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Denominations

This fall I had he opportunity to attend the National Youth Worker’s Convention here in Pittsburgh, sponsored by Youth Specialties.  

During the opening session there was a great quote from Tic Long.  He was encouraging attendees to talk to other youth workers to share ideas, etc.  He commented: “This week let’s put aside denominational differences.  It’s not that our denominations aren’t important, but they don’t matter”

Wow, think about that statement for a minute: “It’s not that our denominations aren’t important, but they don’t matter”.  

Essentially what Tic said was that our denominations are important, but they don’t matter.  What a radical way to look at ecclesiology!  But yet I know what Tic means.  Denominational lines have long been transcended in the world of youth ministry.  Youth Specialties events appeal to all sorts of people with varying denomination backgrounds, ranging from independent/free church churches, to congregational churches, to Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, and even Roman Catholic youth workers.  

When I asked one of my professors, Scott Sunquist, about this comment he responded with this.  “Well of course, that makes total sense.  Youth Ministry utilizes a missional approach to ministry, so the church is pen-ultimate, not ultimate”.  The church, while important, isn’t the chief end.  The chief end is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, whether they be free church, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, etc.  (I acknowledge that some who I listed in that list wouldn’t full agree with my previous statement)

Is this the picture of ecclesiology in 40 years?  Where we’ll be to the point where denominations are important but they don’t matter?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. February 3, 2006 at 8:58 am

    …thus the reason that the Mission Statement of The United Methodist Church is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ.”

    :0)

    (but, well said, nonetheless)

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