Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: A Multi-Site Church Road Trip

The first thing that caught my attention about this book is the subtitle, "Exploring the New Normal."  A quick look through the ministry podcasts that listen to reveal that the multi-site approach is becoming a standard approach. In fact Mars Hill Bible Church, with Rob Bell and Shane Hipps, is the only sermon I listen to on regular basis that does not come from a church on a multi-site platform (the others are Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Mark Batterson, Mark Driscoll, and Erwin McManus).  As the popularity of these speakers rises, I expect that we will see many young leaders follow in their footsteps, and the question we must ask ourselves is, is this wise?
A Multi-Site Church Road Trip tries to help answer that question.  The book makes clear that there are a variety of ways to do multi-site: live video feeds, DVD, internet, campus pastor teaching, satellite, and as technology develops who knows what else. (As Mark Batterson is fond of saying, "There are ways of doing church that no one has come up with yet.")  Topics is the book include:

  • Campus addition vs. Church plant
  • Does an Internet Campus provide Community
  • Choosing the Placement of a New Campus
  • The Structure of Your Network
  • Is This a Sin?
  • plus a few more that you'll have to buy the book to find out about
I admit that my bias as a reader is the fact that I come from traditional that believes solely in independent, autonomous congregations that are lead by a plurality of elders.  That doesn't mean we aren't involved with missions. Our church currently supports 7 mission teams in 5 countries. I have also seen some ways in which multi-site has been used in Churches of Christ (although, to my knowledge it has only been in overflow rooms that are actually part of the same campus).
Because of my background I would have liked to see the authors dig a little deeper in the Chapter entitled "Are You Sure This Isn't a Sin?" It is shortest chapter, but really should be one of the most important. It felt the authors had already decided that it wasn't and only added the chapter in order to say that it was in there and the topic had been addressed.
As a whole, the book is well written, and could be a available tool for those looking at go with the multi-site approach.  I think. however, the authors first book, The Multi-Site Church Revolution might prove more useful for the reader who is trying to figure out how to approach "the new normal."

A couple of questions to end with:
  1. Do you think the multi-site approach is a sin? If so, or if not, why?
  2. Do you know of any Churches of Christ that have used a multi-site approach?
As you comment it might also helpful to know if you attend a multi-site church.

For more information about the book and its authors, check out The Leadership Network.

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