December 1, 2006

Conversations with a Future Church Planter pt. 4

Here is part 4 in our series: Conversations with a Future Church Planter. This is an e-mail conversation between me and a Friend. Here is the rest of the series. Here is my response:

The nice thing about "branding" is that it helps you know what you are in for. I know when I walk into Starbucks, that I can get a good cup of coffee.

I had an experience when I was planting where a girl attended our church when visiting her parents. She liked the music, the style, etc. When she returned to her college town, she visited the local church from the same denomination. The difference was they were one step away from pulling out snakes. She thought she was getting the same thing across the board (which is what a denomination should bring to the table). I don't mean to say we can't or shouldn't have variance. It would have been nice to not have to say, "Well, there are some very big differences..."

In relating this to our discussion, I think it is okay to brand a local church, to create an atmosphere and environment. The key, though, is to train up leaders from within that embody that style, message, etc and let them plant new churches. To be honest, I don't know what the difference between a multi-site campus and television/web viewing really is. It can reduce the Sunday morning gathering to "great" preaching.


  1. It seems like you believe that a real community cannot exist in a church where the preaching is done via video. I think the difference between a multi-site and watching it on TV is obviously your environment. In a multi-site, you are in a room with many people from your community. You can still carpool to church together. You can still go out to lunch together afterwards.

    I am not part of, nor have I attended a multi-site church, but its not hard for me to imagine real community existing at one. Its true that each campus needs to examine and meet the needs of their own neighborhoods. Is that not happening?

    To me, the only difference here is the fact that the sermon comes over video, and the church might have the same logo and name as its sisters. And I do not believe, as your friend eluded to in pt. 3 that the Spirit somehow gets bound and gagged when the message gets pushed through a coax cable (I'm referring to "What's incarnational about a video feed?").

    This is a great discussion, and there is a lot going on with it. Eric, you seem to have an open mind about it, and a great willingness to discuss. Your friend, however, seems to be carrying some baggage about this multi-site church idea. Let's keep talking about it!


  2. Clayton,

    Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your willingness to get involved. I am absolutely blown away by the response these posts have created (not everyone has commented, but a lot of people have read them).

    As I was preparing this post, I realized that I made that comment about community (which was not well thought out), and I do understand that people being together will have community. That was an offhanded comment. But I left it in because it demonstrated the development of the conversation.

    There seems to be several misunderstandings in regards to these posts.

    First, these conversations are being posted as is. This means that off-hand comments and all are included, and none of this was originally intended to be posted. I am posting because it shows the development of a conversation and how me an a friend are wrestling with an issue from different positions.

    Second, my friend is wrestling and questioning. As we all do, he has some thoughts and prejudices that when stating his opinion comes across strongly. Shawn and other obviously have one opinion about multi-site. It is equally as Christian to have the opposite opinion. My friend may not like multi-site, but he certainly, when the rubber hits the road, has no trouble joining hand in hand with anyone to reach people for the Kingdom of God.

    Third, and this is an extension from number 1, this is an ongoing conversation: it grows, expands, and gets rethought. I started out completely against multi-site just for reactionary reasons that were not well developed. In the course of the conversation, my stance has softened.

    The question still remains, Why is the act of preaching the ONLY aspect of the worship that is expendable enough to have via video?

    I encourage the interaction, but just because someone is wrestling with an issue from an opposite point of view does not mean they are not open to the discussion.