Although Sunrise is a free standing and fully independent church, Sunrise has chosen to associate with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Why Southern Baptist?
Southern Baptists firmly hold to the principle of church autonomy or self-rule. The Southern Baptist Convention does not ordain ministers, assign staff to churches, levy contributions to denominational causes, dictate literature and calendar, or assign persons to churches according to place of residence. These are local church matters.
Southern Baptists are wary of interdenominational councils. While Southern Baptists work with other churches on common interests matters such as marriage, abortion or pornography, and join in ministry efforts with like-minded Baptists around the world, they do not enter into covenants with others who wish to speak for them. The convention is an alliance of churches working in friendly cooperation under the heading ‘Southern Baptist.’ A Southern Baptist church is about as independent as you can get and still be counted as part of a denomination.
Why belong to a denomination?
Well, denominations give churches a way to collectively express their vision. In a free land as ours, it is natural that churches would take the opportunity to identify with like-minded churches. Denominations allow churches to be a part of a larger enterprise and advance Great Commission work. A denomination can have an impact larger than the sum of the impacts if the individual churches. The Bible pictures financial and operational cooperation among New Testament churches, and virtually all churches cooperate with some fashion or another. Southern Baptists have merely formalized that spiritually-natural phenomenon, and God has blessed their blend of freedom and cooperation.
Within the Body of Christ, there is a great diversity of gifts, temperament, taste, and experience. Churches benefit from this range of qualities within their own fellowship and across the denomination. Churches learn from and complement each other. This is not a matter of moral or doctrinal compromise. You cannot believe and do just anything and remain a part of the Southern Baptist fellowship. All Baptist bodies have limits. But within those limits, there is room for significant cooperative diversity. While there is a place for biblical separation, a coming apart for the sake of holiness, separation can go to extremes. No church is perfect. Each will have sinful and wasteful features. The same goes for denominations. Just as with churches, denominations must find their way between putting up with anything and fighting over everything. There are rocks on both sides and the need for a great deal of patience as we chart our course between them.