Jim Tomberlin is a leader who is on the front edge of multi-site church trends. He recently posted an entry at MondayMorningInsight.com.
I'll comment briefly on each of his trend items...
- I agree-multi-site is becoming common and "normal". Many church planters are planting with a multi-site mindset from the beginning. Its weird because when I came to New Life in 1999, I remember how "out there" multi-site church was. How things have changed in 10 years.
- We definitely operate out of this model. I think its like "urban warfare" applied to the church world. The church, like modern militaries, are forced to rethink their strategy now that the world is more than 50% urban. The recast strategy is to employ smaller, more mobile units in both the military and the church world--fighting the battle from "house to house".
- True for us and seeing this at several other churches around the country (Seacoast, Lifechurch, soon Mars Hill Seattle).
- This seems to be somewhat true though I think multi-site represents a big break from denominational thinking. Multi-site churches seem to have a much higher value on intra-church cooperation and define themselves more by agreement than by disagreement.
- This may be true but it seems also true that many campus pastors, in my anectdotal research, are hired from within most often. Sort of a UPS hiring model--promote from within for 80% of the jobs.
- Most notably, www.theaterchurch.com, the website of National Community Church in DC. Mark Batterson and Co are doing a lot of pioneering on this front.
- Or as we call them, Restarts. And the more we witness the decline of older insitutional churches, the more this trend will increase.
- My parents attend a rural multi-site church--Thornapple Valley Church--and I love Pastor Jeff Arnett's vision and passion to grow great churches in the rural communities of Michigan. For him, if it has a grocery store, its probably a little too urban. But as he notes, not too many multi-site churches are working in truly rural areas yet so this area needs a strong dose of networking and resourcing.
- Not a fan of the internet campus. I don't believe you can call something that happens over the internet a church in the fullest sense. You can't baptize and you can't celebrate communion together, two functional basics that happen in the gathered community. I'm all for the video delivery of messages to real gatherings of people but not for the virtual gathering of people on different computers. I think innovation goes too far with this one.
- Personally, I think this format will have a backlash. Live preaching will never go out of style because in a techno world, people long for "the real thing, baby" (thanks Pepsi for the tagline.) And I have a concern about the growth of video as a means of delivery--the celebrity nature of mass distribution. I do not believe fallen humanity is built to handle glory and celebrity is a form of glory. Seems to lead to trouble. Again, not fundamentally opposed to video delivery of teaching, but I think it should be used with caution.