Thursday, October 22, 2009

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.

What to think of multi-site church campuses?

Doubtless, you're familiar with a trend in church growth. Instead of planting new churches, many churches are instead opening up another "campus," where those who assemble typically watch the preaching done at the main campus via live feed or rebroadcast.

What should we think of the practice?

There are obviously reasons to do it that way. For example, you can keep control over the doctrine and practice over the new group. You have name recognition, of the church and/or preacher, that will draw a crowd.

But, aren't there drawbacks as well?

Why not take the 6 greatest preachers in a denomination and offer to broadcast them into each church, instead of having some 2nd rate pastor labor through sermon construction amid his other duties?

Seriously, can you imagine how much time would be available if a pastor didn't have to preach that Sunday morning sermon?

What is lost in that approach? You could say you lose the ability for the pastor to really shepherd those people. But I've long since held that's going to be the case in a mega church anyway, where the pastors/elders are not really able to effectively shepherd the masses of people whose names they don't even know.

Of course, in the typical mega church the folks are already watching the preacher on a screen, so does it matter if it's live or if he's really in the building?

Anyone have firsthand experience in the multisite church? Your thoughts? What were the pros? the cons?

Personally, I'm not a fan of the multisite church idea, but the more I think about it, the more I come to realize it's really the mega church approach that I don't like, not just the multisite approach.

Here's a Christianity Today LINK to various responses to the following question:
"Should Multisite Campuses Be Church Plants Instead?"



At 22 October, 2009 07:18, Blogger samurai said...

Not a big fan of the "multi-campus" deal for the same reasons you outlined already.

At 22 October, 2009 08:01, Anonymous Rod Russell said...

To be frank, I visited a church that was in this style. Personally, I was rather disheartened to the "movie screen". If I wanted to watch a sermon on a screen, there is the television and Internet available. I would rather have personal contact to the sermon. In fact, my experience was more like watching a daily talk show. There was a message, but nothing more than idle chatter with people sitting comfortably. Is that what "religion" is becoming? It is looking more and more like an replication of Oprah.

At 22 October, 2009 08:46, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although we are 'able' to worship via the Jumbotron...why, oh why, would we WANT to?!

Sure we are lambs in His fold...but techni-sheep? I don't think so...not gonna do it.

Mark Fee

At 22 October, 2009 09:53, Blogger Young Wife said...

I agree with you. I do not like mega-churches or multi-site churches. Frankly, if we're going to take it that far, why shouldn't people just stay at home and watch a sermon on TV? With these mega-churches, no one notices if you stop coming, and statistics show large churches are worse at taking care of their members with chronic illnesses than small ones. I'm sure that sounds like a random fact, but it's close to my heart.

At 22 October, 2009 11:29, Anonymous Lionel Woods said...

Gunny, here are some thoughts from a Simple/Organic dude :o)

1. This assumes that preaching (which first I don't agree with non-interactive 45 minute to 1 hour monlogues, which say my preaching is correct so you don't need to interact with it just do what I say and believe what I teach) is static, versus relational. Gunny you know the Providence folks, that means you know what needs they have and what may need to be taught and you can be flexible in that teaching, thus being able to shape their hearts and minds more directly.

2. This assumes that "preaching" is synonymous with "pastoring" and this is like me saying that bringing home my paycheck is fathering and being a husband. Is "preaching" (which as far as I can tell is usually the proclamation of the good news to the lost) pastoring? Absolutely not, as a matter of fact preaching apart from relationship may be counterproductive to Christian development. We are not void of good information in America, but shepherding/discipleship is lacking, even amongst "reformed" folks. I can do what happens in most pulpits on my own, as a matter of fact, why not have Aturo Azurdia and Llyod Jones broadcasted in each building (add Piper and MacArthur and Ferguson) sprinkle in someone repreaching Spurgeon messages and wipe the rest of the preachers out? Okay give me some Keller also, but thats it.

3. Most important, lives are transformed by adequate teaching lived out. Paul ALWAYS says "follow me as I follow Christ" or "What you have seen and heard in me you do" or "like a mother we nurtured you" or "like a father we admonished you" or "you don't have many fathers do you" or "follow our example" or "follow the example of your leaders". If I can't mimic your life, then you are not my pastor. I don't care how well you teach. Lives are transformed through modeling, If I came home and wrote my children a letter of do's and do not's and then went in the room and locked the door, people would call me a horrible dad/leader. These men who proclaim behind a screen is doing exactly that. They are transferring information that is to be modeled more than proclaimed. Discpleship in the church happens over meals, close encouters, interaction, touching, and modeling. Anything beyond that has no biblical witness and should be avoided.

4. Finally, we live in a celeberity culture and this has found its way in "sound churches". We mock Joel, but many of the other men are doing the same thing, they are celeberties and you and I know Gunny when they come they demand the best of accomadations. They sound nothing like Paul does in 2 Corinthians 11 but they demand the same respect and honor. Its hypocritical Gunny and is one reason I began to be turned off. One man would joke about Olsteen but do the very thing, he just happened to be cool with the Who's who of the Reformed faith.

To add one more thing. This breaks down the giftedness in the local church. This man who are "campus pastors" sounds like men who have the task of parenting a family as a contractor of a Polygamist. Its like me coming home and I can only do a few things because the real dady is giving direction from New York, I just help him out. Bogus!!!! There are many gifted men who have to take a back seat because they lack the oratory, or at least the popularity of other men who are cabled in. Heck, if I am going to cable anyone in, it would be the greats from the early to mid 20th century, all these other dudes are their clones :o)

At 22 October, 2009 22:16, Blogger Rev. said...

I've seen this phenomenon erupting in Baptist life. Ironic thing is, the "multi-campus" approach is very similar what the early Church practiced when implementing episcopacy (minus the jumbo screens and including a lot of travel by the 'senior pastor'/bishop).

At 22 October, 2009 22:36, Blogger GUNNY said...

Lots of good thoughts. Thanks for the feedback, Samurai and Rod.

Mark, "techni-sheep" ... I suggest you market that and use it as a book title ... before someone else does.

YW, good points on the benefits of a smaller community. I did not know that.

Rev, I think you're right in that similarity. I was thinking to myself, "Self, at what point does it become its own denomination?"

Of course, you'd have to appreciate the irony when this happens among Baptists and for all intents and purposes the autonomy of the local church is lost.

Lionel, good points, as usual, especially about the celebrity status some have attained ... and enjoy.

I particularly found the following food for thought: "If I can't mimic your life, then you are not my pastor."

Of course, that cuts both ways, whereby there is the potential for mutual culpability. You can't shepherd what you can't see/find.


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