Practices of Faith in the United Church of Christ


"The Spirit of God is upon me, because God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of God's favor."

- Luke 4:18-19

"Within the United Church of Christ, the various expressions of the church relate to each other in a covenantal manner. Each expression of the Church has responsibilities and rights in relation to the others, to the end that the whole Church will seek God's will and be faithful to God's mission."

- From Article III of the UCC Consititution

What does mission mean for the United Church of Christ?

We understand mission to be an expression of God and not simply the activity of the church. The church is God's creation to enable mission to take place, and is the church only when it is engaged in mission. Commitment to God's mission challenges Christians to refuse to accept reality as it is, and to aim at working towards God's realm on earth. When mission is seen as movement from God to the world, it is transforming. The understanding of mission as missio-dei, or "God's mission" replaces a missionary personality-centered focus, and thrusts us into a search to discern God's will, with the church as its instrument for mission.

Why does the United Church of Christ engage in God's mission?

As the church seeks guidance in facing contemporary issues and constituencies, it looks at God's activity through Scripture. Some examples of images of God from Scripture include:

God is a creating God.

Genesis 1:2 reminds us that "The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters." A church that engages in God's mission must be prepared to be creative, discerning with a restless Spirit where transformation is needed when life has grown demonic, chaotic, and stale.

God calls people.

Genesis 12:2 says in God's voice that "I will bless you so that you will be a blessing." A church that engages in God's mission must be prepared to be formed by God as a community of the faithful, where they are mutually nurtured, cared for, and prepared for mission, and through which God reveals God's vision for the justice, peace, and wholeness of life.

God requires justice.

The first command of Micah 6:8 proclaims: "What does God require of you but to do justice." A church that engages in God's mission is called to be on the cutting edge of justice in the world, and to exemplify justice, sharing the vision of a just and peaceful world, joining with God's concern for the poor and oppressed.

God is a healing God.

In Luke 9:2, Jesus sends the disciples out to proclaim the realm of God and to heal the people. A church that engages in God's mission is called to witness to God's spirit with ministries that heal bodies, souls, cultures, nations, and the church itself.

How will God's mission lead us?

The God who sutures us leads us to nurture others, equip and educate the church for mission, invite people into faith, and feed the faithful.

The God who sent Christ as Servant leads us to a global sharing of resources so we can serve and be served. We respond to the needs of others- the hungry, the sick, and the victims of wars, disasters, oppression, and exploitation. The God who transforms leads us to transform society, challenge the cultural status quo, confront the powers of evil, change unjust structures, resist governmental policies designed to served only the wealthy and the powerful, and combat classes, racism, sexism, homophobia, and other form s of discrimination that diminish any person as a human being. God calls us to join oppressed and troubled people in the struggle for liberation, and to work for justice, healing, and wholeness of life.

Mission and the United Church of Christ

God's mission in the UCC is acted out in various settings: including the local church, associations, conferences, and the national setting. Each ministry is responsible for participating in God's mission. Each expression of the church implements God's mission in ways that are appropriate to it and which complement and support the mission expressions of the other settings. God's mission is more than all this. We undertake our part but it is bigger than we are. Nevertheless, by participating in our part of God's mission, we reap tremendous blessings as we glimpse God's reign on earth.