I am a preacher in the Independent Christian Churches. We have a rich history over the last 200 years that includes names like Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, and Raccoon John Smith. These men started in Kentucky and spread their work across the world. There are now over 6,000 Churches like the one I serve in the US and over 10,000 worldwide.
We are not a denomination, and we have no governing body which tells us what to believe, who our preacher will be, or where the money collected will go. There is no hierarchy to whom I answer other than the local Church leadership. As a group, we call ourselves a brotherhood as we work together across congregational lines like brothers, not members of a franchise. Our colleges are one of the things that unite us as they train the preachers and leaders. I went to Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, and have kept close ties throughout the years through the conferences I attend and professors who come to preach when I am gone.
Not many people are familiar with our brotherhood, primarily because we have no large institution behind us like the Southern Baptist or Assembly of God. Our smaller size does not diminish our effectiveness both locally and globally.
Today I want you to know a little more about this group, but I also want you to understand why I am a part of it. The primary reason I remain part of this brotherhood is because of our stance on scripture. We believe the Bible to be our authority in practice and theology on everything. It doesn’t matter your background previous to attending a Christian Church. I can get along with anyone willing to sit down and study what the Bible says and agree on its meaning so that we can move forward together. There is no theological system that is imposed on the word of God, and then we make everything fit inside of it. No, the goal is to study what the scriptures say as a whole and move forward in love together.
I love my Church and the movement in which I am involved. I remain committed to serving within its ranks, not because it is perfect, but because it has a unifying plan. If you and I agree to take the Bible seriously, then we can all get along. To this end, I strive every week.