My local paper, which is usually as informative about current events as the back of a cereal box, ran an article this past weekend about the huge number of Americans leaving the major Protestant “brands” for nondenominational alternatives.
As is customary with The Tennessean, this is not really news, at least to those of us in the church. But I’m interested in your thoughts.
Do you agree with Pete Wilson—are there no longer any advantages to being part of a bigger group?
Or are we just replacing the traditional denominations with newer ones along newer lines—church planting networks, for instance, or regional alliances?
Does size of church matter—is it easier for bigger, richer churches to do their own thing?
What about the sort-of denominations that grow up around some of these bigger churches, like the Willow Creek Association?
What do we do with legitimate doctrinal differences? How alike do we have to be before we work together to plant a church or start a ministry?
And what does this mean for the independent Christian churches and our nondenominational denomination? More church leaders than ever before might be open to our emphasis on the simple New Testament church. Should we broaden our definitions of who’s in and who’s out—and would anyone like to comment on the irony of needing to?