September 30, 2008
Doesn't a multi-site church just become its own denomination?
I'm part of a "new" multi-site church formed less than two years ago. My "campus" was an independent church which was struggling (the "why" is a bit embarrassing), but we came across a new congregation in a town about 20 miles away which shared the same vision. So we merged. We're still small, and experiencing some growing pains, specifically with the technology streaming the message between campuses each Sunday.<br><br>We are "one church" with one budget and one board of elders, and we have learned a lot by cooperating (worship team, choir, missions committee, etc.). But we have a campus pastor at each campus, and each retains its own character with some unique ministries at each. <br><br>We specifically wanted to avoid the "mega-church" model, and we're already in the planning stages for a third campus in another town about 15 miles in the other direction.<br><br>Concerning the comment about being "our own denomination," I think there is a legitimate concern about that. However, we come from an independent fundamental tradition (in doctrine, but we hope without some of the negative traditional baggage), and our vision statement and doctrinal statement are up front for all to see.
In general, America is experiencing a shift in population away from small towns and rural locals to cities. Might the mega-church phenomenon be a parallel or in some way reflect what is happening in our society?
I'd be interested to know why there has been a drop in attendance eg Saddleback lost over 2,500 people, why? Did they go to other churches or what?
The only issue about mega-churches for me is the loss of the personal touch. The 'distance' that grows between the head pastor and his people. I realise that it's important to protect our pastors from 'burn-out' which would most certainly happen in a large church if the pastor tried to minister to each family let alone each person, however it becomes an institution and in my experience, and I'm not sayingthis is always the case, I've seen the pastor's head get quite large when he looks at all the faces each Sunday. One pastor in particular has become quite superior and will not even allow "his" church to be involved in combined church out-reaches unless "his" church runs the show. He no longer allows anyone over 25 to sing or play in the worship team. Each to their own but give me a small (20 -100) church anyday. At least I can get to know every as well. Anyway that's just me.
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