Our Mission Statement
The mission of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lansing, Michigan is to recognize and affirm all people as children of God. In serving Jesus Christ as our Savior, we will proclaim, teach, and witness to the loving Grace of God. For the good news of reconciliation is available to all people: redemption and rebirth, both personal and social. We welcome all people to the Communion Table. Our church is open to all and affirms all. We invite all to join us to experience the love of Jesus Christ.
We are an open and affirming church. We are a member of the GLAD Alliance. [See our denominational website for more details: disciples.org]. We are a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world.
How would you describe your congregation?
What can we say about ourselves but that we are a collection of individuals? At First Christian Church Lansing (FCC), we read the Bible together, but no single Disciple feels comfortable speaking for all the rest. It’s amazing how many different ideas we have between all of us, and yet we recognize each other as fellow Christians.
So let’s put it this way: FCC is a crossroads, a place where people meet form all walks of life, different backgrounds, different ways of life, with different challenges and hopes, and yet we try to get along, even if we disagree, even if that’s awkward sometime. We’re all Christians for some reason or another, and now we’ve come to see if we can mix and worship and get along with other Christians, and do positive work together.
I’m a visitor. What will I find at your church?
You’ll find surprises of all kinds, people who will welcome you, take an interest in you, agree with you, or not, but respect you either way.
Why do you invite visitors to join you for Communion Every Week? We believe that’s what Jesus wanted. In God’s kingdom, everyone is welcome, so we accept all people. We erect no barriers at the Lord’s table. Social division has no place in the church. Judgment belongs to God alone.
People from many faith traditions have become members here. The gifts of God for ministry belong to all people, so people from other Christian traditions are welcomed here, and their beliefs are respected. We benefit from their insights.
Each week, we share our lives openly, we pray for each other in our challenges, and we study Scripture together. God is never finished with us, and we are never finished searching together.
Why are you so relaxed around each other?
If we weren’t, how would we learn what is really going on with each other? We’re like family. We keep up with the changes in each other’s lives. We support each other through our challenges.
We like to worship together, and eat together, and laugh when we can, and cry when we need to, and be honest with each other about what we’re really going through lately.
It’s a welcome place for young parents and their children, couples, singles, international students, young and old.
It’s OK to be different here. We are all God’s children. All of us. And God wants us to get along, even if we reflect in our own ways.
Our differences make us interesting. It means all of us have something to add to the common discussion.
What do Disciples believe?
The best way to explain it is to discuss some frequently heard remarks:
“We Have No Creed But Christ” Because Jesus loves all of us, we try to do that, too.
FCC is a place where we realize that the world is big, human experience is vast, and that we need to get along and understand why we are different, and we need to learn to use our differences for good.
We believe that God wants us to meet, to spend time together, to get to know each other, to come to understand each other, and to look out for each other.
“You’re a child of God, and we’ll treat you that way.”
“It’s a small world in the Disciples”
That is, members of Disciples churches, worldwide, keep in touch with each other, and share their friends, maintaining a supportive network, so that wherever they go, they’ve got a church family to rely upon.
“If you hear the Word of God calling to you, in the words of Jesus, and in the words of Scripture, while you are reading the Bible, then that matters more than any dreams or visions. You belong to God”
For us, we become Christians not through trances and visions, but through Bible study and through hands-on caring.
“Let’s get beyond all the human inventions and additions and get back to the unity of belief found in the early church.”
That’s been the Disciples quest for the last 200 years. It has led us to welcome members of many other denominations and faiths. It has led us to serious Bible study from all sorts of perspectives. It has led us to offer communion each week to anyone who wants to be part of the family of God, regardless of your religious background.
“In essentials, Unity. In opinions, Liberty. In all things, Love.”
Here are some beliefs and practices of Disciples churches, nationwide:
Open Communion: The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is celebrated in weekly worship. It is open to all who believe in Jesus Christ.
Freedom of belief: Disciples are called together around one essential of faith: belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Persons are free to follow their consciences guided by the Bible, the Holy Spirit, study and prayer, and they are expected to extend that freedom to others.
Baptism by immersion: In baptism the old self-centered life is set aside, and a new life of trust in God begins. Although Disciples practice baptism by immersion, other baptism traditions are honored. (We hold dedication services for infants, but since infants cannot make a decision of their own, this is not a baptism.)
Belief in the oneness of the church: All Christians are called to be one in Christ and to seek opportunities for common witness and service.
The ministry of believers: Both ministers and lay persons lead in worship, service, and spiritual growth.
Do you have to dress up for worship services?
We have no dress code. Some people dress up for church, and others dress as they do during the week. All are accepted, because we all come for the worship and for the fellowship.
How large is your congregation?
Some 200-300 individuals attend worship with us or participate in our programs every year. Average Sunday morning attendance is 90-120. Each member and visitor is one of a kind, and becomes an asset to our great diversity. Many backgrounds and spiritual experiences are represented here and are cherished.
Do you need a church background to join? We welcome persons from all backgrounds and faith traditions. Visitors interested in a deeper relationship with the congregation can talk and pray with the elders and pastor after each service. Those who wish to join the church come forward during an Invitation moment in a Sunday morning service and are welcomed.
Are you liberal or conservative? We believe that the Bible is sufficient to teach us what we need to know for our salvation. We believe that the Bible teaches things that are not available anywhere else. You will find Disciples on any side of any line that is drawn along the liberal-conservative continuum, and you will find us crossing over all such lines to be friends. In any event, we are here for God and not for human-made divisions. We support everyone on their faith journey. We are united in our Love of God. What people think matters less to us than how they think, and how they treat everybody, be they similar or different, as a fellow child of God.
Our dream is that Church can be a place where we see good in each other, even when other people draw lines between us. We're all a mix of clear and unclear, light and murk, and only God is good. The freedom that one person has to have a certain opinion is the same freedom that allows another person to have a different idea.