Continuing with my journey into becoming a multisite church fan. You can catch up by reading Part 1 and Part 2. Also be sure to check out the Leadership Network's recent multisite church score card to reference some of the stats I mention
My experience in ministry had changed me in a few different ways: mainly, I was much less cynical and I had a new desire to become a better leader.
These changes led me to re-evaluate how I viewed church models - moving from a strictly ideal/theological stance to a more pragmatic approach - something that was severely missing from a few years previous!
As our church continued to dream about what being a church that planted new churches looked like, I began to think about how we would actually do this: would it be a la Neil Cole where we'd simply start a simple church using his LTG model (which I still think is a fantastic way to plant the Gospel in communities!) OR would it be a franchise like we've seen LifeChurch.TV do where each campus is very much like the original?
My position began much closer to the more common, "planting" approach - where a couple of people would be commissioned to go and plant a church with the sending congregation helping out with some prayer, people and finances along the way (or something like that). I figured that this was probably the best option because it allowed the planters to be very much contextualized to their communities. It also freed the new church from bringing along any baggage from the sending one - systems, thought patterns, traditions, sacred cows, etc.
Regarding this, Andy Stanley once said, "The reason church planting is so en vogue, is that people love the ability to create their own problems." As evidence has shown, new, planted churches, do have a greater impact on reaching the unchurched than established ones do - and I think being able to leave your old problems at the door is one reason why they're successful in that area!
While the planting option does have a lot going for it, I began to look at the multisite church movement a bit more - this obviously wasn't a fad and the numbers of new multisite churches continue to sky-rocket - to see if there were some redeeming factors with it.
My issues stemmed from a few pre-conceived ideas I had formed over time including:
I don't believe that multisite is the best model for a church, nor do I think that it should even be attempted by some churches. I do have some concerns with becoming TOO pragmatic and minimizing some ecclesiastical elements to a fault.
I am however pretty convinced now that it just might be a great model to inject life and spiritual vitality in rural communities. The final post will address why I am a fan of multisite!
Like what you see? Please share it with your friends on all the social networks!
I am a pastor in rural Manitoba that is passionate about the church, leadership, coffee and bicycles.