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Convention or Association of Churches

A Convention or Association of Churches is a cooperative undertaking by churches of the same or differing denominations. In a nutshell, Conventions share the same doctrine while Associations share the same vision.

Convention of Churches

Conventions are a fellowship of congregations of the same denomination but not a centralized church like (e.g. the Roman Catholic Church). Generally, Conventions have churches as members, but memberships may also be extended to individuals. Well-known Conventions of Churches include:

  • The Southern Baptist Convention (also known as Great Commission Baptists) is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States made up of nearly 50,000 autonomous Baptist churches and over 13,000,000 members.
  • The Salvation Army is a Protestant denomination based on the Holiness movement with 15,409 congregations, 26,359 ministers, and a worldwide membership of over 1.7 million comprising soldiers, officers, and adherents who are collectively known as Salvationists.
  • The American Baptist Churches USA (originally known as the Northern Baptist Convention) is made up of nearly 2,400 autonomous Baptist churches and 1,300,000 members.
  • The Kentucky Baptist Convention is a cooperative missions and ministry organization made up of nearly 2,400 autonomous Baptist churches in Kentucky and over 780,000 members.
  • The General Convention of the Episcopal Church is the highest governing body of The Episcopal Church that meets every three years.

Association of Churches

Associations are an organization of churches engaged in a cooperative undertaking to further a shared religious mission or vision but can be of differing denominations. Well-known Associations of Churches include:

  • The American Association of Lutheran Churches is an association of over 50 churches spread across more than 20 states.
  • The Association of Vineyard Churches is an association of about 2,400 neo-charismatic evangelical Christian churches spread across 95 countries.
  • The National Association of Congregational Christian Churches is an association of about 400 churches and 35,000 members providing fellowship for and services to churches from the Congregational tradition.
  • The New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC) was a group of nearly 200 theologically conservative Presbyterian churches, each of which is in varying stages of departing from the mainline Presbyterian Church. The NWAC dissolved in 2011. 
  • The Evangelical Presbyterian Church is an American church body holding to presbyterian governance and Reformed theology with over 630 congregations in association and over 125,000 members.
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“The I.R.S. examined 1.4 million individual income tax returns in 2010, about 1 percent of the total number filed. In 2018, the latest year with available data when Republicans started making these claims, audits decreased to 370,000, or about 0.2 percent… The budget office estimated increasing I.R.S. funding would return enforcement to its 2010 levels. Doing so would result in about 1.2 million more audits; of those, 583,000 would target people making less than $75,000.”

The New York Times, “Fact-Checking the Misleading Claim About 87,000 Tax Agents”, November 6, 2022

“…For example, you educate believers on national issues that are central to their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Specifically, you educate Christians on what the bible says in areas where they can be instrumental including the areas of sanctity of life, the definition of marriage, biblical justice, freedom of speech, defense, and borders and immigration, U.S. and Israel relations. The bible teachings are typically affiliated with the Republican party and candidates. This disqualifies you from exemption under IRC Section 501(c)(3).”

Stephen A. Martin, IRS Director, Exempt Organizations, Rulings and Agreements

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