8 Reasons I Believe in Denominationalism

Post Icon

I’m a Southern Baptist. We’re hardly a perfect denomination, but I’m honored to be part of our team. I realize that my generation in general tends to be more denominationally loyal than younger generations, but I don’t think my age is a primary reason I’m part of a denomination. Instead, here’s why:

  1. I know I’m not alone as a church leader. I’ve been in ministry for 35 years, and I’ve never had to walk this road by myself. I’ve not always been the best in building pastoral relationships with other church leaders, but I’ve always had that option via my denomination. I’ve fought battles alone only because of my sinfulness.
  2. We really can do more together than we can alone. The first church I pastored had about twenty people in attendance on my first Sunday. Our small church felt we couldn’t make much difference alone around the world, but we believed we could when we united with thousands of other churches to support Great Commission work.
  3. We can together promote doctrinal accountability. All of our denominationally-affiliated churches are autonomous, but we do have a doctrinal statement that we’ve adopted. I’m grateful for this level of voluntary yet needed accountability.
  4. Denominationalism reminds me that God’s kingdom is bigger than my church. It’s easy in a healthy church to focus on only that congregation and, thus, to unintentionally promote the idea that we don’t need others. That’s a dangerous position.
  5. I need the diversity that a denomination can provide. Granted, many denominations are not nearly as diverse as the world is – but my denomination as a whole is more diverse than my local church is. The larger picture reminds me again and again that God loves the whole world.
  6. Denominations require us to consider the importance of biblical unity. No single church will reach the nations for Christ, but nor will churches that compromise truth for the sake of unity. Strong denominations push members to build unity around truth – and to determine the essentials that unite them.
  7. I’ve met great people through my denominational affiliation. That’s not to suggest, of course, that I wouldn’t have met great people otherwise; it’s simply an honest reflection. My being part of a denomination has connected me with some incredibly faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.
  8. I owe my denomination much. Almost everything I’ve done in ministry has been somehow influenced by, and connected with, my denomination. From that first church I pastored, to my completing my degrees, to my current role as a seminary professor, I owe millions of others who’ve made it all possible.

What other reasons would you add to this list?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published at

adblock image

MDiv Preaching and Pastoral Ministry

The Preaching and Pastoral Ministry track prepares students for pastoral ministry in the local church with a special emphasis on expository preaching.

  • Denomination
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Pastors
Chuck Lawless

Director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership

Dr. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Doctoral Studies, and Vice-President for Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. He previously served as a Vice-President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Prior to that, he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he also served as Vice President for Academic Programming and the Director of Professional Doctoral Studies. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals. He and his wife Pam have been married for over 25 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.

More to Explore

Never miss an episode, article, or study.

Sign up for the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership newsletter now!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.