation of the group’s conversation.]
- Closing question & prayer: “Where did you hear or see God tonight as we discussed [insert theme]? After each person shares, collectively say “Amen.” Allow 5 minutes
Download a Copy of the Group Study Guide
Individual Study Guide
About the Course
This study guide and its accompanying videos were developed to help members of our faith communities have a common language to describe our movement. The Council on Christian Unity used the Disciples’ identity statement, and its central concepts – movement, wholeness, table and welcome – as a way of focusing the discussion for these studies.
This guide can be used in part or in whole for individual study or as “homework” for a self-styled group study.
Our hope is that you will obtain a better understanding of how the resulting actions and behaviors strengthen your relationship with Christ.
Download a Copy of the Individual Study Guide
Resources for 4 Sessions
Please follow the links below to watch video clips and see other materials to organize each session. Also, there are worship resources and sample sermons accompanying each concept.