Such is a question that many are asking these days. Especially as the influence of denominational bodies around the world continues to shrink:
Does it really matter that you were baptized a Presbyterian then raised by a United Methodist and then settled on an a non-denominational church in adulthood?
Does it matter if you worship with smells and bells and refined liturgy or just follow the words on the screen?
Does it matter if you really believe all the teachings and reverence all the history of the name of the church on the door where you worship?
So many of us are saying no. Many of us are coming to view our church loyalty to a much more ecumenical home.
This is why you see so many churches offering:
- Open table communion
- Open church membership
- As well as options for how one is baptized (even within the most strict of our traditions).
But, even still there are values that make one church group different from another. And some traditions really like to keep up with their rules!
As a pastor, this is what I’ve observed: so many of us don’t know why we land where we do and what actually we agree with when it comes to the place we choose to worship.
For this reason, I’m thankful for my writing colleague, Ed who put together a collection of posts over at his blog called the “Denominational Derby.” Each week or so he’s exploring a different denominational tradition and bringing voices together of those who are of that particular family.
Today, I was asked to contribute from the perspective of the church of my ordination: The American Baptist (USA). If you want to learn more of my story of how by exclusion I landed in this inclusive group here’s how the story begins–
When I was 14 years old, I knew that God called me to ministry. One Sunday morning in the mountains of Tennessee, heard a compelling talk from a missionary preparing to leave America. She wanted to help people know the love of Jesus. Something tugged at my heart too saying, “This life is for you.”
When I told my Southern Baptist Church of about this spiritual prompting, they had one question: “Do you want to be a home or a foreign missionary?”
Honestly I had no idea.
What kind of question was this for a young girl who hadn’t even picked a college?
But, for women called to vocational ministry in Southern Baptist life “mission work” is the only option and preferably with a husband.
Want to read more: check it out here.
Furthermore, if you want to learn more about the uniqueness of Protestant denominations, at least from an American perspective, go on over to Ed’s blog and sign up to receive his weekly emails for the Derby!
And let’s keep this conversation going.