Why Isn’t Good News Church a Member of a Denomination?

October 4, 2019 Mario Villella Organization


One issue I’ve been asked about countless times over the last several years is the relationship between Good News Church and any existing denomination. I tell people that we are not a part of a denomination, and I would guess that the vast majority of people are happy with that answer. Denominations are not particularly popular in our culture right now, and it seems that some people even smile and breathe a sigh of relief to know that we aren’t beholden to some group of people somewhere. (I would guess that the people who smile the biggest and sigh the loudest are the people who’ve had some kind of bad experience with some denomination in the past.)

Here are 3 reasons why we are not a part of a denomination:

1. We weren’t started by a denomination.  In other words, we’ve never been affiliated with one.  It’s not like we have some history where we used to be Methodist, but we got angry with them and left the denomination. We’ve just never been a part of one. 

There are many denominations that send out church planters and fund the starting of new churches. In exchange for the funding and support, these denominations expect that the new church will be a part of their denomination.  Good News Church has never accepted any kind of denominational support like this.

2. It isn’t necessary.  This is important to know if you happen to be in the 2%* of people who are hard-core supporters of denominations. While there probably are many strengths and advantages that come with being affiliated with a denomination, it’s important to realize that the Bible doesn’t command it. The Bible doesn’t speak of denominations as we know of them. What we call “denominations” came way later in church history.  So, to be a nondenominational church doesn’t break any sort of Biblical rule.

3. We aren’t against it, but it just doesn’t seem helpful for what we are trying to do.  Well, maybe we are against it, depending on who the “we” is. I don’t know what every member or even what every leader in our church believes about this issue. Maybe some of them think being a part of denomination is sinful or unwise. But I will speak only for myself here. I don’t think there is anything wrong with churches affiliating with other churches - whether you call it a denomination, a network, or an association. However, in our particular case, it’s never really seemed to be advantageous for us to do so. Like I said earlier, many people are relieved when they find out that we are not a member of a denomination.  And if we put up the word “Baptist” or the word “Reformed” or something like that onto our church sign… I’m pretty sure it would cause us to reach fewer people rather than more.

Additionally, being a part of no denomination has been helpful for us when we preach.  For instance, earlier this year I preached a couple of sermons on the hot topics of “baptism” and “predestination.” And in both sermons, I was able to explain multiple views on the topic without making the views that I disagree with sound stupid or substandard. And that kind of preaching is harder to pull off in a denominational church, because there is such a strong pull to tow the party line.

We are a church that has quite a bit of theological diversity found among our people. We’ve got former Catholics, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Calvary Chapel, Church of Christ, people who’ve never been a part of a church before they found Good News, and maybe even a person who thinks they are still a Lutheran even though they’ve attended our church for seven years! And we are fine with all of that.

*Note: I just made up this 2% number. The number of people who love denominations might be more or less.
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Mario Villella

Lead Pastor & Elder

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