Q. What denomination are you?
A. We are a non-denominational church. The Bible teaches that God desires there to be one church (Ephesians 4:4) and so we have abandoned all denominational affiliations. Each member of our congregation has resolved simply to be a true Christian who is committed to a church that consists of other true Christians, as modeled in the Bible. Orange County Church of Christ is a regional congregation of Los Angeles International Church of Christ, which fellowships with sister churches around the nation and the world.
Q. What distinguishes you from other churches?
A. First, our call to individuals to become a true Christian who lives the life that Jesus expects of his followers is a higher expectation than that of many other churches. We also have a minority view on the topics of salvation and conversion. We believe that repentance must take place before baptism. That includes a turning away from all known sin and completely devoting a life to following Christ. Finally, we believe that baptism is for repentant, believing adults and that it is full immersion and for the forgiveness of sins. For a more in-depth discussion on this, see our Statement of Faith.
Q. Can you give a brief history of your congregation?
A. The Orange County church started in 1988. Since that time, it has grown to over 700 members with an attendance of over 1000 on Sundays. We have our roots in the Restoration Movement. We are a part of an international fellowship of churches numbering over 550. We originally were part of San Diego Church of Christ, but for many years have been a part of its sister church, Los Angeles International Church of Christ.
Q. Is your church an international church?
A. Yes. We have over 550 sister churches in 147 countries. It is our stated intention to fulfill Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 to “go make disciples of all nations.” Specifically in Orange County, we provide both spiritual and financial support to over 30 congregations in Mexico and Central America.
Q. What do you do with money collected at your church?
A. Our weekly contribution supports the day-to-day activities of the congregation. These expenses include paying for our facilities, paying the salaries of the ministry staff and supporting the different ministries of the church. There is a board of directors that oversees the overall budget of the church and a Regional Financial Advisory Committee that keeps up with the detailed expense information. The majority in these panels consists of nonstaff members of the church.
Q. How much do you pay your ministers?
A. It depends on their experience and their responsibility. We use the Hay Model for determining salaries. The Hay Group is a company that helps employers set salaries for their employees. You can learn more about this company on their website at www.haygrouppaynet.com. A nonstaff advisory group approves each minister’s salary.
Q. Do you believe that only people baptized in your church are saved?
A. No. Although we believe that biblical baptism is an essential part of salvation, we do not believe that baptism must take place in our church. Baptism is something that occurs between a repentant believer and God. That could happen inside or outside of the boundaries of our congregation. We do believe that Biblical baptism is a subject that is poorly taught in our world today and we believe that we have an obligation to preach the clear teaching of the Bible on this topic. (Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21)
Q. What do you believe about baptism?
A. We believe that baptism is the point in time that a person receives the forgiveness of their sins. We believe that baptism is for people who are old enough to understand the gospel, who have repented of their sins and have turned to God, and who understand that their sins are being forgiven in the waters of baptism. We believe that Biblical baptism is full immersion in water. (Acts 2:38, John 3:3-7)
Q. Do you baptize infants?
A. No. We believe that only believing and repentant people are eligible for baptism. Infants are incapable of either. (Colossians 2:12)
Q. What training have your ministers received?
A. Our ministers are trained in several ways. First and foremost, they receive hands-on training from a senior minister. This training can last from 1-4 years. They also attend various seminars, workshops and advanced Bible Study courses. Many of our ministers also pursue advanced education from various universities and seminaries.
Q. What are your church’s views on controversial issues?
A. We believe that we should speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions about where we stand on certain issues:
Q. On abortion?
A. We believe that abortion is wrong. We believe that life begins at conception and that abortion takes a life.
Q. On birth control?
A. We do not see any biblical mandate opposing birth control. We believe that God created the sexual relationship for both pleasure and procreation. We leave the decision about birth control to individuals.
Q. Sex outside of marriage?
A. The Bible clearly teaches against sex outside of a marriage relationship. Premarital sex, extramarital sex and homosexual sex are not a part of the plan of God. We believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman for life.
Q. On dancing?
A. We do not see any biblical teaching opposing dancing. However, dancing that is overtly sexual is not appropriate.
Q. On different types of music?
A. The Bible does not teach against any particular type of music. However, some song lyrics today promote sinful behavior or demean God’s creation or commands. We oppose anything that would encourage a point of view contrary to God’s word.
Q. On drinking alcohol?
A. The Bible does not condemn drinking, but it does condemn drunkenness. We have many members of our congregation who come from a background of addiction to alcohol and/or drugs. We do not want to do anything to cause them to spiritually stumble. We leave the decision regarding drinking alcohol to the individual as long as they do not abuse alcohol or cause another member of the church to stumble. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Q. On politics?
A. We follow Jesus’ example of remaining out of political debate. We take a stand on moral issues but not on political issues. We embrace members from all political parties and points of view. We caution the church not to make politics a point of division within the church. We pray for our governmental leaders regardless of how much we agree or disagree with them. (Matthew 22:16-22)
Q. Does your church endorse candidates or political parties?
A. No. See previous answer.
Q. Why do you take communion every Sunday?
A. We follow the example of the early church, which seemed to take communion weekly on Sundays (Acts 20:7). We do not hold this as a Scriptural command but rather choose this practice in deference to what seems to be the practice of the first century Christians.
Q. What kind of relationships exists church to church?
A. We strive to have dynamic and involved relationships with other churches. This is reflected in the Southwest Christian Conference, National Campus Ministry Conferences and other regional conferences, camps and events that take place. We believe that outside relationships are an essential part of church growth.
Q. Do you think you are the only ones going to heaven?
A. No. We believe that whoever has become a Christian according to the Word of God will be saved. We do feel a duty to call every person to examine his or her conversion in the light of the clear teaching of Scripture. We also think that there are widespread departures from God’s Word on some of these very basic teachings of the Bible. (John 14:6)
Q. What is your relationship with Kip McKean?
A. In 2004, we distanced ourselves from Kip McKean.
Q. Are you a cult?
A. No. We accept the Bible as the final authority in matters of life and faith. We do not believe that God directly inspires anyone beyond the writers of Scriptures. We do not accept any books other than the Bible as authoritative. Some of our stands on Biblical issues place us in the doctrinal minority among some well-known church groups. We encourage every individual to study the Scriptures and our stands on them and to come to their own conclusions.
Q. What kind of person should consider joining your church?
A. We are looking for the sincere seeker. Our members come from every background, race, religion and economic place in life. The one thread that ties us all together is a sincere desire to change our lives for God. We want to put aside sin and disobedience and live a life of joyful obedience to our Father in Heaven. If this sounds like you, please contact us and we will set up a time to get together.