Friday, May 1, 2009

Worshiping apart?

9Marks Journal [online here] provides a series of articles discussing the phenomenon of multi-site churches. There are both advocates and critics of the trend. One of the articles, by Jonathan Leeman, raises the issue of whether multi-site and/or multi-service "churches" are actually churches: "Theological Critique of MultiSite: Leadership Is the Church." Here is the abstract of his article and its first paragraph:
Both the multi-site and multi-service church models remove "the gathering" from the necessary ingredients of what constitutes a particular church, since neither model requires all the members of a church to gather together in order for them to be a church. Instead, both models equate the local church with its leadership and its corporate structure, since it's the leadership and corporate structure that are the only things that the separate assemblies uniquely hold in common. Leadership is the church.

Neither the multi-site church nor the multi-service church is a church. Both are an association of churches, since one essential component of what constitutes a church as a particular church on earth is a gathering. And in that regard, the multi-site and the multi-service churches are no different. One divides its gatherings geographically while the other divides them chronologically. [more]
Theological Critique of MultiSite: Leadership Is the Church - 9Marks

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