The Christian Churches/Churches of Christ are part of what is called the Restoration Movement. In the late 1700s and the early 1800s, many churches and church leaders from all kinds of groups of churches set out to restore the church to be like the original church. The American churches were separated by division or denomination, led by leadership that lived and ruled from Europe, and had a longing to use Bible terms and principles.
These churches came together to be Christians only, to use no creeds or statements of faiths made by men, but to let local churches use the Bible to establish what they believe and govern themselves. Two groups of churches came together in the early 1830s. These churches were following the principles taught by Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone.
It is not the intent to use the word "restoration" in this 10-year campaign to refer back to these beginnings in the 1830s. The real focus is to restore mankind to God. Our goal is not to build a huge non-denomination, but just to be God's Church, reaching the lost.
This is not the first time for a 10-year campaign. In the mid 1980s, a group of men from these churches (Christian Churches/Churches of Christ) were meeting with the Churches of Christ (Non-instrumental or Acapella) and the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) to discuss our similarities. This group was called the Open Forum. From this group, came the idea of a Decade of Missions. Some of those men involved were:
Goals were set with a focus of what could be done between the years 1990 to 2000. Some good strides were made to:
recruit enough missionaries to make up for those that would retire
work on meeting the needs of our independent missionaries
plant churches and teams to lead those churches
No measure of success was ever concluded, nor was it ever determined how to decide that. There were other positive outcomes from this first Decade of Missions. Several ministries were born from it:
Harvest Prayer Ministries located in Brazil, Indiana
AMOR Ministries located in San Diego, California
It is difficult to say, but there is some belief that the National Missionary Convention grew in popularity and attendance out of this ten year emphasis, even though much of the emphasis seemed to fade away after 1994 or 1995.
In 2008, during the transition of leadership from Walter Birney as Executive Director of the NMC to David Empson as the incoming Director, David Linn was chosen to be the president of the NMC for 2010 to be held in Lexington, Kentucky. David Linn agreed, but had a personal conviction that he wanted his year as the president to be more than just a one-year theme. He wanted to have an impact through the NMC to help motivate all our churches to be involved in reaching the lost. It was brought to his attention that there was a Decade of Missions many years ago, and since we were in the year 2008 at the time, there might be enough time to possibly have another 10-year emphasis.
With a lot of prayer and some discussion while considering God's will and direction for a theme for the Lexington convention, the idea came that we might try another 10-year emphasis. It was noted that it had been 20 years since the last campaign, and our churches, the National Missionary Convention and many mission agencies have grown significantly since then. It was determined that more could possibly be accomplished for the Kingdom given our growth. A strong prayer emphasis continued as this group continued to consider how this might happen and what group might be responsible for the oversight and leadership of this campaign.
A meeting was held in Tulsa during the 2008 National Missionary Convention that about thirty people attended. It was a great meeting which had several members from the past campaign, and a lot of interest for a new one. A small group was formed to decide some final details. Those in this group were:
The name Restoration Revolution was coined from that meeting. Another facet of the preparation for the Lexington convention that gave a strong motivation was the emphasis on prayer, led by David Linn and his prayer chairman, Shawn McMullen. In no time at all there were 33 groups of four men praying for God's will for the Lexington convention and Restoration Revolution.
A second meeting was held in Orlando, FL after the Exponential Conference in April, 2009. It was decided there that it was time to continue to talk and pray, but that it was also time to share this idea with more leaders within our churches of the Restoration Movement. Some new faces became involved in this leadership group:
A prayer event was organized for the North American Christian Convention in Louisville, July, 2009. A meeting was set for September of 2009 to share this campaign with leaders of 9 different areas of ministries: preachers of all size churches, Bible college presidents, campus ministers, Bible translation ministries, both conventions, printing ministries, youth ministries, para-church organizations, missionaries, members of the acapella churches, and church planters. Dallas was set as the place for this 24-hour retreat, with over 70 church leaders in attendance. The retreat was held at the Compass Christian Church, Colleyville, TX.
From the beginning of this idea of a 10-year campaign, there was always a question as to whom or where the ownership or responsibility of keeping the program would lie. This very well may have been the fate of the first Decade of Missions. It was unknown as to just exactly what all was included to take the lead on this kind of a project. It was concluded that the National Missionary Convention was a natural place for this project.
The Restoration Revolution goals fall within the purpose of the NMC and the programming aspect of the workshops would help remind and encourage all our churches and missionaries to stay on task. With the addition of Russell Johnson, Director of Leadership Development, the load could be shared with David Empson, Executive Director. 3Strands Communications was hired to help with promotional material and managing the website. After the meeting in Dallas, the Restoration Revolution project will have been affected by over 125 ministers and ministry leaders from around the world.
The Leadership Team has become:
David Linn, Missionary in Caracas, Venezuela
David Empson, Director of the National Missionary Convention
David Butts, Director of Harvest Prayer Ministries
Russell Johnson, Director of Leadership Development of NMC
Doug Lucas, Founder & Director of Team Expansion
Greg Pruett, President of Pioneer Bible Translators
Jennifer Mayhill, 3Strands Communications
Other Significant Contributors
John Caldwell, Sr. Pastor of Kingsway Christian Church, Avon, IN
David Limiero, Stadia Church Planters, Bakersfield, CA
National Missionary Convention
Harvest Prayer Ministries
Stadia Church Planters
Church Development Fund