multi site church?

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21centpilgrim
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multi site church?

Post by 21centpilgrim » Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:40 pm

So i have an uneasiness about 'one church- man locations' but my personal uneasiness is no barometer of what is healthy.

Have any of you have any thoughts about this?
Why not send out people to plant a local church elsewhere?
Are small groups that happen within a larger body multi-site?
Isn't it then just a small version of a denomination?
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.

Singalphile
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Re: multi site church?

Post by Singalphile » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:48 pm

My brief thoughts:

It seems like we should be "one Church, many locations". What's the alternative?
21centpilgrim wrote:Why not send out people to plant a local church elsewhere?
I don't see any significant difference.
21centpilgrim wrote:Are small groups that happen within a larger body multi-site?
I guess you could say so. I'm not sure that location(s) and site(s) really matter that much relative to other factors.
21centpilgrim wrote:Isn't it then just a small version of a denomination?
Not necessarily.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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jaydam
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Re: multi site church?

Post by jaydam » Mon Aug 31, 2015 1:46 am

Having been in a very large mutli site church, and subsequently having left, there are a few issues that I see.

The multi site church inherently covers multiple demographics. Having one message to cover them all means that the pastor who is projected into all the sites gives really a generic, overarching sermon. If each site was an independent gathering with its own pastor, the message could be tailored to meet the dynamics of that specific group of people.

The "head" pastor cannot know the pulse of his congregation. No man can personally know 7,000 people. Therefore, can the man really say he is pastoring any specific persons in his congregation besides the privileged elite who are the "inner" circle leaders and "get" to be friends of the top pastor? The pastor at the multi site mega church I attended probably could not say he had actually pastored a congregant in decades.

People who should be pastors are lost in the ranks of leader minions. Toeing the party line as the head pastor steers the direction of the church, rather than these budding pastors being able to share their unique, individual messages.

I believe the multi site church is really a sign of selfish and power hungry leaders. They are unwilling to send out a team of new pastors to start new churches in another area, without it being under the original pastors control. The top pastor wants to control all the locations and stifles the emergence of independent new leaders - who are really seen as a threat.

As I've formed a bit of a home church, the reaction from my old friends in the multi site empire was that they could not understand why I would start "competing" with the megachurch. The whole idea of competing churches is wrong.

Before I left the multi site church, I enjoyed travelling and just checking out various churches, and seeing the differing expressions of the body of Christ. Great pressure was exerted on me by "my" megachurch that this was almost akin to "cheating" on my church. The possessiveness and jealousy of these churches was crazy.

The dilemma: I have really come to despise the multi site/megachurch monster. However, the average attendee who isn't looking for more than a canned sermon doesn't see the same problems. The church style can pool lots of money, and for the attendee that means great programs to entertain the kids, paid child care during meetings rather than having to put in volunteer hours, lots of money to make meetings into catered dinners instead of having to cook for a potluck gathering, cool brochures, etc. The money the church pulls in makes for an appealing package to the generic congregant.

These are consideration that having talked to various multi site church ex-congregants I believe are typical to the church style.

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TheEditor
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Re: multi site church?

Post by TheEditor » Mon Aug 31, 2015 11:13 am

And thus the spirit of Babylon prevails. "Where two are gathered together there I am also." I see no gaurantee that He will be there where 2,000 are gathered--He certainly could be, but it seems the spirit of the flesh takes over as churches try to carve out their piece of the Kingdom. What is wrong with a simple association of brothers that meet for fellowship? If all believers united around their following of Christ, couldn't they work together to accomplish something as the need arises, rather than having to have a "thing" called a "church" which they can kvell in pride over as the world looks on? I have heard this "competing" argument before. When I was a JW they discouraged small groups from meeting together because we were accused of "usurping" the duties of the Governing Body of JWs. I wonder if your average churchgoer realizes that they emulate the same spirit that many members of cultic organizations have?

Regards, Brenden.

[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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TK
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Re: multi site church?

Post by TK » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:59 pm

I attend a multi-site church. I think we have about 8 campuses, including one in Nairobi and one in the state women's prison.

In general each of the campuses hear the same message- at first not having the pastor live at my campus bugged me but I am used to it now.

Each campus has their own campus pastor who also preach from time to time.

Life groups are very strongly encouraged. I think by last count about 75% of the congregation belong to a life group which I think is pretty good. Life groups can decide what they want to study within reason.

Volunteering to serve in some area is very strongly encouraged. Most of the congregation serves in some capacity.

To be 100% honest I am not a huge fan of the model, but I can say that in my church it is administrated very well.

The reason I am not a huge fan is because as a practical matter they are a slave to the "program." If revival broke out in the 9:00 am service it would have to come to end by the time the 11:00 am service starts. In other words, it is very difficult for any freedom to change direction as the HS leads.

But this is a problem in probably 90% of the churches, not just mine and including churches with just one location and one service.

Singalphile
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Re: multi site church?

Post by Singalphile » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:57 pm

The health of any group of Christians probably has little to do with where they meet. My own experience is that the real fellowship happens where there are personal relationships and interactions, which pretty much requires a smaller group of people. But that doesn't mean that we can't meet in a big group and listen to somebody give a lecture once a week (in person or video, whatever). Nothing necessarily wrong with that. And so I see no particular problem with a multi-site church. Your situation sounds pretty good, TK.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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dwight92070
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Re: multi site church?

Post by dwight92070 » Tue Aug 16, 2022 2:10 pm

Another name for a multi-site church is a mega-church. Traditional churches with a church building have many problems. The megachurch simply magnifies all of those problems. I know of no place in scripture where a church building is mentioned. Jesus said, " ...upon this rock I will build My church.", but He never commanded His followers to erect a building for them to meet in.

In Acts 2:41-42, when Peter preached on the feast of Pentecost, about 3,000 new believers were added to the church. Were they AT ALL concerned about where all these new Christians were going to meet? NO, not at all. Where DID they meet? Verse 42 says, "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer." Verse 46 say, "Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, ..." Many of the 3000 were from out of town and even from other countries. They had come for the Feast of Pentecost. So when they returned to their homes, there was no Temple for them to meet in. The temple was ONLY in Jerusalem. So where could they meet? ONLY in each other's homes.

However, while they were in Jerusalem, the Jewish Temple was still standing (until 70 A.D.), so they met and fellowshipped there, but they were primarily meeting in the homes of other believers in Jerusalem. They had meals together and rejoiced that they were now saved. Then later Peter preached a 2nd time in Acts 3:12-26. After this sermon, there were 5,000 more who believed. Now there were over 8,000 believers, not including women and children. Where could they all meet? Yes, the temple, but again, PRIMARILY IN HOMES.

Did Peter ever command the people to build a church building? Did Paul? No, NEVER. Did they ever lease a building or several buildings, so they could meet regularly? No, there's no mention of that. The closest thing to that is the school of Tyrannus in Acts 19:9, where Paul met with believers, because of the negative reaction toward him in a synagogue. The first church building was a home converted to a church in the mid - 200's A.D.

What are the problems with a church building? Many! First of all, the true church is organic, i.e. it is comprised of living "organisms" to quote the dictionary. Peter called the body of Christ "living stones being built up as as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood" in 1 Peter 2:5. The true church was never, and is not now a physical building. Second, how is a church building paid for, and who owns it, and who is responsible for maintaining it? Unless one wealthy man covers the cost, now you have to take out a loan (a LARGE loan) and commit ALL of the people coming to that building to help pay it off. Sometimes, this is why church leaders want to get visitors to become "members" of that church, so that they will commit themselves to being another responsible person to pay off the loan. Some churches even require a pledge from their members that they will pay off the loan. Third, now a very large portion of tithes and offerings, besides going to salaries for the "staff", goes to maintain and pay off the building loan. Fourth, depending on how big the building is, you will need to hire maintenance men, or plea for volunteers to do the work of keeping up or maintaining the building. Fifth, to be good stewards of the building, the "church" decides that the building should be used several times throughout the week, not just once or twice. So programs must be created to use the building during the week as well. More programs require either more volunteers or more paid "leaders". Sixth, in a church building, your success as a ministry is determined by whether or not you can fill it up with people each Sunday or not. In fact, if the crowd gets so large that you have to buy another building, then you know God's approval is on you. On the other hand, if the crowd dwindles on Sunday, leaving half or more of the seats vacant, then you know something is wrong and you must look for ways to attract the crowd back. Maybe paying professional musicians and singers and flashing beautiful pictures on screens behind you, would draw the people. Or maybe if you invite "celebrity" believers to be guest speakers or singers, like Franklin Graham, or Amy Grant. Invite Christian bands to perform, or maybe a motivational speaker could come. I know, how about if we create a HUGE Christmas play and concert, and then another one for Easter???

A traditional church in a building quickly turns into a man-made and a man-maintained organization. Mega-churches are traditional churches on steroids. Too often, the CENTER of megachurches is the founder of the "church", and NO, I'm not talking about Jesus, unfortunately. These "pastors" often become a cult-like leader, where everything must pass through them, and everything revolves around them. They become the new "Jesus". They are building THEIR kingdom and cannot relinquish control of it to anyone else. ALL the other location sites MUST hear their sermon and see THEIR face. Instead of allowing a "branch" church to be autonomous, the SENIOR pastor, i.e. the founder, must be in charge of all of them. It's not sufficient for the "founder" alone to be called pastor or senior pastor, often times the founders wife is also called "pastor" or "co-pastor", regardless of what the Bible says are the qualifications to be a pastor or elder, that they must be a man. Sunday school teachers become paid positions, choir directors or music directors must be paid positions. Many paid staff "pastors" or directors are hired. There should be a "pastor" for every need: one for the Sunday School, one for the children's ministry, one for outreach, one for music, one for the worship team, one for recovering addicts, one for singles, one for the elderly, one for divorce people, one for the drama team, etc. etc. etc.

IMO, these in no way resemble the true church. We have put the Biblical pattern on the shelf, and have gone the way of Hollywood and secular corporations, and have ceased to produce good fruit, or at least there is not much of it.

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steve
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Re: multi site church?

Post by steve » Tue Aug 16, 2022 3:18 pm

21centpilgrim wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:40 pm
So i have an uneasiness about 'one church- many locations' but my personal uneasiness is no barometer of what is healthy.

Have any of you have any thoughts about this?
Why not send out people to plant a local church elsewhere?
Are small groups that happen within a larger body multi-site?
Isn't it then just a small version of a denomination?

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Homer
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Re: multi site church?

Post by Homer » Tue Aug 16, 2022 7:05 pm

The multiple campus church smacks of someone who has an ego problem and/or a desire to control others.

On the other hand the ownership of a meeting place can facilitate the work of the kingdom. The church we attend has a modest assembly room and a few classrooms and also owns an old house adjoining the property where men in recovery ("Celebrate Recovery" program) can live for free. Also Celebrate Recovery uses the church facilities, led by church members.

Long ago when I had to travel for business, visit relatives in another state, or we were on vacation, it was good to be able, on Sunday, to find the location of a church (building) to assemble with the saints. Mennonite, Church of Christ, Baptist, Assembly of God, we always felt welcome. This would be difficult to do if there were only home churches. If not for church buildings, where would the stranger know to go?

Dwight, I sympathize with much of what you wrote but it is difficult to know whether the early Christians could have had dedicated places to assemble while under the tremendous persecution of the time. It seems this is true of Christians today in China, for example. And Paul seems to have headed to the synagogue wherever he went.

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dwight92070
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Re: multi site church?

Post by dwight92070 » Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:26 pm

Homer wrote:
Tue Aug 16, 2022 7:05 pm
The multiple campus church smacks of someone who has an ego problem and/or a desire to control others.

On the other hand the ownership of a meeting place can facilitate the work of the kingdom. The church we attend has a modest assembly room and a few classrooms and also owns an old house adjoining the property where men in recovery ("Celebrate Recovery" program) can live for free. Also Celebrate Recovery uses the church facilities, led by church members.

Dwight - I know there are some good churches with a church building, but one always has to beware of signs of veering away from Christianity to Churchianity.

Long ago when I had to travel for business, visit relatives in another state, or we were on vacation, it was good to be able, on Sunday, to find the location of a church (building) to assemble with the saints. Mennonite, Church of Christ, Baptist, Assembly of God, we always felt welcome. This would be difficult to do if there were only home churches. If not for church buildings, where would the stranger know to go?

Dwight - I would do what you did and go to one of those churches, meet some devoted believers, and ask them if they know of any home churches in the area, especially if I was going to be there awhile. If I was moving there, I would probably attempt to start one.

Dwight, I sympathize with much of what you wrote but it is difficult to know whether the early Christians could have had dedicated places to assemble while under the tremendous persecution of the time.

Dwight - That may be true, but even if there was no persecution, they were much better off in homes. Today, at least for now, we don't have that limitation of extreme persecution.

It seems this is true of Christians today in China, for example.

Dwight - Of course, the underground church has no choice.

And Paul seems to have headed to the synagogue wherever he went.

Dwight - Yes, Paul was primarily going after the souls of the Jews, so of course he would go to the synagogues. But whenever they would "kick him out", where did he go? Christians homes or anyone who would invite him in.

Dwight - Meeting in homes has another advantage. You can only fit so many people in the average home. So the (overflow) body of Christ is forced to meet in another home with another qualified pastor. That's terrific. There's little chance of it becoming a megachurch. The more people that show up, the more need there is for another (or several) homechurches. But as soon as some charismatic man in the group says, "I'll think I will get my own followers (and there will always be some) and we'll build a large church and fill the place up, until there's no more room." "Then we'll build an even larger building!" The beginning of that man's fall.

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