The Denomination Returns Home

Smith, Carl R. “The Denomination Returns Home.” The Presbyterian Outlook 178(1):7-9, January 1-8, 1996.

In “The Denomination Returns Home,” Carl Smith believes that the main work of denominations lies in listening to and enhancing the health of local congregations. Without abandoning its traditional tasks of sending missionaries, supporting institutions and publishing literature, the denomination must intentionally partner with the parish to develop its life and ministry or risk further marginalization and decline. Partnering with congregations means serving and lifting up congregations, pastors and leaders without doing things for them. Practically speaking, this means: (1) assisting a church in changing its mission; (2) challenging campus ministries to focus on Asian, African and Latin American students to develop ethnic congregations; (3) developing new and less expensive ways of planting churches; and (4) fostering solid relationships and rapport between the congregation and its governing bodies. Partnership is the key concept, one capable even of giving guidance and focus to the denomination’s traditional work.

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