The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), while founded on American soil in the early 1800s, is uniquely equipped to live up to its identity that it is a "movement for wholeness in a fragmented world." The denomination was born in the 1800s, and continues to be influenced by its founding ideals of our unity in Christ with openness and diversity in practice and belief.
The Disciples Vision, Mission, Imperative and Covenant statement calls the communion to be a faithful, growing church that demonstrates true community, deep Christian spirituality, and a passion for justice.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) traces its roots to the Cane Ridge Revival of 1801.
Barton W. Stone was a Presbyterian pastor in Cane Ridge, Kentucky, who yearned for the spiritual renewal others were experiencing as revival spread across the American Frontier. With these meetings hosted by the church he pastored, he observed the joyful cooperation of churches, pastors, and Christians of many different denominations. Out of this grew the Christian Church movement with a vision for the unity of all Christians.
A few years later, two other then Presbyterian pastors, father and son, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, also had a vision for the unity of the church. Thomas wrote “that the church is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one.” By 1830 this movement was known as the Disciples of Christ.
In 1832, these movements joined together, thus known today as the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). They were one of the few church groups that did not divide during the Civil War. After the war, a 40-year debate over the nature of the movement that came to be symbolized by the use of instrumental music in worship led to a separation from the Churches of Christ. In 1926 a group left because they did not want to participate in cooperative missionary organizations, and over the next 40 years came to be known as Independents.
Guided by the vision of the unity of all Christians, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) increased its ecumenical involvement. In 1968 they adopted the design that defined the mission and structure of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) we know today.
Ministers: 7,191 - approximately 3,399 clergy serving congregations
Disciples of Christ is perhaps the most diverse mainline denomination in the United States. Our membership includes approximately 40,000 African Americans and 440 predominantly African American congregations, about 7,500 Hispanics and 155 congregations, some 5,000 American Asians and 85 congregations, and smaller numbers of Native Americans.
There are Disciples congregations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and five Canadian provinces. The Greater Kansas City region has the highest concentration of Disciples. However, the Southwest region, which includes Texas and part of New Mexico, has the highest number of members and congregations. The next most populous regions are Indiana, Mid-America (which includes Missouri and part of Illinois), Ohio, and Kentucky.