Multi-site churches have been effective.
They are not without problems, sometimes caused by an overly aggressive strategy or a merely pragmatic approach to church leadership. It is certainly proper to ask: is this approach even valid for Biblical Christians? Is there at least a hint of doing church this way in the New Testament? Shouldn't churches stay together?
"The New Testament nowhere demands that a local church meet all together each week. Nor is a single service assembly the only model given in Acts. While it is certainly true that we see evidences of local churches assembling all together (1 Corinthians 11), we also see evidence of single local churches which met in multiple locations. The new congregation in Jerusalem is frequently referred to in the singular, one "church" (Acts 8:1; 11:22; 15:4). However, they obviously had to meet in different times and locations. Historians tell us there was no space in Jerusalem available to the disciples in which three thousand or more people could have met on a weekly basis. It also appears that many first-century house churches came together to celebrate the Lords supper as one citywide church (see 1 Cor 11:17–20; Romans 16:5)." --JD Greear (in the 9Marks Journal. May/June 2009. © 9Marks. Website: www.9Marks.org. Email: email@example.com)
A mega-church with a mega-campus is attractive with it's programs. Many existing Christians flock to a large campus. But is that the best stewardship of God's resources? But a multi-site church may be a better way to display the unity of Christians in a city, while reaching into diverse neighborhoods and people-groups.
Other multi-site proponents highlight: increased evangelistic effectiveness, easier leadership development, financially effective church growth, benefits of big/small churches in community life, and shared mercy/mission work.
If Silicon Valley needs 200+ churches at least and we are willing to help God's Kingdom expand, then why not function through a variety of models at the same time? Imagine a network of churches: six of them have three sites each, two are regional campuses, one has ten multi-sites locations, fifteen are small churches in non-English speaking neighborhoods. Twice a year, all of those members gather for a great celebration! The gospel is changing this corner of the world. Jesus is praised.
Next, we'll count the costs and see what it takes to launch a second site.
As always, we welcome your response, questions and feedback. Discuss below, or contact any pastor or elder directly.