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Is a multi-site church biblical?

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Question: "Is a multi-site church biblical?"

A multi-site church is one church in several locations, often called “campuses.” It’s not uncommon to see signs for “Such-and-Such Church: North Campus” or “East Campus” or “Oak Street Campus.”

While a “multi-site” church can present all kinds of new challenges for leadership, there is nothing overtly unbiblical about it. Consider it this way: the first church (see Acts 2) was birthed in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Are not all Bible-based churches today simply an offspring of that original church? The Word spread from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria and, finally, to “the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8, KJV).

Churches today use hundreds of different ways to reach into communities and present the gospel to the unsaved. A large, growing church may consider other start-ups in neighboring communities as a way to better reach others. Having a multi-site ministry can help churchgoers feel more attached to a “neighborhood” church, rather than traveling a farther distance to a “mega-church.” Other benefits of a multi-site church include increased opportunity for ministry, shared resources, smaller congregation size, less dependence on one pastor (it’s a team effort), and, in many cases, lower operating costs.

Problems faced by some multi-site churches include a lack of unity between the mother church and the satellite church and, in some cases, a lack of the personal touch—especially when there’s an over-reliance on video technology to replace an actual pastor.

The bottom line is that the Bible does not speak for or against the multi-site model. A church should be devoted “to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). As a church grows, it can make room in its existing location, start another campus, or support an autonomous church plant. The main thing is that the gospel is being preached and God’s people are exercising their spiritual gifts “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–13). The church, the body of Christ, “grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16).

Recommended Resource: Biblical Church Growth: How You Can Work with God to Build a Faithful Church by Gary McIntosh

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