Poll: Multiple Campus Churches?

The School of Theology Council is sponsoring a panel discussion, entitled “A Forum on Multiple-Campus Churches, Franchising the Church or Fulfilling the Great Commission?” The event will be held at 10:00 am on February 20th in Heritage Hall .The event will feature Dr. Chad Brand, Dr. Jimmy Scroggins, and Dr. Gregg Allison. You can check out the PDF information sheet.

So, I though I would set get some advanced discussion here. What do you think about multiple campus churches? Take the poll and then leave your comments below.

[poll id=”11″]

This entry was posted in Churches. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Poll: Multiple Campus Churches?

  1. Tony Kummer says:

    Some models of multiple locations seem to push the boundaries of what it means to be a congregation. But other groups that have local church pastors under central oversight seem a little like the Episcopal church.

  2. I agree with Tony. However, could you flesh out your reference to the Episcopal church?

    Ultimately, may I say that as a pastor and church planter I can see a lot of negative opinions coming from the ivory tower of seminary, rather than the real world of ministry. Thus far 33% of respondents would argue against multi-site. This is simply conjecture, but I think that would change on the field. Also – I am very interested to see why people are opposed on a biblical basis. Good question. Blessings.

  3. Tony Kummer says:

    It would seem that having several campus pastors reporting to one centralized pastor, rather than their local congregations, would start to look a lot like a Bishop. I’ve been told that Baptist multi-site churches avoid this problem by having regular congregational meetings and systems of pastoral accountability to the congregation(s).

    But it seems like a danger. On the other side, I’ve heard that these multi-site models benefit from better leadership.

    Can anyone speak to the effectiveness of these models in church planting and reaching un-churched populations?

  4. Matt Jones says:

    Having visited North Point’s (Andy Stanley’s Church) satellite campus in Atlanta, I really didn’t like it. You come to a big room with a bunch of people you don’t know, sit down in comfy chairs while they dim the lights, a screen comes down and you watch people on it, then at the end the screen comes up and the lights go up, and you leave. I could be describing seeing a show or movie, but this was my experience at a satellite campus. The two are too similar in my opinion. I can only see it benefiting people who already know and like Andy Stanley. It is relying on him and his “brand” to get people in the door. I live in Cleveland, OH where no one has even heard of Andy Stanley or church “campuses.” I cannot see this thriving in the Northeast.

  5. G F McDowell says:

    I don’t know that a Baptist multi-site church can exist and still be Baptist. Every explanation I hear only confuses me more. Are they multiple churches under a single leadership, or a single church meeting in multiple locations? If the former, then the Baptist distinctives of congregational polity and local church autonomy have been thrown out the window. If the latter, then congregational polity, while not impossible, is complicated substantially, and church discipline seems as though it would be very difficult to practice according to the words of Christ in Matthew 18.

    Depending on how you slice it, multi-site churches would seem to exclude or severely undermine the Baptist distinctives of Local church autonomy, congregational polity, and regenerate church membership (church discipline). These issues would present no challenge to your typical nondenominational church, but as this is being discussed at a distinctively Baptist seminary by confessionally Baptist professors, I think these foundational issues must be dealt with honestly and openly.

    Aside from the issues of Baptist identity, what about the “CEO Model” of the pastorate that is constantly being bemoaned in chapel and classroom at Southern? Wouldn’t a multi-site church NEED to be run like a corporation?

    Also, at what point has the distance between campuses reached the threshhold of the ridiculous? Is it after a county line, or a state line has been crossed? What is to prevent a church in Chicago from having a campus in Detroit?

    If a Baptist multi-site church is neither fish nor fowl, what is it? I wish I could make it to the forum. I certainly hope the entire audio including the Q&A is placed online. I want to learn more about this topic, and that seems to be a good place to do it. Will someone be blogging it, Tony?

  6. I can see their use to broadcast sermons to churches in rural communities that don’t have a pastor, much like the circuit riders of old went to several churches. However, I think the franchising concept as being promoted in the bigger cities smacks of arrogance by the pastor and church that do it. Also, it takes the personal side of of pastoring and makes them just another talking head.

  7. I want to express gratitude for G.F. McDowell’s able response to the question set forth. As one who would argue for a multiple campus approach (which addresses all of G.F.’s critiques), I am dismayed by the fact that so many would simply respond negatively, yet choose not to explain why. It concerns me that many of my Reformed, Conservative, SBTS colleagues simply “vote” the party line seemingly without thinking on their own. While both G.F., Tony, Morris, and Matt (whom I know personally and admire) have presented rational arguments that I can appreciate – too many seem willing to express their opinions without providing rationale. Many seem to simply desire to follow the particular “party line” stance. (I.E. whatever seems to be currently right to say among reformed seminary students.) At Southern, our very own president attends a church on a multi-campus model, Dr. Piper at Bethlehem also has a multicampus model, Mars Hill in Seattle is multi-campus. Reformed evangelicals of all stripes have done this and done it well. We should be careful to provide rational, sound, biblical, and loving responses.

    Jason Hutchinson’s last blog post..Listening to Those Who Have Gone Before Us

  8. Not sure about these. I was on staff at a church of about 2000 that had multiple venues [rooms] in the same building doing simultaneous worship.

    That was generally okay, you still felt like one body, we had live worship in both venues. The second room had a slightly shorter worship set with a break for fellowship, then the sermon would come on via a video feed when it started in the main room.

    If we had a space big enough, I’m not sure we’d have done venues, but more people wanted to come at the opportune time then we had space, or money to build with.

    In general, I’m a fan of planting new churches rather than going multi-site… less people, less politics, unity is easier. Yet I see the potential advantages to multi-site as far as resources go.

    There’s also something about leadership knowing the congregation and vise versa that is important… I’m not sure how that plays out in multi-site churches.

    Julie Halitzka’s last blog post..Much Ado About NOOMAs

  9. Dan says:

    I went to the forum and was mostly satisfied with what they said. A Baptist church can be multi-campus as long as there are regular meetings together for the Lord’s Supper, business, and church discipline, and the campuses must be close enough together that everyone can realistically gather with each other.

    Still, there is enough room for confusion and error in the multi-campus model that I think it should be avoided if at all possible. It would be very easy for this kind of church to slip away from congregational government, and it practically begs for church splits to happen. I think there can also develop an attitude of imperialism as a single church seeks to “reach” new areas.

    As far as I can tell from the biblical record, NT churches sometimes met in multiple locations (houses) out of necessity, but it also seems that they met all together when it was possible, such as the Jerusalem church meeting on Solomon’s Portico. Thus, I think its best that churches meet all together whenever possible, but that an additional location is an acceptable (and hopefully temporary) solution when the size of the meeting place can no longer accommodate the entire congregation.

Comments are closed.