Within a 30-40 minute drive of my home, there are at least 3 non-denominational evangelical megachurches with multiple sites. (If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of multi-site churches, you can learn more here or here.) Detractors use words like “McChurch” or “Microdenomination” to describe these efforts, while champions of these plural congregations celebrate the big church/small church organizational benefits inherent in their franchise structure.
What’s interesting about the multi-site megas in my area is that at least 2 of them could be doctrinal clones of one another. The third is only-so-slightly more theologically-liberal, but not enough for the average churchgoing Harry or Mary to detect any signficant difference.
There is a growing national impulse among these mega/multis to join forces. Because video preaching is the centerpiece of Sunday morning services in these congregations, I’ve heard recently about the “lead communicators” of 4 multisites across the US agreeing to develop a month of joint messages, and broadcast these messages at all four (times the number of sites joined to each) of their churches.
Where I live, there is an increased focus on high-level communication between the enteprenurial, organizational visionaries of these mega/multis. The stated goal is cooperation, of coming together as one in order for mission across the Chicago area. The communication has an additional plus – they’re discovering, perhaps, as a mega/multi lanches a satellite church, they’re planting in the previously-claimed geographical turf (parish for the new millenium) of a nearly-identical mega/multi church. It’s happening here, and I’m sure it’s happening lots and lots of other places as well.
So, this leads me to wonder today….
…how these eerily-similiar non-denominational churches won’t become a denomination, perhaps with soul-patch wearing hip execs, contemporary practice and savvy business structure than the old institutions they didn’t want to be (“not church as usual”).
…if maybe this might be a good, more honest thing for all of us.
…why the whole thing makes me feel a little patronized. Should I?
…where the balance is between organization and organism in these discussions.
Any thoughts, readers? Help me think and pray through this.