I grew up in a pretty conservative Baptist church.
I went to a Christian school through that church.
I went to Liberty University, a Baptist school.
Then after I got married we went to a couple of Baptist churches. Then we went to a non-denominational church with Baptist roots.
Then we went to an Anglican church.
Now we go to a Charismatic church.
I know that some of you reading this are shaking your heads at our decline. Others are nodding in appreciation of our open mindedness.
(I do want to say, lest you fear for my soul, that I am a strict stickler for the Word of God. If something is taught that cannot be proven by the whole counsel of Scripture then it is a false teaching. I very frequently search things out on my own to see if it is Biblical.)
I used to think that denominations are bad. That Jesus never intended them. Well, maybe He didn't intend them, I don't know. But here's how I see them now:
We all know that the Church is Christ's body. Some of us are hands and some of us are ears, etc. I believe that each small gathering of believers, (local church) is composed of all the necessary body parts.
I also think that each individual gathering of believers, (local church) is in itself a body part. Some churches are hands, some are feet, some are ears. I think this may be true within denominations, but also inter-denominationally, too. I think that we should all function together as one body. Some churches are great at reaching the lost. Others are great at edifying believers. Others reach out and minister to people's physical needs in the name of Jesus. Some are full of joy and worship. Others are solemn, bearing the sorrow of living in a sinful, broken world. Can we say that one is right and another is wrong? Maybe the ideal would be for each church to meet all the needs, but is that really feasible? I haven't really seen it happen. Churches almost always have one or two things they emphasize. But if other churches are meeting the needs, then it all balances out, right?
I think the problem with denominations comes from the dividers we allow them to put up between us.
Yes, sometimes we don't agree with some things that other churches teach. But if they teach the true gospel of Christ, then they are part of our body and we really need to learn how to get along or we'll be tripping all over ourselves. Christ's body should be graceful and well coordinated, shouldn't it?
I love the experiences I have had at these different denomination. I love seeing the Kingdom of God in all of it's variety! I love it! I would be willing to venture out and try even more denominations to see more of how God's great variety of people worship Him. It's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.