Theology of Multi-Site

The title of this post might make you think of a few different things. Some would ask the question “What does theology matter in issues of practicality?” Hopefully that’s not what you’re asking, as any church issue is a theological issue. That is because the church is the body of Christ and theology is the study of God, who we as Christians believe is Christ.

A more common question with multi-site is “Why call it the same church when its really two churches, one which is watching a video of a pastor preach instead of having a live pastor preach there?” (This is actually only one model of multi-site, but it’s the one my church is using, so I’m not addressing the others right now.) This is the question I really want to answer, as I struggled with it when I first discovered that was my church’s vision.

The church, as I said earlier, is the body of Christ. A local church is how this is practically lived out – believers within a common geographic context meeting together as a family. In my tradition (baptistic) there is the need to hear the teaching of God’s Word and the expression of the ordinances – baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Communion. Journey does all of those things as one body, making it one church with multiple services, one of which is in a different location that the other three.

To answer the complaint that each campus should have it’s own pastor – our’s do. The campus that watches the preaching on video still has a campus pastor there for all pastoral needs. He actually is better able to minister to his flock there, since he doesn’t need to spend time during the week prepping for a sermon. We also are able to share resources between campuses, since we are still one church. Anyone who’s ever planted a church knows how important it is to have resources. Well, we do.

I just barely touched the issues, so what are some other issues out there? Or things you’d like me to dive deeper into? Or disagreements you have with this? Feedback is a wonderful thing.

Types of Churches

Ed Stetzer writes about Influencing Churches on his blog. In this, is lists different problems that surface in churches. Here is his abbreviated list; the full list is in his book Comeback Churches.

  • Institutionalized church–this is the church that has lost its way within the forms and programs of ministry. This church is just going through the motions and has forgotten the real purpose for which it exists.
  • Voluntary association church–this church functions more like a democracy rather than based on New Testament principles. Competing factions help maintain the “status quo” because of a desire to keep everyone happy.
  • Unintentional church–this is the church that often has good intentions but have difficulty acting on those intentions. This church has a hard time embracing an intentional process for making disciples.
  • “Us four and nor more” church–this is the church that practically believes that growth will destroy their “sweet fellowship.” The desire is to maintain a “family feel” which can make it hard for new people to break into the group.
  • “We can’t compete” church–this is most often the smaller church that has concluded that there is no way they can compete with the program-rich larger churches, and so, they stop trying to be the church.

A Query Into The Use of Church Funds

As most of the recet posts, I originally posted this on my old blog. This seemed a particularly appropriate time to re-post it here, considering Pastor Jimmy’s recent video blog post about Journey’s sacrificial giving to bost Uganda and Honduras.

Ok. This is a question that’s been in the back of my mind for a while, but there have been recent additions to it. First, there is the concern of churches spending much money on themselves and their member’s comfort than on spreading the good news of salvation to the nations. Should a churches’ missions budget be just a measley 10% all the time? One might argue that stuff is more expensive here in America than in third world countries. Might there at least be a reason to think of our use of money on ourselves vs. reaching the lost?

My second query may be more related to conventional vs. emerging churches (terms borrowed from Doc Reid, my evangelism professor in seminary). Conventional churches build buildings and spend much money on stained glass windows, steeples, organs, pretty wooden pews, ornate decorations, and the like. Emerging churches often use warehouse space and spend money on sound systems, lights, video, hazers, and the like.

They also critique each other on their use money and lack of worshipful surroundings. The conventional church (the high church tradition) uses their surroundings of ornate decorations to create a certain atmosphere of worship. The emerging church (or seeker-sensitive model) does the exact same thing (in the goal of the atmosphere), but through louder and more relevant music, video screens, etc. They both spend money on things that create a more worshipful atmosphere for their demographic. Seems logical to me.