Church Campus vs. Multi-Site

Thabiti Anyabwile has a great post on why he is anti multi-site churches. You can read that on his blog Pure Church.

Pic from Flickr by Cat@Sch

While I do not completely agree with Thabiti’s views on technology, I do agree with his points on multi-site churches.

So then the question becomes…Am I anti multi-site churches? The answer to that question is simply…yes.

I will explain.

I have always thought that transmitting a pastor from one location to another via DVD, satellite, or whatever method robs the pastor of being a true shepherd. A pastor cannot truly have relationships with 4,000 people. But, then comes the argument that multi-site churches have “campus pastors.” Really? You pay a guy to load the DVD or set up a screen to pipe in another pastor?

I am all for multi church campuses. For every campus or church plant that a church has there should be a pastor that leads that church. Every church plant or campus becomes a local church. That local church needs a pastor.

A pastor will get better at preaching the longer he preaches and the more experience God allows him to have. If God has called a man to be a pastor, let him. I wholeheartedly believe that the man God places in any local church is the man God ordained to pastor the people that will be the members of that church.

Multi church campuses allows for the building, development and training of men that God has called to be pastors.

At FaithPoint Community Church our vision for church planting is the building, development, and training of men that have been called by God to be pastors and they will be sent out as we plant churches across the world. We intend to send these men through training and development so that they can live a holy life and not disqualify themselves from the pastoral position that God has called them to. This training and development also helps to prove that their doctrine is sound.

How does your church view church planting?

2 comments
Keith Watson
Keith Watson

Jimmy, I think your understanding of the role of "campus pastor" is off quite a bit. You said "But, then comes the argument that multi-site churches have “campus pastors.” Really? You pay a guy to load the DVD or set up a screen to pipe in another pastor?" Most campus pastors that I am familiar with have all of the same duties as a "lead pastor" who preaches, teaches, counsels, organizes, structures, oversees ministry, has visitation, oversees leadership, oversees leadership training, disciples others ... with one exception --> he doesn't preach every Sunday (most or many models have the campus pastor preaching 10-12 time a year or more). You also said, "I am all for multi church campuses. For every campus or church plant that a church has there should be a pastor that leads that church. Every church plant or campus becomes a local church. That local church needs a pastor." I think that the job description in paragraph one is truly that of a Pastor - the campus pastor IS a pastor. To say that he is not a pastor because he doesn't preach every week is mistaken - elders are pastors, but not all elders preach every week. You said "I have always thought that transmitting a pastor from one location to another via DVD, satellite, or whatever method robs the pastor of being a true shepherd." The reality for most Lead Pastors is that they cannot truly shepherd even smaller congregations on their own - they rely on others - elders, deacons, Sunday School leaders, small group leaders, youth pastors... My point is this - arguments stating that shepherding isn't taking place because the campus uses video are not really valid. Shepherding does take place - in the campus in much the same way as in the main church where the preaching pastor preaches. The campus pastor shares the load with elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, small group leaders, youth pastors... Both the preaching pastor and the campus pastor shepherd as a part of a larger team of shepherds given to the body. Lastly - "A pastor will get better at preaching the longer he preaches and the more experience God allows him to have. If God has called a man to be a pastor, let him. I wholeheartedly believe that the man God places in any local church is the man God ordained to pastor the people that will be the members of that church." I think we should be careful in how we use terms - A Pastor is an elder in the New Testament. It is possible to be a Pastor and not be a Preacher... Members of an Elder team are pastors, many churches have Children's Pastors who don't preach, and Music Pastors who don't preach... And you are absolutely right in saying that if God has called a man to Preach, then he should preach. He should not be a Campus Pastor if he feels God wants him preaching more than 10 to 12 times a year... so don't connect with a church and be a campus pastor! The church is not saying you can't be a preacher - they are simply saying that we do things this way and you are free to do things that way. In a good Campus structure there are * believers gathered together to worship God through songs, and through the sacraments * the word of God is preached - there is evangelism and sanctification * there is a pastor who oversees the health of the body and works through all of its people to make certain that shepherding is taking place * leadership is raised up and trained and sent out That all sounds pretty healthy to me... I love the discussion on this subject - I think that it is very good to take an honest look at what is happening and hold it up against the Word of God. In some cases I agree that Campus churches may not be biblical or healthy - in those cases the problem isn't in the campus as much as it is in home church. A poor home church built on the ego of 1 preacher will produce campuses who feed that ego and feed on that ego! BUT I think it is unfair to assume that this is the case in every campus. God bless! Love the dialog.

Jimmy Proulx
Jimmy Proulx

Keith, Thanks for the feedback. You raised some interesting things to think about. I suppose it is hard for me to separate the idea that a pastor and a preacher can be two separate guys. I have always grown up in a church context where the pastor was the preacher and in most of the churches I attended, the only other pastor was the youth pastor. You have given me a lot to process. I have some more thinking to do on this subject.