Driscoll’s Defense of Multi-Site Church Ministry

I watched the video regarding Driscoll’s reasons for Multi-site churches.  The talk was called, “Why Multi-Site?” (if you want to get the audio rather than video, click here).  It was given at the Multi-site Exposed Conference on April 15, 2008.  Here’s Driscoll’s defense of Multi-site church.  The numbers on the biblical reasons follow his talk, the other numbers for the historical, practical, and technical reasons are close to his numbers, but I’m not confident that they follow exactly his numbering.  Tomorrow I’ll be blogging my thoughts on his reasons and his definition of the church/ecclesiology.

“Why Multi-Site?” by Mark Driscoll

Biblical Reasons:

  1. The NT epistles were written to networks of churches across cities (Philippi, Galatia, Corinth, Thessalonica – it is not one local congregation but cities with a network of smaller/scattered congregations [campuses as it were] and the letters were written to the church, this network of local expressions in a particular city)
  2. There are general epistles like Timothy and Titus that are written generally to multiple churches within some sort of network of churches because it is written to various local expressions/congregations
  3. The NT itself is a demonstration of leadership that is not necessarily local – which is a reason for possibly doing video. Paul writes letters because he is not present with the churches, or else he would not need to write the letter. He speaks to multiple congregations through the technology of his day, writing letters. (1 Cor. 5)
  4. There are churches networked together throughout a whole region. Multiple churches in regions being spoken to simultaneously as a network (1 Peter).
  5. 1 Cor. 9:20-23 – the most important text on contextualization – BY ALL MEANS – if a new opportunity comes, we need to consider it – I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel. To the Reformed who say you can’t do multi-site or video, Paul says “All means to save some.” What we believe should be unchanging, how we do it should be changing all the time. The open hand-closed hand analogy. There’s a big impetus in evangelism. Multi-site does not change Christianity, just a change in methodology.
  6. The great commission – make disciples of all nations. This includes church-planting. Driscoll believes multi-site is an alternative new form of church planting. So based on the great commission which warrants church planting, multi-site is part of that.

Historical Reasons:

  1. We have always had networks, denominations, that collaborate to work together. Multi-site is a new sort of network/denomination/movement sharing resources to be more effective for kingdom purposes. Driscoll believes networks have come along and larger churches become networks in and of themselves and is in many ways a cross-pollinating of denominations and networks.
  2. This is not new. Multi-site is an updating of Methodism. Instead of a horse you have a screen (if you’re doing video preaching). There would be a senior leader functioning in apostolic way in that he has leadership influence over multiple churches where as a pastor has leadership influence over one church.

Practical reasons:

  1. At about 80 feet from the preacher, the room is too big and the people are too far that they’d need to watch on a screen. Physically speaking, once the building is too far they need to see video. So why do they have to be in the same room? Isn’t that legalistic?
  2. 60-80% of churches would benefit by being a campus of a healthy church. 3.5 thousand churches are dying every year. Wouldn’t it be better for them to be a campus and be revitalized. It could be the remedy for these dying churches.
  3. Geographically – plant a church, not where they live, but where they play. This is a very mobile society and rarely pick it by location.
  4. The campuses where Driscoll doesn’t preach live at give more and are growing faster. The people who commit to these campuses are in it for the mission, not to be where Driscoll is.
  5. Name recognition – if they’ve heard of your church they might check it out.
  6. It allows people to be better cared for – they get the benefits of the small church relationally at a campus and they get the benefits of the large church with central administration, resources, and specialization sent out to campuses. They are better cared for now at Mars Hill than when they were smaller.
  7. It’s happening. It’s a God-thing. It happens, it works, people come. If God’s doing it, then we need to keep up with him.

Technical reasons:

  1. There have been many adaptations in the church throughout the centuries (Pews in the 13th century; 14th century the organ was introduced in the church; 15th century the printing press; 19th century – electricity and audio microphones, 20th century – loud speakers [differences between George Whitefield and Billy Graham], radio preachers, more screens in churches than theaters, the internet) – on the front end of innovation everyone’s critical at the back end everyone’s using it.
  2. Communication has 4 things – instant, constant, global, and permanent. That’s true for critics and for the proclamation of the gospel.
  3. Every church contextualizes. Where are you in the continuum? If you have pews, you’re on the cutting edge of the 13th century. And so forth for organ, screens, audio, website, etc. Can you do more? Are you doing all that you can? All are contextualizing. The key is to name your year and name the year you would like to be.

Prophetic discussion (48:30):

1. Define what a church is, what a church is not, what a church does, and what a church does not do. Not everyone knows what the church is and what the church does.

2. Technological development of the internet will clarify the definition and function of the church in light of technological innovations

3. So:

a. Roman Catholic view of the church – (dispenser of grace – I didn’t pay attention to what he said)

b. Reformed – the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. Others added church discipline (preach the word, see the word, defend the word). There’s at least an assumption of church leadership (which would add a fourth mark).

c. Acts 2:42-47 – a community of regenerate believers who did Acts 2:42. Before you do multi-site, do you even know what a church is?

d. Def – The local church is a community of confessing believers in Jesus Christ who obey Scripture by organizing under qualified leadership, gather regularly for preaching and worship, and scatter to evangelize and care for people everywhere. They observe the biblical sacraments of baptism and communion, are unified by the Holy Spirit for mission in the world, and discipline to live out the great commandment and the great commission to the glory of God.

e. Unpacking the definition– These are their 10 marks of the church

i. Jesus is the head of the church. If anyone gets the title senior pastor, make it Jesus. So if you die the church still has its senior pastor.

ii. The Holy Spirit is the source of regenerated life – that includes signs, w

iii. The Father is the object of glory

iv. There are qualified leaders who are ultimately responsible for the health and well being of the church. Will the campus essentially be a church or will it be an extension service? Mars Hill decided the former. Their leadership, accountability, and relationship is here (at the campus). The campus pastor is the first among equals leader. They want the leadership at the campus.

v. The Bible is rightly preached. The preaching leads the mission. Their community groups are like house churches. They are members of their local campus.

vi. Sacraments are rightly administered – Is there an online church campus? No.

vii. Discipline is rightly enacted.

viii. Worship is both gathered and scattered

ix. There is the great commandment – love and care on their campus

x. The great commission – the goal is to see more people meet Jesus.


About pjtibayan

I love Jesus Christ and live to share life and share Jesus together with First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County.
This entry was posted in church, church growth, church health, church planting, ecclesiology, Evangelicalism, Mark Driscoll. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Driscoll’s Defense of Multi-Site Church Ministry

  1. S. Dahl says:

    2001: The church is big-business. Corporate America. Pastors don’t pastor. They are CEOs.

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