Rather than simply answer in the comments section to Dan’s post about “What Keeps You In Your Church Tradition?,” I have decided to reply via a post and offer it as my own personal answer (because I have in fact been asked this very question at other times). I decided three was a rather Biblical sounding number…so that should make this a very spiritual response.
First, I remain in my fellowship/tradition (the Assemblies of God) because it is where my deepest roots and greatest familiarity lay. By that, I mean to say, I am most fully aware of the church structures and practices of this particular tradition. I am well integrated into this tradition as well as being heavily networked with other A/G churches, ministries and ministers. There is something to be said about the knowability factor. Were I to join another tradition it would mean moving into unknown waters. This may seem a rather pragmatic approach, but, hey, this is reality.
Second, I am kept in my tradition by its Pentecostal confession and practice. I am unabashedly Pentecostal. I believe God desires to empower His Church via the rich outpouring of Christ’s Spirit. I believe in the continuing demonstration of the ministry of the Spirit in and through the communion of saints. I remain because the A/G emphasizes this desire and passion for God’s Spirit to glorify Christ in and among us (even if at times we have not followed through either as genuine practitioners of the life of the Spirit or have simply gone wacko and blamed it on the Spirit). I still fully believe God’s Spirit is at work in the wider Church and see the A/G as playing (hopefully) a pivotal role in seeing the Spirit poured out in greater measure on all varieties of congregations and traditions. I have told Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans and Catholics…pentecostal experience of the Spirit is no respecter of denominational boundaries.
Third, and finally, I remain in the Assemblies because of missions. This tradition stated from its inception that we are committed to “the greatest evangelization the world has ever seen”. We remain committed to this and have continued to demonstrate it through our unprecedented mission program. I am thrilled to be a part of a fellowship and tradition that makes its aim to reach the lost with the good news of the Kingdom.
So, how is that for my answer to the question Dan posed? What are your thoughts on this?