Wednesday, August 10, 2005

From Mega to Multi

The Christian Post posted an article on its Web site yesterday about how mega-churches, such as Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, have begun planting satellite churches. In fact, Willow Creek is hosting a forum today titled "One Church, Multiple Locations: New Models to Promote Church Growth."

The article reports: . . .

Bill Hybels, pastor of the 17,500-member Willow Creek Community Church and host of [today's] forum, is among the featured pastors who will share the secrets of a "multiple-campus" approach to the ministry. In 2000, Hybels' church began a regional strategy of becoming "one church in multiple locations," and soon after extended its campus to Wheaton, the North Shore, McHenry County and Chicago. These regional congregations complement videocast messages with live worship as well as small groups and other ministries designed to meet the needs of people. Each campus has its own Student Ministries for high school and middle school students, as well as a children's program.

According to Ed Young, pastor of The Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas who videocasts messages to three satellite locations, one of the greatest difficulties with multi-site ministry is "feeling disconnected" from his flock. However, he said, seeing from the explosive growth of his churches — together they boast 16-20 thousand Sunday Service attendants each week — church members "don't seem to feel disconnected."

"We have a pastor over at each satellite church, and they have a staff taking care of everyone's needs," Young told the Christian Post on Monday. These churches also feature a "life-size high-definition image of the speaker" that feels so real that at times "people wanted to talk to [Young] in the satellite offices."

Do you see this as an effective way to handle church growth? Or is it just another mega-church fad?

Hat tip to News! For Christians.

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