Although following a denomination is not mandated in the Bible, many Christians opt to subscribe to various recognized autonomous branches of the Church. It may be difficult for new or even veteran believers to pick the right denomination for them. But some factors can guide you on how to choose a denomination.
Choosing a Christian denomination to follow entails considering factors such as location, size, etc., and conducting research. Although ultimately, the most important thing is ensuring that the denomination is in line with God’s doctrines.
Why do you need to join a denomination? Are its beliefs and practices important? How about its historical roots? Is that important? What are the factors to consider when choosing a denomination, and how do you research them? This article shall answer these questions in depth and provide insight into the topic.
Why Do You Need A Denomination?
Within the past few decades, it has become increasingly popular for Christians to take an individualistic approach to the faith. Many are picking, choosing, and tweaking aspects of the religion instead of following a prescribed set of beliefs. Subscription to denominations is on the decline, but believers must know the importance of choosing a denomination. Here are some reasons why you need a denomination:
Offers Fellowship and Community
Denominations provide a sense of community that is essential to one’s Christian journey. Look at Jesus Christ and His disciples, who formed a strong brotherhood where they formed a tight bond and regularly broke bread together. Likewise, denominations allow like-minded Christians to congregate and socialize all for the glory of God.
Offers Spiritual Guidance
It is essential that the doctrines that one follows be Biblically accurate and in line with God’s Commandments. Having denominations makes interpretation of the Word easier and more accurate. Denominations also have a long lineage of spiritual leaders and clergy, such as pastors and priests, who have a better understanding of the Scripture and can lead the younger congregation using doctrine that is consistent with Christian teachings. This helps guard the Church against heretic beliefs.
Allows for Easier Access to Resources and Information
Congregations within denominations enjoy better access to information on doctrines and Christian history. Since denominations are organized, they have organized information structures like Sunday school, Bible study, and counseling sessions for different demographics, such as widows, young adults, and married couples. This allows for easy dissemination of information and resources to the congregation.
Belonging to a denomination promotes accountability for one’s actions and behavior. Although they cannot be proved to provide total security from falling into sinful habits, a denomination to which one is answerable helps foster good Christian-like behavior and offers an accountability system.
Collective Action Power
As Christians, we are called to evangelize and minister the Word of the Lord. Organized denominations would make such missions easier to perform as opposed to undertaking them as individuals. There is power in numbers, so seeking assistance/help as a denomination will be easier. Charity or evangelical missions will be more effective.
Builds One’s Faith
Through creating a sense of community and providing mentorship and information, Denominations ultimately build one’s faith and belief in God. When one is wavering in their faith, they will have other members of the denomination to support them and guide them through. Communities such as these eliminate doubt that would otherwise arise if they walked the journey alone.
Why Are A Church’s Beliefs and Practices Important When Choosing A Denomination?
A denomination’s beliefs and practices are fundamental when considering it. Christianity is centered on the beliefs God gives us, so what a Christian believes and follows matters a lot. These beliefs are known as doctrines.
The purpose of the denomination is to bring believers closer to Christ. If the Church’s doctrines are not aligned with God’s law, they may lead Christians away from the faith. It is paramount that a Church’s beliefs and customs be accurately associated with the Bible’s teachings; otherwise, the denomination could hinder the commission of Christ. If anything leads believers to waiver in faith, it is wrong. Hebrews 11:6 reads, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Consider denominations that follow the doctrines of God, Jesus Christ, and salvation when choosing one.
Also, consider if the beliefs and practices of the denomination are comfortable for you. For instance, the role of women in a denomination can be essential to consider if you are a woman. Or the desired dress code and worship practices.
Is Ancestral Religion and Beliefs A Factor When Choosing A Denomination?
They say that the past predicts the future. Denominations began to rise in the Christian faith when the Protestant Reformation happened. It was a movement aimed at reforming the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. This led to a rift among Christians that resulted in varied denominations. So, yes. It is essential to look at the historical beliefs of a church before joining because it heavily influences the practices they partake in today.
Some denominations may offer slight deviations in doctrine teachings, while others are far from the original meaning of Scripture. This is a result of the early split and what the historical leaders of denominations taught. But despite these differences, we still must love one another. (1 John 4:11-12 “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us.”)
What Other Factors Should You Consider When Choosing a Denomination?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Christian denominations, which can be pretty overwhelming. You must choose the right one for you as your denomination is pivotal in your walk through the faith.
Aside from the historical and present-day beliefs of a denomination, there are other factors that one may consider when choosing a denomination to worship with. Let us have a look at some of them:
Proximity and Location
One would have to consider if the denomination of choice is within their location. Some denominations can only be found in certain locations or countries. For example, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church is centralized in Ukraine. If the denomination is in your location, you would also have to consider its proximity. Consider if the churches are near or far.
Methods of Worship
The methods of worship adopted by a denomination are essential factors to consider. While some may have more lively ways of worshipping, such as the use of loud musical instruments, dance, and song, others are quiet and reserved. The denomination you pick should suit your tastes and preferences.
Size may be pivotal when deciding which denomination to go with. Do you enjoy worshipping with a large fellowship, or do you prefer more intimate settings? Both have their pros and cons because larger churches allow one to make more connections while smaller ones let people make more personal relationships. Also, size tends to determine the level of activity in a church. Larger denominations have more services, missions, and community functions than small denominations of the Church.
Demographics in The Denomination
It may be essential to find out the demographic of people that subscribe to a particular denomination. You can look at race, age, socio-economic status, etc. Although all these details are not crucial to the Lord, they can influence your decision as these factors affect your interaction with the church community. You may also be on the hunt for a diverse church, so finding this information may be helpful.
It is also essential to consider the leadership structure of the denomination. What is the structure and hierarchy of the denomination? Do they allow for female clergy? How are leaders and clergy picked? Do they have certain considerations and requirements for one to join leadership?
The financial structure of a church is also important. Do they require congregation members to give a mandatory tithe or offering? Are the finances of the Church transparent to the congregation? What is the Church’s budget? Who determines the budget, and do members have the ability to contribute to financial decisions? Consider all these questions when choosing a denomination.
How Do You Research on A Church’s Denomination?
So now that you’ve narrowed your list to some prospective denominations, you should conduct further research to find out more about them. Doing some research will ensure that you make the best choice. Here are some ways you can research a Church’s denomination:
Read about the Denomination
An excellent way to gather information on documents is to do extensive reading on the denomination. Most major denominations, such as Baptist, Catholicism, Lutheran, and Pentecostal, have a lot of written material about them. Also, take advantage of online sources such as the denominations’ websites, articles, and blogs.
Talk to Existing Members
You can reach out to members of a denomination virtually or physically and hear their experiences with the denomination or Church. Of course, it will most likely be all good, but it can give you a chance to hear firsthand the pros and cons.
Physically Visit the Church
Another great way to research a church and its denomination is to physically visit it. Visit one of their services, bible studies, or prayer sessions. You can also tag along on a mission. This will give you a feel of the Church’s vibe and help you see for yourself what worshipping with the fellowship will be like.
Ask for Doctrinal Statements
Doctrinal statements will allow you to discover a denomination’s fundamental beliefs and values. While you might like their proximity or how they worship, the most important thing is the doctrines they follow. So, research by asking for doctrinal statements and study them well.
Pray About It
The final and probably most important way of finding out about a church’s denomination is by praying about it. God can reveal much when we pray about issues, including a denomination. Do not ignore it, as it is the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
- Why We Need A Denomination
- What Is A Denomination?
- 6 Ways to Choose the Right Denomination for You
- Do I Need to Join A Denomination Church?
- Why Are There So Many Christian Denominations?
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.