Thursday, November 5, 2009

Panel Discussion on Multi-site Churches


  1. At minute 22, "congregationalism" is not merely bene esse, but esse? Methinks not, Mr. Gilbert.

    Could it be that this discussion depicts well how Baptist ecclesiology (read: American democratic ideals applied to church polity) does not have a great answer to the idea of "multi-site" churches?

  2. Chris,

    I had the same thought about Baptist ecclesiology and wondered why they did not have a Presbyterian or (just for you) an Anglican on the panel.

  3. One more thing: I wonder if from an episcopal perspective the concept of multi-site churches isn't one step closer to the historic episcopate?

    If, in a given geographic location, there exists multiple assemblies of believers, all of whom have elders teaching, mentoring, praying, etc., which assemblies are nonetheless connected by, say, the leadership of one person, then how is this much different than (albeit a more dynamic than monarchical) episcopacy?

  4. Chris,

    Once again you make, what seems to me to be, a solid point. I am not sure how a church, say a baptistic one, who does this "multi-campus" church would argue against an episcopacy as a legitimate form of government. Because, as you point out, they are in essence practicing this form of government.

  5. That really is a good point. I wonder what Mark Driscoll or John Piper would say in response. Both of their churches have multiple sites.

  6. Out of curiosity, what do you think is the Biblical warrent to argue against multi site churches? I could be wrong, but I think any argument from the Bible for either side is going to be grasping at straws; especially if each site has its own elders and deacons.

  7. My main problem with the video feeds as sermons is the fact that it seems to miss the point of the Church. Worship is more than information transfer. I can listen to MP3 sermons at home if that were the case. Also, it seems almost gnostic to me to not have a flesh and blood pastor preaching to me.

    Chris, I would enjoy to hear your thoughts Wizard's question.

  8. Notice that one of the multi-site pastors laments what he has lost in personal care for his flock by going to multi-campuses.

    The stated goal is to reach more people but the unanswered question remains, "what are you reaching them with?" I'd argue in agreement with Josh that part of shepherding a flock is actually knowing the sheep.

  9. Hey, for me the locus does revolve around the technology (as Josh notes above). Something is lost, I think, when a sermon is fed digitally to a seated audience. Among other things, it only further pepetuates the divide between active participation during the assembly and just sitting there watching the professionals at work.

    As I alluded to above, I'm fine with multi-site churches—something like this has existed since the late first century. But each site must have its own shepherds feeding the flock through regular Word and sacrament. If and when a "bishop" (because that's effectively what Driscoll, Piper, this guy on the video, Matt Chandler, etc., are) wants to address a particular assembly, let him do it in person. There's something to face-to-face contact, and it ought not be so easily dismissed.

    If that "bishop" wants his sermon to be fed in every week to multi-sites, then I'd simply suggest to that person to get over himself. It seems to accomplish little else than feed the celebrity mindset of evangelicalism in general.


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