Thursday, April 19, 2012

Multi-Site Churches

My thoughts on multi-site churches.  I initially wrote this for John MacArthur's blog. 

Pastors and elders, who stand before us every time we gather together to worship, are unique people. They represent a holy God and His standards of righteousness, all the while being sinners like all the rest of us pew sitters. They’re not some beamed in by satellite, giant sized, figureheads, who cannot reach out and touch someone personally. They’re physically real. They’re physically present. They’re equally sinners. All their warts and failings, as well as their good fruits are present for all to be a witness to. When we "super size" the leaders of our churches (on big screens), they become larger than life itself; they become unreachable, unattainable, remote, untouchable and virtually unknowable. This creates a mystique and a warped curiosity about them, not to mention a fawning type allegiance to someone who seems all-vainglorious.

Mutli-site churches are for the pastor’s glory only. Their passion is not in shepherding their sheep with firm handshakes, bedside hospital visits, reaffirming hugs and encouraging, godly words, or heart-felt sympathies for one's personal circumstances and tragedies; but their concerns are for building names and reputations for themselves. Shepherding simply gets too involved, complicated and messy; better left to an underling.

We need to see our leaders (pastors and elders) fail before our eyes, as well as “witness” their personal victories, and to realize that they are sinners in desperate need of a holy Savior like all the rest of us, which also reminds us that ONLY Christ lived a perfect, sinless life. These failings eliminate any possibility of hero worship, and any possible feelings that only THEY can be trusted with our very souls. Likewise, their personal victories and testimonies stir us on to greater depths of holiness.

The responsibility to preach the gospel to all the world was never given to a “few good men,” who for whatever reasons, believe that only they have unique communication skills, or some extra extraordinary visions, or special words from on high (such as Mark Driscoll has fantasized about). God has endowed and gifted “many good men,” in the body of Christ, so as not to create a hierarchy system similar to the Roman Catholic Church. No one man, or group of men, should have a monopoly on God’s Word. Martin Luther fought and died believing this, as did many of the Reformers.