Culture At Large

Merging Denominations

Chris Salzman

In college, I attended a church plant that met in another churches building. The smallish congregation who owned the building would have their service, and then a few hundred 20-somethings would descend upon the building, set up extra chairs and have their own service.

The arrangement always struck me as a bit odd, almost as if we were one-upping them with our acoustic guitars and hip fashions. I think eventually the plant bought the old building, and the older congregation fizzled out.

There's nothing wrong with that progression, one just hates to see a church congregation die out, even if it is being replaced with a new one.

On the subject of dwindling attendance, an article from VenturaCountyStar.com talks about how churches are merging, sometimes from different denominations:

In most cases, two churches of the same denomination — Methodist, Episcopal or Lutheran, for example — will come together in one building...

Less common is the merger of two different denominations...In Santa Paula, Episcopal and Lutheran congregations have agreed to share a pastor and a building.

"Unfortunately, too often we see each other as competitors instead of partners," said the Rev. Gary Stevenson of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Simi Valley. "But our calling from God, no matter what our denomination, is — or at least should be — the same." ... Clearly, there are practical reasons for merging, but there are spiritual ones, too, Stevenson said. With more members, the church can reach out more to the community, doing its work in the world just as the early church did, Stevenson said.

"The world is changing," Stevenson said. "Why wouldn't the church change, too?"

Does anyone go to a mixed denomination church similar to this? I can see tremendous positives as far as ecumenism is concerned with this trend (if it is a trend). Anyone see any negatives?

(HT: TitusOneNine)

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, Theology