It’s Sunday evening and I’ve had my dinner, watched a bit of DVR’d television and checked my various social media sites. I’ve been thinking about this mornings’ message and the topic of identifying marks of a Disciple of Christ. There are a number of marks including our own nomenclature. I used some acronyms that only we Disciples would recognize; here is a list of some of them (plus a few I didn’t!):

DOC = Disciples of Christ (our denominational name)
CWF = Christian Women’s Fellowship (women’s mission group in congregations)
DHM = Disciples Home Missions (missions at home in the United States)
DCI = Disciples Center International (headquarters for Disciples general ministries)
DOM = Disciples Overseas Missions (missions overseas)
CMF = Christian Men’s Fellowship (men’s ministries in congregations)
CYF = Christian Youth Fellowship (youth in grades 9-12 in congregations)
CRF = Chi Rho Fellowship (usually just Chi Rho for youth in grades 6-8)
DMF = Disciples Mission Fund (joint mission fund of Disciples congregations)
CCC = Christian Care Communities (Kentucky’s facilities for retired and disabled)
CCF = Christian Church Foundation (investment for individuals and congregations)
CCK = Christian Church in Kentucky (our regional church, offices in Lexington)
GMP = General Minister and President (Sharon Watkins, our elected leader)
GA = General Assembly (representative assembly of Disciples congregations and clergy)
CE = Church Extension (church growth resources and building loan fund)

As you can see, we have MANY acronyms which are useful in communicating internally amongst DOC people. But, they can be quite confusing to visitors and newcomers. We are sometimes guilty of using other shorthand phrases and such when we talk “church” that are not familiar to everyone else. If you’ve ever been in a new environment where you are the one who doesn’t understand the lingo, you know the uncomfortable feeling which arises. Let’s hope that we are sensitive to our use of confusing and insider language. That said, we need to remember that visitors also may not be familiar with worship, when to stand, what to do at the Lord’s Supper, where people usually sit, the version of the Lord’s Prayer we use or why we have acolytes. Be warm and friendly as well as offering to be helpful during the Passing of the Peace.

Speaking of candles (the acolytes light the table candles), we keep two candles burning on the pulpit side of the sanctuary. One is to remind us of those who are not in worship or who cannot attend worship. The other is wrapped in barbed-wire to remind us of those in the world who are oppressed or refugees and a yellow ribbon to remind us of the men and women who serve their country in places of conflict.

See you Sunday! Until then –