Churches in the Charis Fellowship were born with a passion to see people really live Christianity not just on Sundays, but every day of the week!
When Alexander Mack and those with the same convictions began their first GBC in Germany in 1708, they applauded the Reformation, but also cheered for more! They wanted even more of a return to the Scriptures.
They also desired more of an emphasis on personal salvation and the public identification of believers with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and their work of grace in salvation. They wanted a return to the biblical command to the baptized as a symbol of one's identification with Christ.
With a belief in the integrity of God's Word, they searched the Bible for principles for daily living. "If the Bible teaches it, then let's do it," was their goal. Today, several hundred Grace Brethren congregations seek to have that same conservative stance in theology while being progressive in method and love on Sundays and everyday.
Love in Action
Sunday is a very important day for us as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Charis churches emphasize the sharing of the Good News of Jesus Christ and the building up of believers in our services of praise and worship. We find warm fellowship in Bible teaching classes.
The important ministry of encouraging believers happens not only when our church meets as a body, but is lived out as we serve Christ and others throughout the week.
Local Government with Cooperation
Charis churches are self-governed and owned. We cooperate with each other by merging prayers, people and money to do the work of missions and evangelism at home and overseas, college and seminary training, publications, women's and men's work, youth programs and Christian education.
Doctrine with Assurance
This community of believers is characterized by a commitment to God and His Word. Our motto - "the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible"- is a call to serious study combined with love in the spirit of Christ.
Many hear that call and experience good teamwork and joy in the local body of believers.
Our doctrinal statement reads like a primer on the Bible, including the clear teachings on vital issues that give anchor in a changing world. We rest strongly in God's control of world situations, but know that in His legislation of the world He calls us to freely decide to trust His Son and obey His Word for morality and ministry.
As the winds of change come and the storms of confusion blow, we have a sure Word, and that gives us confidence, not only on Sundays, but also the rest of the week.
Roots with Growth
Our concern to have self-governed churches went back to the 1708 initiation, as well as the New Testament. As the new church began in Schwarzenau, Germany, Mack and his followers were determined to follow their own biblical convictions. Unreasonable pressure from state churches sent them sailing to America in 1719.
As Grace Brethren grew in America, they were characterized by a firm belief that the Bible was given to people by God, flawlessly! They trusted what they read and taught.
They enjoyed observance of the Communion celebration, and emphasized identification what Christ by trine immersion baptism.
Now 40,000 members strong, Charis Fellowship Churches (formally named Grace Brethren) reach from New York to Hawaii and from Alaska to Florida. Our early commitment to helping others find a personal relationship with Jesus Christ resulted in the start of Grace Brethren Foreign Missions, now called Encompass World Partners, with over 160,000 members all over the world.
"Be imitators of God...and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Paul, Ephesians 5:1-2
People with Direction
We see those other six days as opportunities to reflect Christ's love and priorities through our work, words and relationships. Even in our homes and when we relax or play, we want to honor God.
Charis churches have a strong emphasis on the family following the biblical guidelines about loyalty, support and faithfulness. In the Bible we find principles for growing a rich and meaningful marriage and family.
The importance of teaching children the Bible and giving them spiritual foundations has led many churches to develop children's and youth programs, as well as Christian schools.
The doors of our church are open wide. We are especially pleased when people, searching to know more about Jesus Christ and how He can relate to their lives, come to visit and become friends.
We want to share the joy and fulfillment we have found in Jesus Christ with others!
Life with Meaning
Within each person is a longing for fulfillment, an insatiable desire to find happiness and purpose.
Some look for it in money and possessions, acquiring more and more, yet remaining less than satisfied.
Some people seek gratification and success by pouring their lives into a career. Unfortunately, when they finally reach the top, the nagging emptiness returns.
Others look for fulfillment through relationships. They join social clubs, attempt to strengthen family ties and add to their list of friends. However, because no one is prefect, people let us down.
The tragedy is that people are searching in the wrong places. The God who created us made us to be truly fulfilled only when we are in fellowship with Him. He is the missing dimension. He knows us best and wants to give our lives full meaning and joy. Yet He allows us to decide our own life's course. We have the freedom to turn to God or to turn away, but the consequences are eternal.
Charis churches are committed to helping people discover that abundant life, not just on Sundays, but every day.
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