October 20, 2017

Major Megachurch Maniacal Missional Madness!

By Chaplain Mike

Headline from Christianity Today: “Multi-Site Churches Go Interstate.”

Subject: Megachurches are now expanding beyond their localities and regions to other cities and states.

Example: “Pastor Mark Driscoll’s megachurch [Seattle, WA] recently announced plans to expand into Portland, Oregon, and Orange County, California, using multi-site campuses that feature live bands and a sermon piped in from the main campus in Seattle.”
They already have an off-site campus in Albuquerque, NM.

Rationale: “Oregon [etc.] needs Jesus Christ” (Mars Hill website)

Context: “The surge is being driven by technology breakthroughs…” (Warren Bird, co-author of Multisite Church Roadtrip). In other words, because we can.

Concern: “If you are a church planter in Portland, it’s a bit like reading the notice that Wal-Mart is coming and you are the mom-and-pop store.” (Pastor Bob Hyatt, Portland)

Critique: “It’s not just an extreme example of the church-celebrity model. It’s complete capitulation. It’s enshrining that into the DNA of the church” (Bob Hyatt). CT summarizes: “Critics fear the out-of-state campuses turn churches into franchises like McDonald’s or Starbucks.”

Questions and Comments:

  • Really? Really?
  • I can’t imagine ever, ever, EVER attending a “service” at a “church” like this. Can you?
  • What kind of an ego must a preacher have and how controlling must one be to do something like this?
  • Is there ever a time to say, “Just because we can does not mean we should“?
  • Is it possible that evangelicalism will reach a point where it has emptied itself of historic memory, tradition, and practice so much that it will cease to be meaningfully “Christian”?

[insert phrase signifying speechless bewilderment and frustration]

Comments

  1. Another related recommendation; this time a book by Kent Carlson

    Renovation of the Church: What Happens When a Seeker Church Discovers Spiritual Formation

    haven’t read it yet, but it’s on the list
    GregR

  2. This is happening in my county where the biggest rockin church with stadium seating and coffee bar has been starting franchises around the county – the ones I know of are all within 15min – 30min driving distance from the mother ship… I don’t know if their hooked up with simulcast sermons or if the franchises offer the same amenities…but in a county that’s already over-churched and with hundreds of churches limping along with small groups in half empty buildings… it certainly does feel like the wal-mart takeover. This particular ‘church’ is one of about 3 or 4 that have ‘grown’ at the expense of many other churches. The marketing plan of kickin bands, cool, hip programs, dynamic personalities, extra attention from the radio stations, lots of cash and other amenities has worked pretty well…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The marketing plan of kickin bands, cool, hip programs, dynamic personalities, extra attention from the radio stations, lots of cash and other amenities…

      Don’t forget the onsite amusement park and pony rides. That actually happened with a Megachurch sheep siphon in my writing partner’s area.

  3. I hear you.

    I am inclined to be more generous towards Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill. Driscoll seems to have a heart for church planting and for resourcing leaders to plant churches in their communities.

    Still, there is an implicit arrogance when a multi-site megachurch announces plans to add campuses in another state with the stated rationale that “_______ needs Jesus Christ.” Inplicit in that statement is this statement: “_______ IS NOT GETTING Jesus Christ from any of the churches that are already in place there. They don’t have Jesus Christ. But we do, and we will see that the people of _______ get it.”

    Also implicit here is the idea that Jesus Christ is not a “he” but an “it”, a product that is only available at duly licensed outlets, like Starbucks coffee or Krispy Kreme doughnuts or Chick-Fil-A.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Is it possible that evangelicalism will reach a point where it has emptied itself of historic memory, tradition, and practice so much that it will cease to be meaningfully “Christian”?

    “Will reach”?

    There’d be nobody in the Post-Evangelical Wilderness if it hadn’t already gotten there.