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When I mention “networks,” I’m talking about groups like C3 Global, Acts 29, ARC, and others who involve a grouping of churches to learn and go on mission together. These networks are not necessarily in existence to replace denominations, but they inevitably hurt them. Networks take money, energy, and people away from denominations and shift them toward networks.
Anecdotally, networks seem to be significantly less bureaucratic than denominations. They seem to have better conferences, cooler marketing efforts, and are less pressurized.
Denominations are more politicized and older, but they also have a lot more resources to advance the mission. The systems in place for denominations are a two-edged sword. Many of the systems for missions, publishing, etc., are in existence, but some of them have multiple layers that seek to do the same thing.
Denominations will not cease to exist altogether, but their dollars will decrease as The Great Evangelical Recession hits, unless something changes. Southern Baptists are already seeing this with mass layoffs at NAMB, the IMB, and multiple state conventions (e.g. Florida and Tennessee). Meanwhile, networks like ARC and Acts 29 appear to be growing.
The future of churches partnering together will be important to watch. My hope and desire is to see churches partner with multiple groups to advance their efforts to reach the nations with the Gospel.
Do you have any thoughts on networks and denominations? Let me know in the comment section below.
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