The List

Posted: January 22, 2009 in advocacy, books, change, church, grace, humility, life, theology

It’s official. I”m out!!

The Christian Chronicle (a paper to which I contributed last month) is running an article noting that my new congregation, Redwood Church, has been omitted from the 2009 edition of The Churches of Christ in the Unites States.

The reason: Redwood (along with Farmer’s Branch and Richland Hills) has at least one instrumental worship service of Sunday morning. In the words of my friend, Kraig Martin; “This is stupid.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Though it is stupid,  I do have some questions about my newfound “unchurchofchristiness:”

1. Do I still have to pay all my ACU student loans?

2. Am I disfellowshiped? And if so, who has the power to do it?

3. Does anyone use that directory anymore, or do most folks simply look up churches on the internet?

4. Should I get together with Chris Seidman, Rick Atchley and the other church’s minsters to commiserate or celebrate? I say celebrate. Let’s get a tee time fellas.

5. Do the compiler’s of the book believe the churches of Christ (the little “c” is deliberate) can live with fewer members. I can imagine that meeting. “Hey guys, we’re a part of a dwindling movement. Let’s do our share to dwindle it some more.”

At any rate, it is apparent that some people have no bigger fish to fry. I do. I have to get prepared to pastor a church with a heart for the poor, a love for their city, and a desire to bring people from darkness to light, even if that means using a guitar.

  1. Tricia says:

    Honestly Sean, I’d say celebrate. No offense, but it’s a testament to your relevance.

  2. hoythappenings says:

    whoa, i didn’t even know that thing still existed. crazy.

  3. hoythappenings says:

    (that last comment was from joe, not laura.)

  4. Clayman says:

    You’re gonna burn for this one, ain’tcha?

    Well, I guess First Colony will be outed as well since they’ll have an instrumental service in February. Nice to know we all belong to a rebel movement! LOL

  5. Sherman says:

    Welcome to the club! Woot Woot!!

  6. Sean says:


    Soon, if not already, there will be more of us “out” of the club rather than in it. I bet of you were to add up the number of churches omitted this year, plus the number of churches that have CofC trained ministers who either planted or dropped the name, plus those who use instruments and/or practice gender inclusion, you would be shocked at how many CofC folks are not CofC folks according to the directories’ definitions.

    This, I think (for good or ill), is the wave of the future. Soon that directory book will be a pamphlet. People are church planting and dropping the CofC brand left and right. Two of the elders at Bering told me last Sunday that they need to seriously consider dropping the name too. I wonder what they’ll do. I don’t think they’ll face much resistance.

  7. Sherman says:

    You know that thing that Christ gave us…freedom from the law. To be what Christ wants us to be. Hmmmm…now that’s liberating. Scary…but liberating. And I for one…enjoy being free. If that means not being on the list…I’ve got a word for that…YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Not to sound too harsh…maybe.

  8. Paul Mathis says:


    At a time in my life when I needed to heal, I found love, grace, and mercy at a church with a different name. People who loved my family and me almost immediately treated us as if we were now “lost.” That really hurt.

    I love my heritage, warts and all. But I have not attended a Church of Christ for over 3 years now. I hope to preach again, but do not know if I will be welcomed back; I don’t know if I want to be welcomed back in that capacity anymore. I struggle with balancing my love for the church I grew up in with my desire to be what God wants us to be–free from denominational identity.

    I believe a new world awaits; but it does scare me.

  9. Sean says:


    I hate to hear this story from one of my 11 old college roommates. Plus, it’s a story that is told too often. And I know that every non-denomination and denomination has their stories, but I hate these tales being told so close to home.

    I, like so many others, have a love-hate relationship with my church of origin. It is because faithful men and woman that I came to faith and came to love God. And so much of me wishes that the pursuit of the God they showed me didn’t so often result in my estrangement from them. Odd how a movement teaches one to pursue the God of scripture, but so often rejects the scriptures which they taught you to pursue.

    Rochelle and I have struggled with whether to remain in CofC’s or not. Apparently, others are willing to answer that question for us. Paul, I’d love to hear that you were back in a pulpit, but I know that pulpit or not, you are serving our Lord.

  10. Kristen (Davis) Popham says:

    I love my “Community Church” (don’t tell anyone, but my preacher was a former baptist minister. Will the CofC still let me into heaven?)….just kidding… I’m excited about your family’s next phase in life. I’m sorry I won’t get to see you on the rare trip I afford to Houston. I know God will bless you as you follow Him and lead others to him. Thank God for those of you from the CofC who can help others see past the name and focus on the relationship.

  11. Sean, I just wanted to wish you well at your new church. I worked with Beverly for many years and have heard only good about you. God will continue to let Redwood grow regardless of whether you are listed in that book. More and more churches are removing their denominations from their names.

    By the way, let me know if you don’t have to pay those ACU loans…I have McMurry loans I would like to get rid of.

    God bless you and your family.

  12. Dean says:

    Welcome to the recovering Church of Christ community.

  13. Charlie says:

    Now you can focus on Him and Him alone.

    The pressure’s off, my sibling.

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