I’ve been kicking around the idea/concept of multi-site churches lately. One of the questions that keeps rattling around is this: Why not simply plant a new church? Why not be indigenous?
One church here in Houston simply “bought out” another church, changed the decor and called it a new campus, complete with piped in sermons. Another church I know took over a dying congregation, repainted and called themselves multi-site, though the church was still the same church, the same people. Only now they have a new campus pastor. What’s more, there are churches that offer the chance for your church to become one of their campuses. And that’s not to mention the new phenomenon of Internet Campuses. Can you be part of a church online? What more can Internet Campuses offer besides the media (sermons and songs) side? What and how do they do it?
I go back and forth on multi-site. I can see much good in it. But I get shaky when I hear people say, “Yes, we’re a franchise of X church.” Franchise? Really?
Doesn’t the multi-site movement beg us to ask some fundamental questions? What is a church? Is it simply a place where things happen, certain services rendered? Can a preacher in Texas actually pastor a church in Chicago simply because they get a video of him each week and he shows up in person every two months? What does this say about the incarnation? What about community?
What do you think? Leave a comment or email me. I’d like to know. Part of me really wants to like the idea of multi-site churches. I want to be convinced! But so much of me sees the multi-site movement like the McDonaldlization of church.