According to dictionary.com a denomination is “a religious group, usually including many local churches,often larger than a sect.”
When I was younger I only knew about my larger denomination because my father was a pastor and would go to their meetings. Otherwise I would not have had a clue about the larger body of churches that makes up a denomination. While in university, I failed to see any value in my church being part of a denomination. As a church goer I felt tremendously disconnected from this larger and seemingly purely administrative body.
I saw denominations as insignificant. If my church was not part of a denomination, nobody would have noticed anyway.
Yet here I am today, a pastor and see the value in a denomination. Not only does it provide the administrative backdrop that facilitates my being a paid pastor. But, my denomination is also an excellent resource providing me with further professional development, a resource centre, and denominational leaders who can give a significant wisdom to my ministerial context. More importantly, it connects me with other churches and leaders who share similar theology and are grounded in a similar faith tradition.
As a pastor, this formal network has been invaluable.
Blogger Ed Stetzer asks a question about the importance of church denominations pointing to the results of a recent study. An important question that I think is worthy for those within the Anabaptist world to ask. The results below are are interesting. It is an American study, though I am not sure how the results would change if the same study were done strictly in Canada. But the question remains.
Are denominations important?