One of the biggest read posts on this blog is 'Todd Hunter' Anglicans not for me'. In some ways I'm a bit embarrassed that it gets so many hits, and perplexed why it does. Nevertheless, it is a reflection of what I was thinking while I was still in ministry during my time at the Vineyard. While I do agree with most of my thoughts ( I still don't get the need for vestments) I have some what softened.
Coming from a small and pokey denomination the Vineyard in Australia, there is much that the mainstream has to offer.
- If you are on the fringes of theology, the mainstream will more likely than not have a safe place for you. For example Episcopal's in the USA have quite a broad acceptance of different Christian theologies. I think I'd fit as some of my theologians of the moment eg Phyllis Tickle and Marcus Borg attend Episcopal Churches.
- Really good accountability and practices are across denominations. These practices are enshrined in constitutions, from independent audits, to double counting the tithe. Mind you there are always bad people who are always going to swindle others in any denomination. Its just that main stream procedures make it harder for it to happen and protect people if they follow correct protocol.
- External procedures for complaints grievances and harassment. Which are mandatory to be followed up.
- Social justice without the need/compulsion to convert
So yes there are some real bonuses of mainstream Churches. I would find it very difficult to go to any other independent or small denomination because of this.
It what I'd almost call denominational character as opposed to anointing.