Megachurches are setting up multi-site campuses that are crossing state lines and, in the process, facing criticism that they are establishing churches as franchises, reports Christianity Today (July).
A recent trend among megachurches is to extend “their brand of church to new communities,” often featuring live music and sermons piped in from the main campus, while satellite campuses established by megachurches within the same area tend to operate as “high qual-ity overflow rooms,” drawing people familiar with the style and teachings of the main congregation. The long-distance campuses are more like church plants, ministering to people who may not know anything about the sponsoring megachurch.
But local church planters may feel threatened by this method. As one church planter said about the Seattle megachurch Mars Hill planting a satellite in Portland, Oregon: “… it’s a bit like reading the notice that Walmart is coming and you are the mom and pop store.” Other prominent churches starting long-distance satellite campuses include LifeChurch.tv based in Edmund, Oklahoma, which has 14 campuses in five states, and Sea-coast Church in South Carolina, which has 13 congregations in three states.
(Christianity Today, 465 Gundersen Dr., Carol Stream, IL 60188)