28 June 2011

Multi-Site Churches...Good or Bad?

The whole idea of these multi-campus, multi-site churches is a confusing one.  I can see some very strong positives and some very strong negatives, mixed in with a whole bunch of gray area 'what-ifs' in the concept.

On the one hand, I'd love to sit and hear a Matt Chandler or RC Sproul or Mark Dever sermon on Sunday mornings at my local church.  We continue to be without a pastor fourteen months ongoing, and we've had fill-ins, guest speakers, an interim pastor (for a short time), and so on.  Not all the sermons have been bad, but all have been somewhat disconnected (and some of them have been pretty close to sleep medication).  We've had a few that have been gospel-centered, encouraging, and provoking (thank you, Michael Kelley...want a full-time pastorate?). So the idea of listening to one of these types of pastors on a weekly basis is very interesting. 

On the other hand, it looks to me like we are headed toward a situation with megachurches that looks like the cola wars of the 80s...a few really big churches spending millions of dollars on top celebrities trying to coax huge segments of the population to attend one of their local satellite campuses.  We'll see which pop star goes with which church.  (Hopefully, no one's hair will catch fire this time.)

You have Driscoll's church with campuses in multiple cities (mouse over the 'Locations' drop-down), expanding to more; you have Lifechurch with around fourteen campuses now (click on the 'Select Campus drop-down), and other megachurches interested in getting into the mix.  What happens when Joel Osteen decides to compete with these folks for headcount?  (Just think of the advertising budget he'd have.)  How many lost souls would that facilitate?

I still haven't decided one way or the other on the worth of these multi-site churches, but my gut feeling about them is not good. We need pastors who know their local members.  But we also need preachers who engage their congregations with in-depth gospel preaching.  Are these two things mutually exclusive?

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