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One Church, Multiple Campuses

October 31, 2007

I like John Piper.  I do.  He is the contemporary C. H. Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones.  He is probably the single most dynamic and influential preacher today with his books, his free online resources and sermons, and conference messages.  We will, most likely, have more audio available from John Piper than any other single individual, even major politicians.  The man is a book factory, putting out a book almost every year since the mid 80′s, books of considerable substance.  His Desiring God conferences are now major events every year, creating a book from every conference.  He has two major websites developed around his ministry, Desiring God and Don’t Waste Your Life.  John Piper is productive.  He has been an obvious influence in my life as well.  He is a pastor’s pastor.

There has been one thing that I always get hung up on.  His One Church, Multiple Campuses church model.  I don’t know if it is an actual model, but this is how Bethlehem Baptist Church is arranged.  3 campuses around town, all watching a screen with a recorded sermon by John Piper.  This is how they do church – at least the preaching.  I have heard much criticism of this setting (mostly anti-mega church folks), and it has often times not settled well with me – not that that has any significance.  But thoughts like, Just plant a church, Piper!, enter into my head.  Yet, I have always given him the benefit of the doubt and never thought too much of it.

Interestingly, I just listened to a recent sermon Treasuring Christ Together Because He is More Valuable Than All Else of his where he gives the vision, purpose, and goals of his church in multiplying campuses, planting churches, and helping the poorest of the poor.  He doesn’t satisfy all my personal questions (I’m quite sure that wasn’t his objective), but he puts forth a wonderful vision.  It is also a wonderful sermon on Philippians 3.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. tlangejr permalink
    November 26, 2007 3:12 am

    I have always wondered how effective one can be with multiple campuses. The church I attend has planted two churches in recent years instead of the multiple campus idea.

    Personally, the multiple campus idea is a bad one because it reduces the ineffectiveness of the pastoral staff esp. someone like Piper because he can’t be at all campuses at once (except for video) and I think something is lost if we have reduced church and worship to watching it on a screen instead of being able to interact with it on a more personal level.

  2. jbstarke permalink*
    November 26, 2007 1:42 pm

    I think I naturally tend to agree with you on this sort of thing. If you get the chance, however, listen to the audio and you may start to be at least sympathetic to why they are doing it this way. If anything, it ends up being a great sermon on the selected text.
    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Trip Rodgers permalink
    November 26, 2007 4:41 pm

    John,
    JD Greear just did a similar post at http://www.jdgreear.com. I think he answers some of your concerns. Thanks for the post. It’s a good one.

    Trip Rodgers

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