Saturday, April 14, 2012

Repost: Multi-Site Churches taken to their logical extreme

I was thinking more about my post earlier this week, Mark Driscoll Sez: You Will Be Assimilated and thought it would make sense to repost something I wrote a while ago, Multi-Site Churches taken to their logical extreme. If we buy into the notion that the gathering of the church should be focused on sermons, performance led singing and the occasional ritualized "communion" why wouldn't mutli-site churches make sense? Isn't that what conferences like Together for the Gospel are all about, getting together to hear the best "preachers" give talks complete with dramatic pauses, gesturing, quavering voices, etc.? If you are really into it you can get your picture taken with a famous guy who doesn't know you and post it on Facebook as proof that "I was there and met !"

Doesn't the church deserve the very best preaching if that is what it is all about anyway?


Michael McKinley at the 9 Marks blog, Church Matters, asks if the rise of multi-site churches doesn't lead to just playing a recording of someone reciting Jonathan Edwards sermons for the gathering of the church instead of a live preacher.

Well, why not?

I think this is a great idea!

If the purpose and pinnacle of the gathering of the church is for the people to hear one man give a sermon, then why shouldn’t we just listen to the very best men via teleconference or even recording? We hear all the time that the problem with the church is that we need more and better expository preaching. With all love to my friends who preach and in full recognition of my own limitations in preaching, I would say that you get a much better expository sermon from Piper or MacArthur than you get from virtually any senior pastor in any local church in America. If the goal is to hear a solid, expository sermon why not get the best sermon you can get? Better yet. What if you broadcast Bob Kauflin every Sunday morning on a tape delay “leading the worship”? What is the difference between Bob on video and a guy up front telling you what songs to sing? Bob is going to give you a “better”, more polished and professional song leadership. The accompaniment will be on key, the singing will be perfect, the songs will be properly vetted. How about we film Ligon Duncan praying and reciting 1 Corinthians 11 over a huge pile of oyster crackers and pallets of grape juice? Then we could ship portions out to churches observing the Supper that week and splice in the footage of Duncan blessing it prior to passing around the platters.

For most Christians in traditional churches on a Sunday morning, they are primarily sitting and watching. Does it really matter if they are watching a guy in-person on stage or Mark Dever on a video feed? I think taking the traditional model of evangelical church life to a logical extreme, why not do this? Just think, we could take up the offering and put it into the bank and then the central church could sweep the money into one big account and distribute it. That is how mormons do it. Instead of squabbling about carpet colors at the local level, let a regional super senior pastor figure it out. For those of us who are Reformed, we could break it down regionally. Albert Mohler could get the south, MacArthur everything west of the Mississippi, Piper the Midwest and Northeast and Dever could run the east coast. We could appoint under-under shepherds in smaller areas, Steve Lawson in Alabama, Kevin DeYoung in Michigan, etc. No more boring, wandering sermons. No more butchering of “A Mighty Fortress is our God”.

I think this idea has real promise.

Bookmark and Share


Steve Scott said...

I remember reading a story about a church in Los Angeles in the early 70's that conducted their services at a drive-in movie theater. The sermon/singing, etc., were the same, but instead of sitting in pews, you drove in, parked, and hung the speaker boxes over your car door. I also remember reading snide commenting about how far churches have come. But, it was just a small step away from how most churches operate to begin with.

What's the difference between silenty sitting next to somebody in a pew and silently parking next to somebody in a parking lot?

Steve Scott said...

I remember reading criticism of a church in Los Angeles in the early 70's that met at a drive-in movie theater. Instead of silently sitting next to somebody in a pew, you parked silently next to somebody in a parking lot. The only real differenct was hanging the speaker boxes on your car door.

What really is the difference? Not much, it was only a small step.

Arthur Sido said...

Steve, the answer is "not much". They tke your kids away, put the speaker on the overhead so you can see them more clearly and make it as comfortable and anonymous as possible. There really is not much difference between shuffling in to sit in a pew or staying in your car.