multiple site churches

jsimms435

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What do you think of this trend of churches have multiple sites? I know of one church in our area that has sites in four locations. When it comes time for the sermon they will show the main pastor who is on a big screen preaching at the main location. Otherwise, the other sites might have some staff who see to other issues at the different campus areas.
In the case of the church I am thinking of, the main campus is as much as 50 or so miles from some of the other sites.
 

Lämmchen

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What do you think of this trend of churches have multiple sites? I know of one church in our area that has sites in four locations. When it comes time for the sermon they will show the main pastor who is on a big screen preaching at the main location. Otherwise, the other sites might have some staff who see to other issues at the different campus areas.
In the case of the church I am thinking of, the main campus is as much as 50 or so miles from some of the other sites.
It doesn't sound as if their pastor can fully care for the flock when there are that many congregants in multiple locations.

I know hundreds of years ago that there would be pastors who would care for members in different towns but there weren't thousands upon thousands of people on those towns like at the multiple churches.

What is the reasoning for not calling a pastor at each one of those churches?
 

Josiah

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What do you think of this trend of churches have multiple sites? I know of one church in our area that has sites in four locations. When it comes time for the sermon they will show the main pastor who is on a big screen preaching at the main location. Otherwise, the other sites might have some staff who see to other issues at the different campus areas.
In the case of the church I am thinking of, the main campus is as much as 50 or so miles from some of the other sites.

Okay with me... AS LONG AS THERE IS AN ORDAINED, REAL LIFE PASTOR there. I don't like this "internet church" idea much.

Churches having extensions (with at least a shared honest-to-goodness pastor) is a trend coming. I suspect this is a strong trend and will increase dramatically in the future.


BTW, there's nothing new about this. In California, we have many "Missions" founded by Spanish Franciscans when California was still part of Spain. Everyone (here anyway) is familiar with the Missions themselves, but they are unaware that each had several (sometime 10 or more) extensions - small missions some distance away from the big main mission, to which they were linked. This was simply because each Mission had a HUGE territory it was responsible for and there was simply no way Natives many miles away could participate at the main mission. I know of only one of these that still exists, the Pala Mission in San Diego County, an extension of the San Luis Rey Mission. But again, every one of the Missions had several of these - they simply have not survived; the "restoring" movement only applied to the main missions and the restoration that Abraham Lincoln put into place only applied to the main missions.

Also, this was very common in Europe until very recently. For the same reason; those in the numberless small villages and rural farms simply could not travel to the town to attain the big main church there. So that church had lots of extensions, "chapels," located out in the tiny villages and countryside, served by a "vicar" or by a priest who traveled about, a "circuit rider" as we called these in the USA.

What is NEW is those that don't have a clergy at all of any kind but only video feed.
 

jsimms435

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It doesn't sound as if their pastor can fully care for the flock when there are that many congregants in multiple locations.

I know hundreds of years ago that there would be pastors who would care for members in different towns but there weren't thousands upon thousands of people on those towns like at the multiple churches.

What is the reasoning for not calling a pastor at each one of those churches?
There are site pastors at each locations, but your right that there is no way the main pastor can know much less minister to each member.
I'm not sure why those site pastors can't just preach the sermon. I'm sure in some ways they are following some type of church growth model that someone has developed. It seems that many of these type of churches are popular. I can think of three church that have multiple sites in our area. The one I last attended the pastor did a pretty good job of preaching and was very biblical. One other one I went to I thought the sermon was very watered down
 

tango

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What do you think of this trend of churches have multiple sites? I know of one church in our area that has sites in four locations. When it comes time for the sermon they will show the main pastor who is on a big screen preaching at the main location. Otherwise, the other sites might have some staff who see to other issues at the different campus areas.
In the case of the church I am thinking of, the main campus is as much as 50 or so miles from some of the other sites.
For myself I think that if the pastor of the church has more people than he can care for the church needs to seriously consider dividing so it can continue to grow. I know some churches end up with a supersenior pastor, a group of senior pastors, pastors, youth pastors, pastors in training and so on but, for me at least, that ends up becoming more like a business than a church. If a person has the title "pastor" but they aren't involved in pastoring the congregation they aren't really a pastor. If you've got a dozen senior pastors with one overarching supersenior pastor, that person probably isn't the one who you go and talk to if you need prayer for something, so it's easy to see that they aren't adding a lot of value to the organisation.

I find myself instinctively somewhat uneasy at the thought of having big video screens to show the man who is preaching, especially if he's not even physically present. The whole point of the service and the sermon is to point towards Jesus Christ, and anything that has the potential to shift the focus onto the man who is speaking is something I think we need to be very careful around.
 

Albion

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What do you think of this trend of churches have multiple sites? I know of one church in our area that has sites in four locations. When it comes time for the sermon they will show the main pastor who is on a big screen preaching at the main location. Otherwise, the other sites might have some staff who see to other issues at the different campus areas.
In the case of the church I am thinking of, the main campus is as much as 50 or so miles from some of the other sites.
Personally, I think of it as something perverted or perhaps just lazy. At the least, it reduces the effectiveness of the church by offering members half a loaf while building the name recognition and wealth of the corporation.
 

jsimms435

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Personally, I think of it as something perverted or perhaps just lazy. At the least, it reduces the effectiveness of the church by offering members half a loaf while building the name recognition and wealth of the corporation.
how is it perverted or lazy?
 

Albion

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how is it perverted or lazy?
C'mon. It's vanity at work and, in addition, it sacrifices a lot that congregations are supposed to do for and with believers.

Were this just someone's idea of a missionary work--reaching the unconverted masses somewhere with the Gospel--it might be seen differently, but not what you told us it is all about and how it operates.
 

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tango

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how is it perverted or lazy?
I don't know that I'd have used the word "perverted" - even though it could be argued that it is (based on a technical definition of what it means to pervert something) the term tends to have less savory connotations in many contexts.

It does seem lazy because a church large enough to have four different buildings spread geographically can probably afford to find four pastors to lead each church as its own entity even if they are associated. Unless, of course, it becomes all about the head honcho - the big cheese - the Senior Pastor himself. And if that's the case the church has lost its way.
 

jsimms435

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C'mon. It's vanity at work and, in addition, it sacrifices a lot that congregations are supposed to do for and with believers.

Were this just someone's idea of a missionary work--reaching the unconverted masses somewhere with the Gospel--it might be seen differently, but not what you told us it is all about and how it operates.
from what I have seen there is a emphasis also the congregation serving. It is just that instead of the church starting a lot of ministries itself they partner with groups that are already doing ministry work in the community. An example would be that a group of church member serving at the homeless shelter or the pregnancy crisis center. The benefit of having multiple sites is that it also gives church members multiple locations where they can serve such as ushering, working with children, parking lot assistance or greeters and other things. People are encouraged not to be just spectators. So, I don't see vanity as an issue here.

One example of a church that I know of that fits this description is the Northpoint Ministries led by Andy Stanley (Charles Stanley's son) in the Atlanta area. Though I have never been there. They have seven different sites http://northpointministries.org/
 

Albion

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from what I have seen there is a emphasis also the congregation serving. It is just that instead of the church starting a lot of ministries itself they partner with groups that are already doing ministry work in the community. An example would be that a group of church member serving at the homeless shelter or the pregnancy crisis center. The benefit of having multiple sites is that it also gives church members multiple locations where they can serve such as ushering, working with children, parking lot assistance or greeters and other things. People are encouraged not to be just spectators. So, I don't see vanity as an issue here.

One example of a church that I know of that fits this description is the Northpoint Ministries led by Andy Stanley (Charles Stanley's son) in the Atlanta area. Though I have never been there. They have seven different sites http://northpointministries.org/
So churches are supposed to sponsor charitable activities. Yes, and they all do. So that realization doesn't seem to me to move the needle at all when it comes to assessing these huge, multi-campus, churches you were describing to us.
 

tango

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from what I have seen there is a emphasis also the congregation serving. It is just that instead of the church starting a lot of ministries itself they partner with groups that are already doing ministry work in the community. An example would be that a group of church member serving at the homeless shelter or the pregnancy crisis center. The benefit of having multiple sites is that it also gives church members multiple locations where they can serve such as ushering, working with children, parking lot assistance or greeters and other things. People are encouraged not to be just spectators. So, I don't see vanity as an issue here.

One example of a church that I know of that fits this description is the Northpoint Ministries led by Andy Stanley (Charles Stanley's son) in the Atlanta area. Though I have never been there. They have seven different sites http://northpointministries.org/
I'm not sure that "giving people multiple places where they can serve" meaning that they can help in the parking lot is something to aim for. The people who found an "opportunity" to serve in the parking lot at a satellite church could sure find an opportunity to serve elsewhere instead, no? Otherwise you might as well just build a bunch of parking lots and run a shuttle bus so you could create multiple opportunities to serve in the parking lots and to drive the shuttle buses. It seems like creating "serving opportunites" in this context is just a way to do something that makes people feel useful without necessarily actually doing anything particularly useful.

To be honest it reminds me of a couple I knew who were off-the-scale kooky charismatics, who talked of going to high places to "break curses off the land". I never did get any concrete sense of exactly what they thought they were doing, or what they thought it achieved, or anything useful from them. It gave them something to do, they obviously felt important, but it's hard to see how it actually accomplished anything. Mind you, this was a couple who truly believed they had the authority to break the curse that God placed upon Eve when he said childbirth would be troublesome and painful. I think their attempts to break this curse when speaking to an expectant mother was about as useful as their attempts to break other curses from the land.
 

jsimms435

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I'm not sure that "giving people multiple places where they can serve" meaning that they can help in the parking lot is something to aim for. The people who found an "opportunity" to serve in the parking lot at a satellite church could sure find an opportunity to serve elsewhere instead, no? Otherwise you might as well just build a bunch of parking lots and run a shuttle bus so you could create multiple opportunities to serve in the parking lots and to drive the shuttle buses. It seems like creating "serving opportunites" in this context is just a way to do something that makes people feel useful without necessarily actually doing anything particularly useful.

To be honest it reminds me of a couple I knew who were off-the-scale kooky charismatics, who talked of going to high places to "break curses off the land". I never did get any concrete sense of exactly what they thought they were doing, or what they thought it achieved, or anything useful from them. It gave them something to do, they obviously felt important, but it's hard to see how it actually accomplished anything. Mind you, this was a couple who truly believed they had the authority to break the curse that God placed upon Eve when he said childbirth would be troublesome and painful. I think their attempts to break this curse when speaking to an expectant mother was about as useful as their attempts to break other curses from the land.
Well, not everyone has the ability or interest to teach, so having a variety of places to serve means that more people are feeling a part of what is going on. The truth is that if you have a role somehow in what happens on Sunday morning it is probably more likely that you will show up because somehow your invested in the process.
I don't really see how the example of these charismatics is helpful
 

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What do you think of this trend of churches have multiple sites? I know of one church in our area that has sites in four locations. When it comes time for the sermon they will show the main pastor who is on a big screen preaching at the main location. Otherwise, the other sites might have some staff who see to other issues at the different campus areas.
In the case of the church I am thinking of, the main campus is as much as 50 or so miles from some of the other sites.
Personally, I see this as one of the results of Religion having become a "Business" in many aspects; with a bottom line. and those seeking a "profit" far above the True Word of God that comes from a "Prophet."

As I've stated for years now... there are those called by man to the ministry, and there are those called by God. And seldom it seems the twain meet.

The Apostles appointed elders in the churches they helped establish. That is the Bible way.

Paul knew that it was not about him making a name for himself. As he instructed his son in the faith, Timothy, he told him to pass on "sound doctrine" to even others who (proven faithful by their conduct) would be able to teach others.
"the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." - 2Tim 2:2

And to Titus as well, Paul, by the Spirit, commissioned -

"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict." - Titus 1:5-9

In my experience, I've seen churches operate both ways... the way of man (which outwardly appears fruitful), and the Way of God (which produces Eternal fruit). May we have Christ's Wisdom to discern between them. And should the Lord decide to appoint any of us, may our conduct qualify us to serve our God faithfully -

"An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach." - 1Tim 3:2

:preach: :bible:

.
.
 

tango

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Well, not everyone has the ability or interest to teach, so having a variety of places to serve means that more people are feeling a part of what is going on. The truth is that if you have a role somehow in what happens on Sunday morning it is probably more likely that you will show up because somehow your invested in the process.
I don't really see how the example of these charismatics is helpful
If the only reason you're turning up to church is because it's your turn to direct people in the parking lot that really doesn't say a whole lot about the church. Not everybody is able to teach but it's not as if creating "opportunities to serve" in the parking lot does a whole lot to develop the people who could be doing something else with the time. You know, like serving the community in a way that actually makes a big difference to someone's life.

When something needs doing the church needs to find willing volunteers. Creating jobs that need doing just so more people get an "opportunity to serve" seems like they might as well encourage one person to dig holes in the ground while encouraging another person to follow the first person and fill in the holes.

The kooky charismatics were just another example of doing something that sounds good but doesn't actually accomplish anything of any use to anyone.
 

jsimms435

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Personally, I see this as one of the results of Religion having become a "Business" in many aspects; with a bottom line. and those seeking a "profit" far above the True Word of God that comes from a "Prophet."

As I've stated for years now... there are those called by man to the ministry, and there are those called by God. And seldom it seems the twain meet.

The Apostles appointed elders in the churches they helped establish. That is the Bible way.

Paul knew that it was not about him making a name for himself. As he instructed his son in the faith, Timothy, he told him to pass on "sound doctrine" to even others who (proven faithful by their conduct) would be able to teach others.
"the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." - 2Tim 2:2

And to Titus as well, Paul, by the Spirit, commissioned -

"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict." - Titus 1:5-9

In my experience, I've seen churches operate both ways... the way of man (which outwardly appears fruitful), and the Way of God (which produces Eternal fruit). May we have Christ's Wisdom to discern between them. And should the Lord decide to appoint any of us, may our conduct qualify us to serve our God faithfully -

"An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach." - 1Tim 3:2

:preach: :bible:

.
.
sounds like your judging another person's motives there.
 

tango

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sounds like your judging another person's motives there.
I don't think it's even remotely unreasonable to express concern at churches that look more like businesses, especially when they start to generate a more complex hierarchy of people within the church.

If a pastor's job is to nurture his congregation then it's not a big stretch to argue that he can't do his job once the church grows beyond a certain size. If his job shifts so it's more about the senior pastor managing the pastors, who in turn manage the junior pastors, who actually do the work of caring for the congregation, one has to wonder why the church doesn't divide into smaller churches with each led by a junior pastor (the ones currently doing the work) and dispensing with the layers of people notionally called "pastor" who aren't actually doing much pastoring.
 

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sounds like your judging another person's motives there.

Just stating what I've seen in my years visiting and personal involvement with many churches across this nation since last Century.
Motives are known by the fruit of ones life and ministry. And this has nothing to do with numbers.

And as disciples of our Lord, we actually are told to judge those inside the churches, especially the word that is being taught.
As those who will one Day "judge men and angels" we are called to have discernment now and to "rightly judge." Paul continues in his epistle, "For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 13 God will judge those outside." (1Cor 5:12-13)

Now I know that God can use any, even a deceived pastor, to reach His Elect that are scattered, and largely unnoticed, among the large congregations and cause the remnant to receive His Truth regardless of the fluff being preached.
Personally, I do not judge the individual speaking so much as I judge the word that he speaks, and discern the spirit behind his words. (And yes, I am using only the male pronoun here purposely.)

In Revelation, Jesus commends the church for their testing of those behind the pulpits. "you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars." (Rev 2:2). The faithful must judge what is being preached; and the motive is usually easy to discern.

A flashy or well known ministry that "has a name that it is alive" may in fact be "dead" in God's sight. Again, Jesus tells us, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

The Apostle John admonishes the Elect, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1John 4:1)

I know this Word is foreign to most in the assemblies today, in which humanism has gained a stronghold; but it is Bible. :bible:
 

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Here is what seems the most obvious to me about this phenomenon. There are many very successful churches--congregations--that have started other congregations somewhere else. Often it's in another part of their city. There's nothing special about that and most of us consider the practice to be good. BUT that is not what these monster churches we were asked to comment on are doing. No, they seem more than willing to build Earthly kingdoms, monuments to their own glory, by doing what they are doing. And they are short-changing (in a spiritual sense) the people who come to these satellite churches.
 
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