If you’ve been tracking with some of my recent blog posts, you will know that I have a strong interest with the intersection of church history and missiology. I am particularly intrigued by historical multiplication movements in church history. But out of all of them, the Methodist story is one of the most unique. I am currently doing research for my master’s thesis—my subject matter is how the early Methodist circuit was both similar to and different from modern multisite churches.
As I research, I am cognizant of where this research could lead, such as a potential subject matter for potential doctoral work. I specifically want to focus on evaluating the missional effectiveness of multisite church multiplication. With this said, I am a huge advocate of church multiplication, of all shapes and sizes. I love house churches and mega-churches. Why? Because it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people.
During my research, I was shocked to find so many leaders opposed to multisite multiplication. On the opposite side of the spectrum (while smaller in scale) there are other leaders who almost completely prefer multisite campuses. Does church multiplication need to be church plants vs. multisite campuses? We live in a polarized society, where either–or seems to be the approach to so many subject matters, but especially so in churches. Contemporary vs. traditional, Arminian vs. Calvinist, egalitarian vs. complimentarian, and the list goes on. The problem is that we have a difficult time finding value in something different from the thing that we associate with.
Some churches will do multisite multiplication better and other will do church planting better. Both are essential, because at the end of the day, our call is to share the gospel with people—and we aren’t given a specific methodology of how to do that. Some communities need church plants and some need a multisite campus. Some leaders are gifted to plant a church and others have better gifts as a campus pastor. When we box ourselves into a system that says either–or, we can miss a lot of opportunity to experience what God can do with both–and.