Recently, 9Marks asked that question to six pastors: three Presbyterian, one Methodist, one Bible Church and one Baptist. Yours truly is the Baptist. We were given 150-250 words with which to craft an answer. My response is copied below. To read the rest, check out the 9Marks Pastors’ Forum.
Are denominations worth it? That depends on what your definition of “it” is. It is obviously valuable to cooperate for common causes that are germane to their mission. The New Testament points to the financial cooperation of churches in Macedonia, Achaia and Galatia (1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:1-7), the doctrinal cooperation between the churches in Jerusalem and Antioch (Acts 15:1-35), and the missionary cooperation referenced in2 Corinthians 8:19. So cooperation among local churches is obviously biblical and can be beneficial in many practical ways.
However, such cooperation is not dependent on any particular denominational structure. That has never been truer than in our present day of instant and multi-faceted communication. The emergence of so many affinity networks among churches over the last ten years is a testimony to that.
A denomination of churches, such as the Southern Baptist Convention to which my church belongs, is not a church and thus lacks ecclesial authority. But it can still be “worth it” to the extent that it helpfully assist churches by providing avenues for cooperative ventures in a wide variety of ministry opportunities.