Thursday, December 17

Multi-site churches

Sigh.
"I do miss having a pastor at the door shaking hands in the 'check-out line,' " says Lauren Green, drawn to join Redeemer by Keller's preaching. "But I realize that model of a personal relationship with a particular pastor is probably gone."...

Green recognizes, "We're just not looking for that kind of relationship with a pastor anymore. Today, it's all about a personal relationship with God, not the culture of a church. And a megachurch or a multisite church can still offer this. If you are there to hear a message and it's a powerful one, it shouldn't matter how it's delivered."

"Even if people are just watching the senior pastor on a screen, they are still gathering, as the Bible commands, they are still serving the poor, engaging in worship and study, and encouraging one another," says Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research in Nashville, which studies church trends. ~ USA Today story about multisite churches
There is a bit of paradox in this "multi-site" discussion. Pastor-centered churches, whether large or small, are unhealthy. The same is true where the pastoral presence is distant or underdeveloped. Healthy pastors work to keep themselves from becoming the center of church life. But at the same time they are personally and fully engaged with the people whom they lead and to whom they preach. It all has to do with the relational nature of the gospel and our theology of the incarnation.

The real issue isn't whether churches can function with multi-sites (they can!) but rather, what is the nature and role of healthy pastoral ministry?
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