Yesterday, I was part of a discussion about multi-site congregations. These are congregations that add different “sites” or “campuses” to the already existing congregation due to growth and/or a need in another community. There are many discussions that go on about this topic and many great books and articles written in discussion of the pros and cons of having multiple campuses. The Lord has seen fit to show me how to be comfortable, or at least content with the model of “church” we have. There are still some things that bother me, as I am sure do others as well, but that is for another blog. Maybe.
Some of the questions arise about the issue are good ones, such as: How is the church administration handled? How does the preaching and teaching work? How about giving and budget issues? What about church discipline? What about the raising up of future leaders and pastors?
I will not claim to be an authority on this, after all, I am not even a pastor of one congregation. All I can do is offer my observations and raise some questions of my own. First and foremost I have to admit that the conversations is a good one to have, however, the end result cannot be one is better than the other, but must be that we are all working together to achieve the same goal. That goal has nothing to do with bringing people into our specific congregations, but into the Kingdom of God. It is Jesus’ church and He is the one building her, He is the one who determines what she looks like, and we are to be faithful in responding to our King’s wishes. Whether you are planting separate congregations, or planting new campuses, multiplication is happening and the Kingdom is growing. After all, what is the Church but multi-site anyway?
One Church, many different expressions and gatherings. The Church is multi-site in nature. All of the Nations are united as one in Christ, we are talking about the Church as if she is separate, this confuses me. Why is it that we call each other brother and sister, but directly after that say things like “your church…” or “At my church we…”?
As far as the whole video preacher thing is concerned I used to be completely against it. Most leaders would say that transformation does not happen in the Sunday morning service, but in the small groups and intimate life experiences with mature believers. If the multi-sites have “campus pastors and elders” then wherever the preaching comes from is irrelevant. Don’t get me wrong, I think there is great value in a live person preaching the Word of God, especially when training up and teaching new leaders, but I think we may be making a big deal out of nothing here. After all, what is the difference in streaming live video feed with a fifteen second delay across seven campuses and the elder at the Church in Galatia reading Paul’s letter to the congregants? The power of God is not limited to time or space, it is not necessary for a man to be present in the flesh for God to use the words. Those letters that Paul wrote were obviously the Word of God back then too. Not to mention, we spend tens of thousands of dollars on Seminary degrees where we learn to write papers using the writings of people before us that are long dead.
I for one am becoming more and more attractive to the multi-site model, and want to give a formal apology to the leaders whom I have in past days thought negatively of because of multi-site and satellite campuses. I have learned a lot in the past three years, but the one thing that I have learned that will be most valuable in my life is that Jesus is the head of the Church and He is in charge of casting vision, shaping live, building the Church, and choosing what she looks like. Not me.