What Are Non-Denomination Churches?

non-denomination-churches Credit: John Hickey-Fry/CC-BY 2.0

Non-denominational churches refer to Christian churches that are independent of the established Christian denominations. These churches are, however, traditionally protestant or are officially declared autonomous. Most non-denominational churches have unique doctrines and leadership that is not answerable to any of the established doctrinal authorities. Despite their foundation on Christian values, non-denominational churches are relatively more welcoming to people who subscribe to other beliefs.

While most of the denominational churches have strict rules that govern all their activities and undertakings, non-denominational churches tend to be more liberal and accommodative to broad spiritual concepts. As such, these churches are effective in reaching out to people in an individualized manner. The sermons and teachings given in non-denominational churches tend to embrace a blend of spiritual philosophy and the realities of modern societies under the umbrella of Christianity.

As of 2015, the growth of non-denominational churches has been tremendous. Non-denominational churches have seen a rapid rise of membership in the last four decades since 1974. The growth rate has been over 100 percent per decade. As of 2015, nearly a third of all evangelicals in the United States consider themselves non-denominational.

Some critics of non-denominational churches, such as the Boston University religion scholar Stephen Prothero, posit that these churches tend to hide the fundamental theological and spiritual issues that led to the division of Christianity into in denominations behind the veneer of Christian unity. Other critics also accuse non-denominational churches of encouraging scripture ignorance and overall religious illiteracy risking inter-denominational conflicts.