Monday, June 1, 2009

9Marks Debate - The Multi-Site Church, II

A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to 9Marks ministries and a series of articles that were posting on the Multi-Site Church (click here to read my original post). There were about four or five articles posted in favor of this practice with an equal number arguing against it.

After reading the articles I found the 'pro' articles to be less than persuasive. Often they argued from silence or caricatured the views of their opponents. Scriptural support for this practice was, can we say, somewhat breezy (reading multi-site into the early church and the pages of the New Testament). Nor did they adequately address my gut-level concerns about this model -- the cult of personality, consumerism and branding, along with the franchise concept of doing church.

I have to agree with those who argued against the practice. Since the essays argue from a Baptistic, congregational perspective they don't always translate well into a Presbyterian form of government. Yet, I think that there is enough merit in what they say to list some of their concerns (in no particular order):

* It reinforces consumerism.
* It can lead to a lack of pastoral care (shepherding and discipline).
* It is largely built on a 'brand' (the mega-church and its philosophy).
* It sells a product (the rock-star pastor).
* It undercuts church-planting and the development of a new generation of leaders.

To read the original essays go to 9Marks

While the multi-site model is largely found in congregationally governed churches it is beginning to make inroads into my denomination. The time to study this phenomena is now rather than when this shows up on the doorstep of presbytery in the form of a church planter who is ready top move to the field.

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