Friday, September 22, 2006

Community Expansion: Multisite Lessons

HERE's a 5 minute audio clip of a recent vision-casting message John Ortberg presented to Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California. Since I've known of him from Willow Creek here in Illinois, John has proven to have powerful & authentic insight with the kind of Christ-following lifestyle that backs it up.

The audio clip is intersting since it deals with MPPC's plans for community expansion... a multisite approach we've probably all seen (Willow Creek Community Church, Christ Community Church - St. Charles, Northpoint Community Church, Scottsdale Bible Church, etc.). The multisite strategy, as it is popular being used today, holds to institutional centralization on a main mega-campus with decentralized worship & community gatherings.

As you'll hear, there are some wonderful things to learn from the research put into these approaches; but they still beg the question of centralization & institution. At one point, John touches on the decision churches must make between becoming an "elephant" or becoming a "virus". Obviously, he opts for the latter. The reality, however, seems that the centralized multisite approach isn't a virus at all but only a more creatively contained single organism... perhaps an Octopus (with its extended reach), or a vine (still connected to the trunk). The thing with viruses is that if you kill the starting virus, the offspring still function normally & agressively. If virus is the goal (as I really believe our faith & personhood-in-community is designed to function), then we will need to design missional/incarnational communities that have viral-multiplication built into its DNA of values. So... how to we do that? How did the Apostles do it? How did Jesus do it?

I think you'll enjoy the clip. Just be sure Windows Media Player 9 or later is set as your default player (all file types checked), then click this LINK. Shouldn't take more than a minute to load.

Thread: Strategy / Structure


Missional Jerry said...

Check out Seth Godin's eBook The Idea Virus.

John Lynch said...

I'm interested. Could you tell me about it?