As we read in the book of Acts, the Christian church was called into existence in AD 30.
Since that time great movements of God have emerged and denominations have grown and by the 19th century there were hundreds of ‘denominations’ and groups claiming to be THE true church. In the midst of this, a movement centered on Christ and the Bible emerged. The spirit of God was moving in the lives of many people whose collective heart was to call on all Christians to unite on the basis of restoring New Testament faith and practices.
Churches of Christ is part of this restoration movement, which began around 1800 in the USA. Believers from various denominations came together with the goal of attempting to reproduce the essence of the church as presented in the New Testament.
Two of the propositions one of the founders of the movement, Thomas Campbell, penned in his Declaration and Address in 1809 remain important precepts in Churches of Christ DNA and build into our view of how the work of mission should be understood today:
For all people
That the church of Christ upon earth (meaning the whole church Jesus founded across all time and places and not just the organisation of which we are part) is essentially, intentionally, and constitutionally one; consisting of all those in every place that profess their faith in Christ and obedience to Him in all things according to the Scriptures.
That although the church of Christ upon earth must necessarily exist in particular and distinct societies, locally separate one from another, yet there ought to be no schisms, no uncharitable divisions among them... And for this purpose they ought all to walk by the same rule... and to be perfectly joined together in the same mind...
Accordingly, Churches of Christ does not see itself primarily as a separate Christian community that seeks to independently define and engage in mission, but rather as a group of contributing members of the community of Christians that exist as part of the overall church of Jesus in any area. This has often been distilled as: Not the only Christians, but Christians only.