It is a family of over churches spread across some nations. The ICoC has its roots in a movement that reaches back to the period of the Second Great Awakening — of early nineteenth-century America. There are a number of branches of the Restoration movement and the ICoC was formed from within the Churches of Christ. That year he started a new project known as Campus Advance based on principles borrowed from the Campus Crusade and the Shepherding Movement.

International Churches of Christ: A Personal Story of Church Control

Centered on the University of Florida , the program called for a strong evangelical outreach and an intimate religious atmosphere in the form of soul talks and prayer partners. Soul talks were held in student residences and involved prayer and sharing overseen by a leader who delegated authority over group members. Prayer partners referred to the practice of pairing a new Christian with an older guide for personal assistance and direction.

Both procedures led to "in-depth involvement of each member in one another's lives".


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The ministry grew as younger members appreciated many of the new emphases on commitment and models for communal activity. This activity became identified by many with the forces of radical change in the larger American society that characterized the late sixties and seventies. The campus ministry in Gainesville thrived and sustained strong support from the elders of the local congregation in the 'Crossroads Church of Christ'.

By , as many as a hundred people a year were joining the church.

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Most notable was the development of a training program for potential campus ministers. By the mid-seventies, a number of young men and women had been trained to replicate the philosophy and methods of the Crossroads Church in other places.

Among the early converts at Gainesville was a student named Kip McKean who had been personally mentored by Chuck Lucas. Thomas 'Kip' McKean, born in Indianapolis, Indiana, [17] completed a degree while training at Crossroads and afterward served as campus minister at several mainline Churches of Christ locations.

By his ministry grew from a few individuals to over three hundred making it the fastest growing Church of Christ campus ministry in America. Building on Lucas' initial strategies, McKean only agreed to lead the church in Lexington as long as every member agreed to be 'totally committed'. The church grew from 30 members to 3, in just over 10 years in what became known as the 'Boston Movement'.

While still a Church of Christ congregation, they differentiated themselves through high levels of commitment, accountability, mentorship and a numerical focus on conversions. Meanwhile, the epicenter of the new philosophy of ministry training and evangelism began to shift from Florida to Massachusetts. During this period, Boston Movement leaders had begun to 'reconstruct' existing congregations.

This began to cause a tension with the larger Church of Christ leadership that would eventually lead to a complete split. Parallel to this, the Boston Church of Christ began to plant new congregations at unprecedented speed for the Church of Christ at the time.

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International Churches of Christ

The Boston congregation sent church plantings to Chicago and London in , New York shortly thereafter, and Johannesburg in June In a Church of Christ minister and professor, Dr. Yeakley passed out three different MBTI tests, which asked members to perceive their past, current, and five-year in the future personality types. A majority of those respondents changed their perceived or imagined personality type scores on the three different tests in convergence with a single type.

The data, however, does prove that there is a group dynamic operating in that congregation that influences its members to change their personalities to conform to the group norm". By the end of the churches in the Boston Movement were for all practical purposes a distinct fellowship, initiating a fifteen-year period during which there would be little contact between the CoC and the Boston Movement.

By , McKean was regarded as the leader of the movement. That year, McKean and his family moved to Los Angeles to lead the new church planted some months earlier. Within a few years Los Angeles, not Boston, was the fulcrum of the movement. In the Crossroads Church of Christ broke with the movement and, through a letter written to The Christian Chronicle , attempted to restore relations with the mainline Churches of Christ. This governing system attracted criticism as overly-authoritarian, [27] although the ICOC denied this charge.

Once the fastest-growing Christian movement in the United States, membership growth slowed during the later half of the s. Beginning in the late s, problems arose as McKean's moral authority as the leader of the movement came into question. Added to this was the loss of local leaders to new planting projects.

In some areas, decreases in membership began to occur. In , McKean's leadership sins were affecting his family, with all of his children disassociating themselves from the church, and he was asked by a group of long-standing elders in the ICoC to take a sabbatical from overall leadership of the ICoC.

On November 12, , McKean, who had led the International Churches of Christ, issued a statement that he was going to take a sabbatical from his role of leadership in the church:. Nearly a year later, in November he resigned from the office and personally apologized citing arrogance, anger and an over-focus on numerical goals as the source of his decision. Some changes were initiated from the leaders themselves and others brought through members.

The Elders, Evangelists and Teachers wrote a letter to McKean expressing concern that there had been "no repentance" from his publicly acknowledged leadership sins. In the Evangelists Service Team formulated a " vision plan", that all the thirty or so regional families of churches have a plan to evangelize their geographic area of the world. The plan encompasses the need to strengthen existing small churches and plant new churches. They plan to build and strengthen those churches through a "best-practices" approach to ministry: The International churches of Christ are a family of churches in nations around the world.

The churches form 30 regional families of churches that oversee mission work in their respective geographic areas of influence. Each regional family of churches sends Evangelists, Elders and Teachers to an annual leadership conference, where delegates meet to pray, plan and co-operate world evangelism. No longer can one man make sweeping decisions that affect all the churches, considering that many of those churches he may never have visited. Building unity and consensus through prayer and discussion takes time but is worth it. The spiritual fruit of the Delegates Conference in Budapest is testimony to the success of this much less authoritarian approach to that which we had in the past.

One implication of this doctrine is that, while Christians may separate themselves into different, disunified churches as opposed to just geographically separated congregations , it is not actually biblically right to do so, and so such separations are not likely to take place between groups of Christians who are obedient to the Bible. While no one claims to know who exactly is part of "the universal church" and who is not, the ICOC believes that anyone who follows the plan of salvation as laid out in the scriptures is added by God to his "One Universal Church".

There was a church meeting on the 27th of February There is a copy of nearly all that was said at that meeting on the TOLC web site , http: It is clear that Ed Powers did not want to leave the movement, but just wanted to act on his biblical convictions on how the Indianapolis ICoC should function and what it should be taught. Their was a vote about those four convictions and it was decided by a count of yes , 6 abstentions and 1 no, that the church was in favor of those convictions and the staff of the church.

After that, a lot of things happened and the actions of Kip McKean and the ICoC leadership was a complete shock to me. And when I read what he said about the incident in his 2nd article, I was very disappointed. I thought he was completely unreasonable and irresponsible to write what he wrote about the Indianapolis situation. Here is the quote from the 2nd article:. I could not believe what I was reading. How could he say those things about disciples who just wanted to live more according to their own biblical convictions? How could he say that Ed Powers was like Korah and that he caused many to loose their faith and turn away from God?

He did not encourage anybody to leave God, but just to live according to their biblical convictions. What follows are different quotes from the same speech. These are long quotes, but it is worth to read it all to see what Kip thinks about the episode in Indianapolis and why he thinks that way, i.

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These are different portions of the transcript of the speech. The words between the are the words from the audience. The emphasis in boldface is all mine. Here are portions of the speech:. But who appointed Kip? And acting that way is being insolent to challenge authority. He applies this attitude directly to Ed Powers and the Indianapolis church. But if somebody would find the truth in another little church, that person would certainly join them. It is that clear. Because who would not want to join a church with only true disciples in it. He says he is not ordering the borders of Israel i.

But in fact, this is exactly what he is doing.