Multi-Site Movement

Posted: January 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

This article by Tim Keller was helpful concerning the multi-site movement.  It gave readers a glimpse into the reasoning behind Redeemer’s multi-site strategy.  I appreciated his humility and transparency in the article.  It is worth the time.

The whole debate is complex.  Respected theologians stand on both sides of the issue.  Dr. Mohler, who is a member and Sunday School teacher in a multi-site congregation, stands on one side while Dr. Mark Dever, a great friend of Dr. Mohler’s and a leading theologian on issues of church polity, stands on the other.  It is a subject that is sure to create increasing debate as churches think through how to be effective in reaching the lost for the glory of Christ and how to rightly order His church.

Is this unimportant?  I don’t think so.  Is it a first-tier issue?  Again, I do not think so.  Balance is needed.  I believe that this is an issue that the elders/pastors must think through if they are to faithfully lead the people of God.  As the church grows this will inevitably be an issue.  Should we build a bigger building?  Could we simply go to two, three, or four services?  Can we start another campus and video-cast our pastor in?  Should we start other campuses and let them go?  How does the fact we are congregational, or Baptist (or Presbyterian, Methodist, etc) affect how we think through this? 

I don’t want to create a false-dichotomy that says multi-site is a move away from a desire to plant churches.  Many multi-site churches plant other churches.  The question is:  Are multi-site churches structured in a way that is consistent with New Testament ideas?    Again, these are important matters but not ultimate matters.  With that said….

Elders must discuss this!  Is it a matter that the person in the pew is going to spend many hours discussing and debating?  Possibly, but probably not.  I believe there are some issues that the elders of the church are to give more consideration than the lay-person.  This is one.  As pastors seek to guide their congregations to rightly order the bride of Christ they will no doubt have to spend more time studying this particular point.  If God is a God of order, who loves His church, sent His Son to die for the church, and calls Titus (and the rest of us) to “put things in order” (Titus 1:5) then we must figure out what that order is.

Pragmatism cannot control the conversation.  Asking questions like “what works” have their place.  Being pragmatic is not inherently bad.  We must be practical (I need to think better in this regard).  But we do not begin the discussion there.  We must begin it theologically.  What does the Bible teach us about the order of the church?  Once we have nailed down our theological convictions we can then move to the practical considerations.

I look forward to learning more about this issue.  I am excited to see that there are people coming to know Christ which is why we are having this discussion.  If people were not being called “out of darkness into His wonderful light”  (2 Peter 2:9) this would not be an issue.  Our churches would be shutting their doors and not opening more.  So praise God that He is regenerating hearts and churches are having to discuss how to expand.  That is the triumph of the gospel.  May it happen more and more to the glory of God.

RESOURCES

Ed Stetzer

9Marks E-Journal

SBTS Panel Discussion

Dr. Moore–short statement (w/critique)

Mark Driscoll

Short Exchange btwn Dever and Grear

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