Mark Riessen releases a new resource to foster unity and mission

14 Aug 2023

By Emily Ferguson

Dr Mark Riessen, Mission & Ministry Director at Churches of Christ in SA & NT, has released a new resource for churches called Movement and Identity: Participating in the life of God’s mission.

It’s designed to foster unity and mission in Churches of Christ congregations around Australia.

The two-part leader and participant guides are for anyone who serves in a leadership capacity with a Churches of Christ congregation or is part of a small group curious about Churches of Christ. The guide helps groups learn and dialogue healthily around six key distinctives of Churches of Christ and participate in related missional practices that shape us to join God in God’s great project of restoration.

“This information isn’t just for our heads – it’s for our hearts and our hands as well,” Mark said. “So, built into this resource is an opportunity for people to learn what Churches of Christ is about and then to go away and participate in a missional practice. We then come back together and ask, “How did participating in God’s mission begin to continue this work of formation within us so that we are more effective practitioners and disciples?”

Mission is not just something that happens elsewhere and that someone else does. It’s God’s work of restoring all things to himself, of bringing the coming kingdom of God into our world today. It’s a mission that all followers of Jesus are invited to join.

There is a freedom in the DNA of Churches of Christ that positions us to participate in this mission with agility and creativity. We don’t need permission from ‘the top’ to join God in his activity in our local communities. And yet our absence of credal belief statements can create mission-hampering division when we can’t effectively dialogue around our differing beliefs.

“My greatest hope for this resource is that we find that people in Churches of Christ congregations – or any other kind of Churches of Christ context – would see the value in making time for one another to enter into dialogue and have mature conversations not only about the things we can agree on but specifically about the things we cannot agree on,” he continued.

“An outcome of this, I hope, is that we can move past whatever differences we might have and still, with those differences, participate in meaningful missional initiatives together so that we can be part of how God is bringing transformation into this world.”

Movement and Identity has been published by ACOM Press and can be purchased via their website.

Read more stories from churches of Christ in NSW & ACT HERE.