Friday, May 01, 2009

9Marks Journal on Multi-Site Churches

Good idea, bad idea, or something in between? That's the topic of the latest 9Marks journal (also available in PDF).

From the introduction by Mark Dever (yes--a former multi-campus pastor himself!):
Are multi-site congregations good ideas? This special extra long, year-in-the-planning issue is meant to help you think through that question. And to help us, we've got professor Gregg Allison and multi-site pastor J. D. Greear explaining and defending multiple congregations as one church. (J. D. is a force of nature, even in print!)

Have we seen multi-site churches before? Good question. So we try to gain some historical perspective with the help of Greg Gilbert, Bobby Jamieson, professor John Hammett, and pastor Jeff Riddle.

Any problems with multi-site? Yes, says multi-site pastor Matt Chandler. But are these problems so bad that we shouldn't do it? No, says the same Matt Chandler. Don't miss Matt's provocative out-loud wondering what evangelical churches may look like in twenty years.

Okay, so go ahead and go multi-site? No, says Southwestern professor Thomas White. The Bible rules it out, says pastor Grant Gaines. Dead Baptists wouldn't approve, says Bobby Jamieson. And Jonathan Leeman, the untiring editor of this journal, raids his own doctoral work on membership to provide the most substantial concerns yet I've seen raised about multi-site congregations. Don't be put off by the length of Jonathan's piece—you want to read it, all of it.

Pray for wisdom in this important conversation between friends.

Presenting and Arguing for the Multi-Site Church
Theological Defense of Multi-Site

A seminary professor examines the multi-site phenomenon and offers a biblical, theological, historical, and missional argument for the multi-site church.
By Gregg R. Allison

A Pastor Defends His Multi-Site Church
A multi-site pastor provides a biblical, practical, and pastoral defense of his multi-site church.
By J.D. Greear

Identifying and Locating the Multi-Site Church
What Is this Thing, Anyway? A Multi-Site Taxonomy
Can multi-site churches be congregational? What kind of polity does a multi-site church have?
By Greg Gilbert

Have We Ever Seen This Before? Multi-Site Precedents
Another seminary professor looks for multi-site churches before 1980. Here's what he finds.
By John S. Hammett

Richard Baxter and the Multi-Site Movement
What's Richard Baxter's problem with the multi-site church? One word: shepherding.
By Jeffery Riddle

Clouds on the Horizon
A multi-site pastor weighs in on the current state of the multi-site conversation and raises concerns about the future of multi-site churches.
By Matt Chandler

Arguing Against the Multi-Site Church
Nine Reasons I Don't Like Multi-site Churches, from a Guy Who Should
A young, tech-savvy seminary professor explains why he's not getting on board the multi-site revolution.
By Thomas White

Exegetical Critique of Multi-Site: Disassembling the Church?
A pastor-scholar weighs the exegetical arguments in favor of the multi-site church and finds them wanting.
By Grant Gaines

Theological Critique of Multi-Site: Leadership Is the Church
The local church on earth is constituted by a gathering of Christians, which means the multi-site and multi-service “church” is not a church, but an association of churches.
By Jonathan Leeman

Historical Critique of Multi-Site: Not Over My Dead Body
Regardless of the fact that multi-site churches haven't existed for most of the past four hundred years, historic Congregationalists and Baptists have a lot to say against them.
By Bobby Jamieson

The Alternative to Multi-Site: Why Don't We Plant?
The multi-site church phenomenon looks like a capitulation to consumeristic culture. We should plant instead.
By Jonathan Leeman

See the whole thing for the reviews, too!