“Our individual congregations are the heart of our church. They are where we have the greatest influence for Christ, both on our communities and on one another. Yet our congregations may accomplish things working together that they cannot accomplish working individually.
“Therefore, the General Conference as a whole is responsible for ministries that individual congregations can’t do themselves. In addition to the three General Conference Ministries (Publications, Missions, and Artios Christian College), the Conference provides unifying identity, vision, and focus for our church. This creates the Christ-centered environment in which all of us may thrive.
“While the General Conference provides the environment, it doesn’t attempt to direct local ministries by creating one-size-fits-all solutions. It recognizes that local congregations are the experts in their local ministries. Therefore, our congregations own the responsibility to provide ministries that address their local needs.
“Our districts provide the critical link between our shared vision and our congregational ministries. This link consists of the superintendents and their district boards, ministry teams, pastors, and leaders. As the members of this critical link connect us all, our entire church functions as a single team.”
These words written by Jody McCoy, executive director of the General Conference, are lifted from a small booklet published in 2016 at the beginning of our Transforming Vision into Reality (TVR) campaign. They remain correct concerning our organizational structure, and they reflect the call to unity within the body of Christ we find repeatedly in the Epistles.
Regarding those passages, Joni Eareckson Tada has said, “Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it.” Paul in Ephesians 4:3 agrees: “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (NIV). He doesn’t say, “Make every effort to create the unity of the Spirit.”
That’s what we all are called to do. None of us can do it alone.
— Loren Stacy