Christian LeadershipCongregations

What’s the future of denominations?

As the Christian landscape changes, leaders must ask and answer a new question: What’s the future of denominations? In this series of videos, interviews and essays, people across American Christianity offer their thoughts on this vital issue.

Crystal Ball

There will be a “leveling out” in the future as the emphasis shifts from clergy, buildings and the white middle class to a more empowered lay leadership, a variety of venues and a more expansive view of “who God has called to be God’s people,” says the stated clerk of the PC(USA).

Local congregations are finding ways to thrive by developing liturgical and ministry-based niches in their communities while anchoring their identities in denominations, says the former dean of the Wake Forest School of Divinity.

The senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church says the future and power of the Disciples of Christ lies in the local congregation, in the people who move out in ministry and witness as the whole church.

Denominations will always exist, says UMC Bishop Gregory Palmer, because they provide cohesiveness and capacity -- the ability to bring resources together and leverage them to do enormous good.

Asking, “What can we learn from other denominations?” Geoff Moore applies receptive ecumenism to the practice of building healthy churches.

All people crave the truth, says AME Bishop Jeffrey Leath. And one of the key roles for denominations is to be a reliable source of that truth, an arbiter of its trustworthy presentation.

Affirmation of inclusion in the body of Christ is the purest expression of denominations, but too often they encourage exclusion, says the former international executive director of Word Made Flesh.

Christian leaders -- Orthodox and others -- are challenged to translate love into a day-to-day life in which people are isolated, says the assistant chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

Get rid of real estate, focus on education and trim, trim, trim. That’s the advice to denominational leaders from the author of “The Great Emergence.”

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