Denominations vs. Networks (Part 2)

With this post, I’d like to address the concern some have of “Will Networks Replace Denominations?” Over the last few years, there has definitely been more attention and talk given to networks then denominations.  Networks are ‘in vogue’ in the church world.  In answering this question, let me define the purpose and function of a network versus that of a denomination.

Networks are often a loose, or sometimes more structured, affiliation of churches. These churches link arms with each other usually for a couple of reasons:

  1. Relationship: The churches share a similar approach to ministry and strive to share ideas and collaborate to be more effective in their ministry.
  2. Action: Networks are rarely formed simply for the sake of relationship but most often for the purpose of collaboration.  This being churches with similar DNA working together to plant churches, do outreach, or something along those lines.

Denominations are often a more structured organization of churches. They are churches tied together by a few different characteristics:

  1. Doctrine: Churches within a denomination will almost always share similar doctrinal beliefs.  In most denominations, this is a ‘no questions asked’ requirement.
  2. Heritage: Although many denominations have veered from their original purpose of its creation, churches in the same denomination share in the legacy that continues from the inception of that particular denomination.
  3. Investment: One of the strengths of a denomination are their shear size.  Because of their size, they are able to work together in missions endeavors among other things and make a bigger impact.

To conclude, Networks and Denominations are definitely different in their function and purpose.  Will networks replace denominations?  In most cases, I don’t think so. There may be a few situations where a network would become similar to a denomination, but I think we will always have both.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think networks will or should replace denominations?

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