Because of this, several uber-large churches are starting quasi-denominations of their own. They may call themselves multi-site, associations or partnerships, but most of them are nascent denominations under a different name.
This isn’t wrong, or even dishonest. Most of them are organizing and will operate their associations very differently than the way denominations have been run, so it’s appropriate that they call them by a different name.
4. The stronger the denominational tie they have, the more likely the church is to be weak.
I want to say this carefully and lovingly. But I have to say it because I see it a lot.
There are a lot of great, healthy, effective churches with strong denominational ties. Some of them are even supporting their denomination more than the denomination has the ability to support them. But when a congregation’s identity is extremely closely tied to their denominational affiliation, that congregation is more likely to be weak than strong.
It’s very hard to find vibrant, healthy, effective churches that make statements like “we do it this way because we’re (insert denomination here)”. When a church’s denominational statements are more evident than their mission statement, they will draw almost no one who isn’t already in on the language, the traditions and the history.
Plus, as I wrote in People Aren’t as Loyal to a Church Or Denomination Anymore – Good For Them, when an unchurched person feels like they’re being introduced to Jesus, it feels like an invitation and they’ll lean in, but if they sense that they’re being asked to join a denomination, it feels like a sales job and they’ll walk away.
If your church has a strong denominational relationship, keep it. But be careful about making your denomination your identity.
Mission must come first.
5. The denomination can support the church’s vision, but it shouldn’t set their vision.
Churches that take their entire lead from their denomination about what programs to run, what their theme for the year will be and so on, tend to be less healthy and effective.