Monday, September 28, 2009

The Multi-Site Church Model, Part 4

In order for the church to multiply freely she must be:

1. Self-perpetuating: she is healthy, enduring and will continue to live without needing any outside props or infusion of resources.

2. Self-propagating: she reproduces and will naturally start self-perpetuating groups that will in turn do the same.

When you set out to start a church, if the church is dependent from the beginning upon outside resources and organizations, it is likely that it will never reproduce spontaneously and will not start self-perpetuating groups. If that is the case, you have begun with a strategy that requires dependency; you have set up churches that cannot reproduce spontaneously.

One reason it is so rare for satellite churches to reproduce is because they are dependent upon the mother church and therefore unable to fully mature to a fertility. In a sense, the umbilical cord that ties the satellite to the central hub must be cut if the church will be free to mature to a place where she can give birth to the next generation.

A central hub can continue to birth first generation churches (satellite campuses) but to get to the third and fourth generation, the dependency must be ended. The sooner the dependency is cut off the faster the reproduction can occur. In other words, addition of churches is possible with such a model, but multiplication is beyond the reach of the umbilical cord that ties the satellite churches to the mother church.

1 comment:

Mark Winstead said...

I haven't read the last part yet, but this is awfully close to a point I thought of when you started this series.

A potential trouble with the megachurch model is the dependency on a personality - if something goes wrong with that personality - sin that leads to a fall, death, etc, the church can collapse without a proper transition, which are relatively rare. When it happens with the multi-site model, I cannot imagine that the sites all survive. The dependency on the mothership and ultimately the personality leads to death with the fall or death of the personality.