[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote (WileyClarkson @ Feb. 06 2003,08:06)[/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]IMO--the CoC's that are growing are the ones that are grace centered churches--having moved away from the extreme legalism and sectarianism that has existed over the last 50 years in the CoC. One thing I have noticed is a change in the way these churches are starting to view their relationship to the CoC (SOF) with some changing their names to reflect that view--some changing to Family of God, Followers of Christ, etc and using (in small print) \"a church of Christ\".[/quote]
I think that is very true. We have several congregations that would be deemed to be conservative by most here in that they remain firmly acapella, don't clap, don't raise hands, don't use testimonies, shy away from cooperative spending efforts, and may or may not have the \"extra\" buildings.
But they are also congregations that are accepting and do a decent job of outreach and are more grace-centered than most of us grew up with and they are growing. They have also been a blessing to our church plant. They keep us apprised of special events coming and we promote them to our members, one has allowed us to use their building for baptisms (we can't afford to build a permanent baptistry right now), they have just been very inclusive of our efforts and they happen to be the three congregations that have lost the most members to us. One minister has told me that he prays for our plant because with our contemporary service we can meet some needs and desires that they cannot.
These are established congregations that grow, its slow growth but it is not a growth fueled solely because the members have been fruitful and multiplied.
[!--QuoteBegin--][/span][table border=\"0\" align=\"center\" width=\"95%\" cellpadding=\"3\" cellspacing=\"1\"][tr][td]Quote [/td][/tr][tr][td id=\"QUOTE\"][!--QuoteEBegin--]I think this is a signal of a pending major split in the CoC (SOF) some time in the next 10 to 20 years based in hermenuetics of several issues, principly grace vrs legalism. I think that will start being seen in the next census and that will reflect in even lower numbers in CoC (SOF) membership.[/quote]
I don't think a split is imminent. The ingredients are certainly present but I think it is avoidable. Now we may not be reflected in a future census because of the signs we put out front but for the most part the g-c churches that may not have of CofC sign out front aren't turning away from the heritage. They are still sending folks to Tulsa, Streams, Woodmont, Pepperdine and such to interact with those still displaying the CofC sign out front. They are reading New Wineskins and the latest offerings from Rubel Shelly, Mike Cope, and Max Lucado.
Despite the difference in signs and congregational names I don't see a major push to leave behind the heritage for a fresh start.