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FRONT PAGE  |  7/23/2019
MONDAY, MAY 13, 2019  |  17 comments
Why many multisite churches are now moving toward autonomous congregations
Pastor David Chadwick was torn when he raised the question as he stepped down from Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the final weeks of winter.

“Churches all over the country are doing it with videos shown on the screen in other places,” he said in March. “Elevation (Church) is probably the primary example here in Charlotte. You know, I just began to wonder more and more — how effective is that?”

For nearly 40 years, Chadwick had led the 4,000-member, six-campus ministry which he had built from a 180-member congregation. As he ended his tenure at the church, however, Chadwick revealed he had started to have doubts about Forest Hill’s multisite model where lead pastors mainly connect with the congregation through video.

“I know I’m a good communicator … I can have people come and listen. But doesn’t a pastor need to speak to his people? I began to struggle with that,” he ...


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· Page 1 ·  Found: 17 user comment(s)
News Item5/15/19 1:26 AM
Chris G P | England  Find all comments by Chris G P
Dr Masters has actually written a number of books on all sorts of practical subjects affecting Christians, and the church has a bookshop at the back where one can go and purchase a wide variety of Reformed and Puritan books, as well as Bibles, their Sunday school materials, and audio and videos.

In the 1970’s, a then young Peter Masters took over the pastorate, to find the church in active decline, with a handful of elderly mainly female members, very faithful people, but a previous pastor had got them into the very Baptist Union that Spurgeon had got them out of 100 years previously, during the Downgrade controversy, and they had become very weak and ecumenical. Dr Masters completely reversed this.

My current church is a much smaller Reformed Baptist, which is in a predominantly Arab area of West London, and has a faithful pastor and membership, but I believe it is struggling, and I do it pray for it.

17

News Item5/14/19 3:17 PM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
Frank wrote:
Thanks brother! The world has always defined success as to how many widgets a company sells. If someone is poor, then they are not successful; if rich, then they are. This of course has infiltrated our churches and us individually. But, here is the answer!

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

This is the answer indeed, Frank, and 1 John 2:15 is one of my favourite Bible verses.
16

News Item5/14/19 10:36 AM
Frank  Contact via emailFind all comments by Frank
John UK wrote:
We don't have mega churches here in the UK Frank, but I do know of churches here that do exactly the same thing you mentioned. It's a recipe for filling up with tares not disciples.

You can have three amens for that, brother!
Amen and Amen and Amen!

Thanks brother! The world has always defined success as to how many widgets a company sells. If someone is poor, then they are not successful; if rich, then they are. This of course has infiltrated our churches and us individually. But, here is the answer!

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

15

News Item5/14/19 9:22 AM
B. McCausland  Find all comments by B. McCausland
Wayfarer pilgrim wrote:
... the flame has not gone out ...
One wonders what keeps the crowd in. Perhaps is the intellectual 'reformed' millenial attracted to not defined practical standards.
14

News Item5/14/19 8:55 AM
Wayfarer pilgrim | Lubbock, Tx  Find all comments by Wayfarer pilgrim
Thank you Chris G,
I am so thankful that SA has this forum but most importantly, it has preaching that can hone the soul sharper. Dr. Peter Masters, the flame has not gone out at Metropolitan. Thank you again and God bless.
13

News Item5/14/19 3:27 AM
Chris G P | England  Find all comments by Chris G P
a single morning and evening service, and weekday prayer meetings and Bible study, but it does have multiple evangelistic children’s and young people’s Sunday Schools, on different sites in south London, with scores of teachers, thousands of children, and a small fleet of minibuses to collect them and drop them off. I suppose you could say this is a small mega church, but of the right kind!! No entertainment here, just Biblical preaching, traditional hymns and psalms, with piano or organ and congregational singing, and definitely no entertainment of any sort.
12

News Item5/14/19 3:19 AM
Chris G P | England  Find all comments by Chris G P
We don’t have the huge mega churches that there are in the USA, here in Britain, though we do have some fairly large churches in the big cities, and unfortunately we do have smaller branches of mega churches, (usually meeting in hired theatres and school halls), like Hillsong and Vineyard.

My old Pentecostal Church in the East Midlands, from my Pentecostal days when I lived there, under its brash new pastor, (which is when I left it), developed into a multiple site church in that city, each branch with its own pastor, and the branch pastors do preach, but once a month all sites get together in a very large hired hall for a united service. The church still has its own central building, and a purchased social “compassion” facility next door, but all the other branches use hired community halls and school halls.

In another city in the East of England a very large church, using multiple services have purchased a huge centre which almost rivals some of the smaller “mega” churches in the USA. Both these churches are much more of the seeker sensitive type.

There is, praise the Lord, one church in Central London, that is packed to the gills with overflow and live streaming, that does preach the true gospel, Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, under Pastor Dr Peter Masters, with

11

News Item5/13/19 9:55 PM
Wayfarer pilgrim | Lubbock, Tx  Find all comments by Wayfarer pilgrim
Unsustainable.
Multi site churches are not a biblical model of the church. For one , the lead pastor is basically a Bishop and the elders are his gargoyles, just kidding.. but not by much.
Secondly, the multisite church can not economically continue given the fact that people who are entertained don’t pay a regular ticket price every time they sit at the concert. Plus, it is doubtful any discipleship will enter the mind of “ members “ walk from the stage back to the car after the concert.
We had one of the fastest growing churches in the nation, here in Lubbock. It was stated to have as many as 7500 -8500 members ; they bought up churches that were small, property, and then this winter, it all ended. One thing that stands out is the unbiblical, non transparent, unresponsible church hierarchy is usually the pastor, his besties who work as staff , or head of the financial office and very rarely are there committees, voted upon elders , as often the personnel committee doesn’t exist and if it does it’s very secretive.
10

News Item5/13/19 5:46 PM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
Frank wrote:
I know that some of the mega churches actually do neighborhood surveys to better understand what they want and then these types of churches simply do what the surveys say to do.
We don't have mega churches here in the UK Frank, but I do know of churches here that do exactly the same thing you mentioned. It's a recipe for filling up with tares not disciples.

Frank wrote:
My thoughts are simply to preach the gospel of our Lord and Savior and let Him do the rest. Christ said He will build His church. IMO, if a church does that and has 20 members, it is more successful than a church that doesn’t and has 5,000 members.
You can have three amens for that, brother!

Amen and Amen and Amen!

9

News Item5/13/19 4:53 PM
Frank  Contact via emailFind all comments by Frank
Most, “but not all” of our churches are run just like any other business. The more members they have, the more successful they deem themselves. The more members, the more pay and benefits the church staff gets. I know that some of the mega churches actually do neighborhood surveys to better understand what they want and then these types of churches simply do what the surveys say to do.

This is pretty much aimed at the article. The article spent quite a bit of time discussing what approach they can take to make their goals. My thoughts are simply to preach the gospel of our Lord and Savior and let Him do the rest. Christ said He will build His church. IMO, if a church does that and has 20 members, it is more successful than a church that doesn’t and has 5,000 members.

8

News Item5/13/19 4:47 PM
Douglas Fir | Zones Four to Six  Find all comments by Douglas Fir
I remember reading in Barna's research or maybe here that most churches in the US--about 85 percent--have less than 100 members. That represents more Christians than the megachurches.
But we also saw a news item here that church membership is declining, which makes you wonder about the reasons. Is the Same Old Same Old Way of Holding Church no longer appealing? Every time you see a news story about a church leader failing, or quitting, then you make people think, 'boy, I am glad I did not go to that guy's church!' and others think, 'boy, I am not going to sign up for any membership.'

I think in the US there is already a strong sense of independent thinking, where people think they don't need some leader telling them things. Sure, they will hire a personal trainer to lead them in the gym, and a personal coach to help them with their career or other personal development. But to say, "I am a sheep and Pastor Brown of First Church of ABC is my Pastor" is not very appealing.
Even the idea of sitting an hour or more every Sunday morning to hear whatever Pastor Brown wants to talk about, is not very appealing.
And I won't even touch on the way Christians are being treated in the entertainment industry that shapes the way a lot of people look at the world.

7

News Item5/13/19 1:49 PM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
Thanks Chris GP, good overview. Also, although I disagree with Albert Barnes about the greek word, this is excellent what happened after the great persecution, and churches would have formed.

Acts 8:4 KJV
(4) Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

[Preaching the word - Greek: “evangelizing,” or announcing the good news of the message of mercy, or the Word of God. This is not the usual word which is rendered “preach,” but it means simply announcing the good news of salvation. There is no evidence, nor is there any probability, that all these persons were “ordained” to preach. They were manifestly common Christians who were scattered by the persecution; and the meaning is, that they communicated to their fellow-men in conversation wherever they met them, and probably in the synagogues, where all Jews had a right to speak, the glad tidings that the Messiah had come. It is not said that they set themselves up for public teachers, or that they administered baptism, or that they founded churches, but they proclaimed everywhere the news that a Saviour had come. Their hearts were full of it. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks; and they made the truth known to “all” whom they met.] Barnes

6

News Item5/13/19 9:49 AM
Chris G P | England  Find all comments by Chris G P
The biblical method of church planting is best. A missionary or church planter, or a pastor from a larger church, getting local Christians in an area together, even splitting off people from his own church who live in that area, and with much prayer, solid preaching of the Word and biblical based evangelism, getting this group of Christians together, ordaining good solid local men as pastors, elders and deacons, formulating a local church, and then withdrawing and letting the locals with full accountability take on the work fully.

All super large churches, should consider very carefully and prayerfully, splitting off that part of their congregation that lives in the target area, and their best leaders from that group, and prayerfully letting them go, while obviously still supporting them in prayer, and by encouragement.

It is not biblical, good or wise for churches to set up internet and seeker driven empires, with a kind of Protestant “Pope” centrally located directing the proceedings from a central location, nor should local believers have to put up with video messages, when they can have live ministry from their own local pastors and elders.

5

News Item5/13/19 9:40 AM
Douglas Fir | Zones Four to Six  Find all comments by Douglas Fir
It looks like they are analyzing church as if it were a business. I thought the 'multi-site' model developed from people seeing a lot of small churches close, so they had all these 'vacant' sites available. So it was easy to put a video program in place, and then have some people operate the extra things like Sunday school and midweek activities.
None of this is mentioned in the Bible, but nor are a lot of things like Sunday school. One thing I have noticed in local churches is the separation between ages, with music being a dividing factor. But the New Testament says that older women should be teaching the younger women.
That's not how it is working in churches I've seen--the older women like to have their 'own' Sunday school classes, and few of them would step up to lead a younger women's class, if such a thing existed.
Then there is the choir, which is not in the New Testament model of a church; but is being eliminated in these modern churches.
To sum up, it looks like the 'church world' is just waiting for someone new to come up with a new model, a new book to sell, a new program to sell.
4

News Item5/13/19 6:33 AM
Lady_Virtue | OKC  Contact via emailFind all comments by Lady_Virtue
The Quiet Christian wrote:
The entertainment model of worship has to go.
Amen. It's sad and discouraging to me that this model has practically taken over the landscape in many Western countries.
3

News Item5/13/19 2:23 AM
John UK | Wales  Find all comments by John UK
Multi site churches? Clergy and laity? Passive audience? None of these things are biblical, have no biblical warrant, and are not being built by the LORD JESUS CHRIST, who builds according to HIS OWN specifications, not those of mere men.
2

News Item5/13/19 12:17 AM
The Quiet Christian  Find all comments by The Quiet Christian
When worship participation consists of a prayer and listening to a rock and roll band sing at you something unsingable, what difference is it in the grander scheme that the preacher is on the TV rather than live, in person? How is this model really any different from watching a sporting event at a friend's house with a group of friends?

But I'm glad to see that one pastor started to have a conscience about this. It's a step in the right direction. The entertainment model of worship has to go.

1
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