Our movement is made up of local churches. State and National organisations exist to serve and support churches. The list below gives some idea of who does what within Churches of Christ.
Local church congregations are self-governed and:
- Exercise mission and ministry locally and beyond;
- Vote to elect elders who are responsible for many decisions about the life of the church;
- Employ paid staff ;
- Appoint volunteers in various roles;
- Own, maintain and service loans on property (or rent space from other organisations);
- Participate in local/regional joint church initiatives and ministers’ networks, and
- Communicate with local media; make submissions to local government; and work with other relevant local organisations.
State bodies serve their affiliated local churches. They have responsibility for:
- The endorsement of, and ongoing professional development for, ministers;
- Professional and ethical standards for ministers;
- Granting and renewing marriage licences;
- Advising churches regarding governance, church health, and the legislative requirements of churches;
- Offering financial support services to churches where possible, such as for loans or insurance;
- Providing resources, news, training and networking opportunities for local churches and their leaders;
- Representation to other state bodies, such as ecumenical councils;
- Community care services;
- State-run events (such as State Youth Games, Annual General Meetings, and State Conferences);
- Various affiliated organisations; e.g. as a reporting body for Australian College of Ministries (NSW), and
- Communication with state-based media. State bodies may make submissions to the relevant State Government, or other state-based organisations.
Council of Churches of Christ in Australia: (CCCA)
State bodies are the members of the Council of Churches of Christ in Australia: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory (SA/NT), Victoria and Tasmania (CCVT) and Western Australia. Two representatives per member State form the Council of Churches of Christ in Australia (CCCA). The CCCA:
- Facilitates Churches of Christ representation on national and international bodies. These include the National Council of Churches in Australia, World Council of Churches, Christian Conference of Asia, and World Convention;
- Administers ordination;
- Fosters communication and collaboration between the State bodies;
- May communicate with the media on issues of national significance, and make submissions to the Federal Government and other national bodies, and
- Is a reporting body for national agencies and committees, as well as for the State bodies. These include:
- Global Mission Partners, and
- Stirling College.
National Entities: (Directly Under the CCCA)
- Members and Employees Benefits Scheme (MEBS), and
- Youth Vision Australia.
National Committees and Networks:
- Defence Force Chaplains Committee;
- Christian Projects, and
- National Business Network.
For administrative purposes, Churches of Christ Insurance (CCI) and Churches of Christ Financial Services (CCFS) operate under the oversight of CCVT, but serve churches nationally with the permission of the relevant State body.
Australian College of Ministries (ACOM) offers theological training via distance education. It also operates nationally under the oversight of Churches of Christ in NSW.
Because local church communities are the focus of Churches of Christ, the CCCA does not typically decide official positions on controversial theological, social or political matters. The CCCA leaves pronouncements of such positions to the local church, and to the conscience of individual Christians.