To be interdenominational, a church or organization subscribes to no particular Christian denomination, but does incorporate expressions stemming from several denominations. This is similar to being nondenominational, and some use the terms interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. Nondenominational churches are not affiliated with any Christian denomination whereas interdenominational churches seek to include strengths of several denominations.
What is the meaning of interdenominational?
Declaring itself interdenominational, some churches, missions organizations, or parachurch ministries desire to embrace people from many branches of orthodox Christianity, while others want to avoid oversight by a denominational hierarchy. Some people have a negative perspective toward large, institutional religion and traditional denominations. Interdenominational churches want to welcome these people who may not attend a church with a well-known affiliation.
Most interdenominational churches are independent and govern themselves internally rather than through a denominational hierarchy of accountability. Founders and leaders determine, usually, to ascribe to foundational Christian doctrine, such as the Bible's infallibility (2 Timothy 3:16–17; John 17:17) and that Jesus is the only way to salvation (John 14:6).
Leaders of interdenominational churches cite a freedom to seek and follow the Holy Spirit apart from oversight of an organization. They embrace an ability to react and act in the interests of one congregation (theirs) and avoid issues that may cause arguments and division. Such churches have leadership which may believe they can better follow Jesus' command to make disciples (Matthew 28:19–20) with flexibility and focus.
One interdenominational pastor stated, "We try to focus on the ninety percent of things that all born-again Christians agree on, and let the rest be a matter of personal conviction."
However, critics point out that such churches can be lead astray from orthodox Christianity without external oversight and authority. A threat to interdenominational churches is a weakened or watered down gospel in an effort to attract a wide array of people or prevent offending anyone regardless of their beliefs.
These churches can also suffer during difficult times with no support from higher-ups nor financial backing. Denominational leadership provides separate checks and balances, big-picture direction, and backup local leadership if needed. Interdenominational churches can have a shallow pool of preachers and elders. Sometimes, an interdenominational church can rely upon a strong pastor so heavily that it will fold if the pastor leaves or dies. Other critics say interdenominational churches usually are led by one strong leader who can wander from what is best for the church to protect his position.
The universal Church is, of course, interdenominational. Many denominations follow orthodox Christianity, hold to the central truths, and practice the tenets of the faith. None have a corner on the complete truth. Jesus didn't label one set of believers as the true followers. "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (John 6:37). Those in the Church are those "who calls upon the name of the Lord" (Acts 2:21).
The eternal residence for Christians, heaven, will be made up of those who ascribe to many different churches and denominations, from many backgrounds, and from all over the world (Revelation 5:9–10; 7:9–10).
What is the reason for all the Christian denominations?
Which churches are considered 'mainline denominations,' and why?
What does non-denominational mean? What do non-denominational churches believe?
Should a Christian be involved in the ecumenical movement?
Is church attendance important?
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