Denominations vs. Networks (Part 5)

Well with the final post in this series discussing Denominations and Networks, I’d like to address the future for church networks. Here’s what I anticipate:

  • Networks have come out of pastors’ desire for relationship and cooperation. As our culture continues to move toward less and less human interaction, I see networks only increasing their role in the ministry world.
  • Networks will continue to become more specialized and cause driven. Today there are church planting networks – I think in the years to come we will see networks also form around children’s ministries, youth ministries and even worship styles. But each of these networks will ultimately work toward a common cause.
  • As some networks will grow in size and possibly even become denominational in their size, their influence in the church world will increase. They will be seen as the cutting edge of ministry and Christian collaboration.
  • Some denominations, in their desire to remain relevant, will begin to adopt the look and feel of a network. Some may even begin calling themselves a network.
  • Denominations and Networks alike will continue to work together to advance the Kingdom of God. Cities and Nations will be forever changed. And God will receive all the glory for the unity of His followers regardless of what form it takes.

Anything you would add? Where do you see Denominations & Networks going in the coming years?

Denominations vs. Networks (Part 4)

Continuing with this series, I’d like to address the question of “Can Networks & Denominations Coexist?” Many can have the mentality of either one or the other, I tend to lean in the direction of both/and.

Although denominations are often ineffective in certain areas, so are networks. It’s all about understanding the purpose (read more about that here). In understanding that denominations are and will most likely always be huge organizations, we can’t expect them to foster relationships. Also, networks oftentimes do not have the size to make the impact around the world that a denomination can.

So let’s think of it this way. Rather then seeing denominations & networks as competing restaurant chains, think of denominations as a nice, respectable dining option: Something like Perkins or Bob Evans. And then you have networks as a warm, relationally-driven coffee shop environment: Something like Starbucks or Caribou Coffee. Both of these coexist because they are not in competition with each other. They each provide value to the world as a whole. The same can be said for denominations & networks. They each can provide value to the church world if utilized properly.

What are your thoughts on denominations & networks?

Denominations vs. Networks (Part 3)

Many who stand outside the ‘church network world’ often ask, Why Networks? What’s so special and appealing? With that launching point, let’s dive in.

I believe the formation church networks in today’s world is not by chance. They are not the church bus fad of the 21st century. They are not just a ‘cool boys club’. They have real meaning and purpose. So why networks? We’ve had only denominations for all these years – aren’t they good enough?

Well, to be honest – no they’re not. I believe denominations have their place and can be beneficial, but networks provide a less bureaucratic, more relational partnership for ministry. Because of the size, and often excess structure, of a denomination genuine relationships are very difficult to foster. This doesn’t mean we eliminate denominations, but I’ll talk about that more in my next post. On the other hand, a network is almost always created through relationship. It is the foundation for partnership.

Scripture is very clear in stating the importance of doing life (and ministry) in community with others – this is ultimately what networks strive to provide. It is the partnering of like-minded individuals toward a common goal. Pooling resources to accomplish more then you could possibly do on your own.

What do you think?  Are church networks all they’re cracked up to be?

Denominations vs. Networks (Part 1)

In recent years, we have seen an explosion of church networks across our country. With this new influx of networks, the landscape of the ministry world has definitely changed. We see churches of similar DNA working together across denominational lines oftentimes for the purpose of church planting. With these partnerships, however, concerns have arisen. Over the next few posts, I’m going to be addressing some of the following concerns:

  • Will networks replace denominations?
  • Why networks?
  • Can networks & denominations coexist?
  • What is the future of networks?

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