The modern day Christian church (Disciples of Christ) are governed by their congregations. They have a convention called the General Assembly once a year. At the 2001 General Assembly, the Disciples of Christ set goals to encourage growth for the church’s future and to guide its members. The deadline for these goals to be reached is 2020. These goals are called the Four Priorities.
The Four Priorities are as follows:
- Becoming a Pro-reconciliation /Anti-racist Church.
- Forming 1000 new Disciples of Christ Churches by 2020.
- Transformation of current congregations by 2020.
- Realizing these goals by providing leadership development for people in both the renewed and new congregations.
Pro-reconciliation/Anti-racism goals include fighting racism and its causes. The church has been striving for these goals actively since the 2001 General Assembly. The Pro-reconciliation/Anti-racism goals were funded by a special reconciliation offering. This first Priority of the Disciple’s Church encourages its members to make the Disciples Church visible in the Christian Community. It also encourages local churches to learn from ethnic voices and gain insight from them. Justice and salvation are the real goals of this Pro-reconciliation/Anti-racism priority. A secondary ideal that the church hopes to glean from developing this first priority in the Disciples church is that members’ spirituality will be strengthened. As of 2008 e8ght regional ministers were called to serve the Disciples church as Pro-reconciliation/Anti-racism ministers.
The second priority for the Christian Church is to bring 1000 new congregations into being by 2020. Starting new churches has been a persistent goal since the churches earliest beginnings. The Pentecost Offering that is taken in local congregations helps to support this goal financially. This effort has been quite successful for the Christian Church so far, because by the year 2007 500 new Christian Church (Disciples of Christ ) churches had been started, reaching half of the goal.
Transformation of 1000 churches by 2020 is the third goal set for in the Four Priorities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Christian Church decided to transform these churches by nurturing the leadership of their churches. In 2006, a conference was held to nurture church leadership. A majority of the Disciples of Christ churches were in attendance at this conference, giving the church a strong basis to start their goal of church transformation.
The final goal of the Four Priorities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is to strengthen and develop leadership in its new and renewed congregations. This priority is the foundation for the other three priorities. Leadership traits that the Disciples of Christ want to see in its upcoming leaders are effectiveness, a strong faith, a concern for justice, a spirit of unity through Jesus Christ, a compassionate and caring attitude, development of missions both locally and around the world, and a dedication to stewardship.
There are continuing opportunities for leadership development in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) throughout the church on the local, regional and the General Assembly levels. Fourteen colleges and seven theological universities are based on Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) principles, adding to the possibilities for leadership development in the church.