Every leader knows that one of the surest signs that you are doing something new and creative is the inevitable critique. Sometimes the critique is fear- based and some times that critique is corrective and helpful. Other times the critique is just uniformed. So whenever you read a critique ask yourself: Is this fear based? Is this corrective and helpful? Or is this just uninformed?
I just finished an interview with Evan Drake with CoachNet and one of his questions was in response to some of the critique that the multi-site church is receiving. The following is his question and my quick response.
COACHNET: One of the critiques of the multi-site church is that it does not empower leadership effectively. How do you respond to this?
DAVE: My quick response is two-fold? 1. This is a naive critique from people who have only seen one type of multi-site church. 2. This is a criticism that is coming from someone who does not understand that the whole reproducing (better term) or multi-site church is dependent on leadership and artist development. Without leadership development you can not have a multi-site church. Let me briefly elaborate on both those points:
1. Unfortunately, when most people think of a multi-site church they think of a large mega church with a charismatic pastor who is shown on video at a variety of locations. That is just one of about a dozen different variations of multi-site churches. There are brand new churches that are multi-site from day one. There are small churches that meet in multiple locations. There are rural churches that have more than one venue. There are lots of churches, large and small that use a teaching team. I have no problem with a mega church using video teaching, but to critique the whole methodology of being a multi-site church based on a narrow slice of the movement is naive and uniformed. (Did that sound like a rant? Good!)
2. I understand where this critique comes from, but it is has a misunderstand of leadership. Now, if they want to critique some churches that use video teaching for not developing more and better teachers…they may have a case. But the two things we have to do well as a multi-site church (after hearing from God) is this: reproduce more and better artists and reproduce more and better leaders. Artists are those people who either upfront or behind the scenes that make it possible to reproduce more worship services. Leaders are the ones who provide the care and discipleship for children, students and adults in small groups. The very possibility of starting a new site is based on having enough artists and enough leaders who are ready to go to the new location and provide the infrastructure of support for that new campus. Leadership is not only found with the Senior Pastor or senior leadership team.