Can a Denomination Become a Movement?

Stories, struggles, and best practices of leading denominations toward a multiplication movement.

May 25, 2023


Are you a denominational leader longing for a disciple-making and church multiplying movement amongst the leaders you oversee? Have you ever wondered if a denomination could become a movement again? It’s a big question, but the answer is yes, it’s possible. In a recent conversation, Dr. Ed Love and Dr. Larry Walkemeyer discuss their practical experience for how denominations can become movements again.

Shift In Mindset

First and foremost, denominations need to shift from a preservation mindset to a multiplication movement mindset. This means being open to change, willing to revise old practices, and starting new ones. It’s not an easy road, but it’s necessary if we want to see denominations become movements again. 

Creating space for movement to happen is crucial. Denominational leaders need to make room for mavericks, those who are willing to push ahead in innovative and creative ways. Apostolic leaders are often mavericks, and they are the ones who will carry the movement forward. When top-down and bottom-up leadership work together, that’s when movements can happen.

It’s important to recognize that movements are not always neat and tidy. They can be chaotic and messy, but that’s okay. Chaos is necessary for movement to happen. It’s okay to let go of some control and allow the movement to take on a life of its own.

Movement DNA

Denominations also need to revive their DNA, their history of movement. Almost every denomination has had a history of movement, and it’s up to current leaders to revive that DNA and use it to propel the denomination forward. It’s about capturing the momentum and using it to create a movement once again.

Almost every denomination has had a history of movement, and it’s up to current leaders to revive that DNA and use it to propel the denomination forward.

Having faith and vision that a denomination can become a movement again is crucial. Without that faith and vision, it’s a non-starter. But when leaders believe that it’s possible, when they see the potential for change and renewal, that’s when movements can happen.

By being part of a larger community—a larger network, individuals can contribute to a greater cause and help resource other churches. One of the advantages of being part of a network of churches is the ability to raise up leaders who can help resource the movement.

It’s important to remember that we’re all in this together and that we’re family. When things get tough, we don’t break up and go our separate ways. We stick it through and see the long term vision. Denominational leaders play a crucial role in supporting church planning networks. By going through an intentional process, keeping mutual relationships primary, and voluntary submission in mind, we can handle the messiness in a healthy way and keep moving forward.

Denominations can become movements again by making fundamental changes in mindset and practice, creating space for movement, and reviving their DNA. To watch the full conversation, watch below.

*2ND COHORT ADDED* — If you are a denominational leader and would like to join Larry Walkemeyer and a group of peers for a learning community journey of how your denomination can become a movement again, visit this page.

Full Video Conversation

Resources shared from the Can a Denomination Become a Movement? conversation:

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