Baptist21: Discussion on Polity and Multi-Site

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Jonathan Charles's picture

I watched about half of this. What I got out of it was that the multi-site guys don't like being called "rock star" preachers because that is not what they think about themselves. They are simply in situations where people are driving miles and miles, passing other churches to come to theirs, and they can't possibly build facilities large enough to keep up with the growth.

My question is: Though they don't think of themselves as "rock star" preachers, do they bear any responsibility if they nevertheless become that in people's minds?

Shaynus's picture

I would say the pastor who perceives there is this perception about him is responsible. Both Thabiti and Dever were my pastors for two years a few years ago. They would continually refuse to build a larger building and would rather plant churches elsewhere. They would continually publicly pray for other pastors and ministries in our area. Part of the purpose of doing that was continually emphasize that we weren't the only work of God in Washington DC. His kingdom was larger than this one church. Dever speaks only about 2/3 of the year leaving the rest to younger elders or associate pastors, partly to deemphasize his large personality. I think these are ways that pastors can deemphasize themselves that I appreciated about Dever. MacDonald seems to use his celebrity as a draw, and is unabashed about it.

Jonathan Charles's picture

Though the multi-site guys don't like the label "rock star," the 2 on the forum that have multi-site churches admit that they are the "heavy hitter" preachers in their churches and that people are coming to hear them. MacDonald tries to defuse criticism by pointing to the fact that he is training interns and has planted churches. I don't know where these church plants are, but probably few in the Chicago area where his church has at least 6 sites where MacDonald is beamed in. When Thabati asked why MacDonald didn't put a preacher on site to preach to the other sites, it came back to the fact that even in a larger church, while a number can preach, there is usually a heavy-hitter that does it best. Thabati argued that a heavy-hitter isn't always necessary and that often a preacher that is "good enough" is sufficient.

Shaynus's picture

They don't like the label, but the question is: what are they doing about making sure the label doesn't stick? Not that much.

Lee's picture

The "rock star" phenomenon is a carryover from one of our culture's prevalent idolatries: celebrity worship.

The multi-site, heavy-hitter "need" to exude the proper theological "presence" gives me great pause in picturing any of these guys as leading the charge for themselves or their congregations either to "flee from idolatry" or to "flee youthful lusts."

Somehow, after wandering numerous times through the Book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, I am having a hard time accepting that the best plan to meet the scriptural mandate and the need of the church body to best perform its task is a video feed or, in keeping with the techno curve, a hologram image of some heavy hitter pastor many miles absent.