Transforming Church Team Blog
resourcing leaders…reenvisioning the future

Multi-Churching: The New Reality? Part 3 of 3

 

In part 1 of Multi-Churching we explored the new reality that many people are not connected to just one church, but many.  They receive ministry and serve in ministries across multiple churches.  In part 2 we explored the positive and negative implications for the individuals and families who Multi-Church.  In part 3, we will explore the possible implications for the local church.John Holm

 

Years ago, the local congregation could assume that most people would connect to one congregation, not many.  They would worship, serve, and grow in the same place.  If they had children, they would bring their children to that same church.  Many churches still function with that assumption.  But, as pointed out in parts 1 & 2 of this series, many people are Multi-Churching.  This raises many possible implications for the local church to wrestle with:

 

1.     Does this mean that the local congregation does not have to try to offer everything since a neighboring church can compliment them?

2.    Each local church may be able to better focus their strategy based on their own DNA/Code, more confidently knowing that they don’t have to be “all things to all people.”

3.    Those who do connect may be confused as to your local church’s teachings and doctrines.  Is this problematic?  How can this be addressed in helpful ways?

4.    Getting people connected as true partners in ministry, instead of mere consumers, may be even more difficult in the future if Multi-Churching continues to grow.

5.    Any others?

 

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts and input.

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3 Responses to “Multi-Churching: The New Reality? Part 3 of 3”

  1. We are currently multi churching, though I didn’t realize it was called that. 🙂 We attend church as a family on Sundays, serve at PADS, serve in various capacities and send our daughter to preschool at one church. Our girls go to Sunday School and we worship Sat. night at another church. In addition, I go to Small group at our Sat. church. It has worked out great for us. Our kids are involved in a dynamic children’s ministry, we are able to attend a more contemporary (Rockin’) service on Sat. But we get to worship as a family, receive communion weekly and be part of an intimate church on Sundays. The only problems we have com across are a slight feeling of disloyalty to our first church (though that is our own hangup), minor questions about tithing and questions about where to serve (though this has not really been an issue yet, I can feel it coming.) Overall though, it only makes sense that we need a variety of different things, and different churches can meet those needs. No one church can be everything for everyone. In addition, it is nice to make a wider group of Christian friends. It just makes sense. It is great to see that we are not the only ones in this situation.

  2. This is an interesting phenomenon in churches today. Are we a part of, and active in, the church — or the Church? When the 1st century Church began Scripture says that “they (all) ((my emphasis)) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. … they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes…” (Acts 2) So it appears that they were multi-churching immediately after Pentecost. Is it more important for us to support one local church or to be in fellowship and service with all Christians in the mission Jesus Christ set before us? Personally I grew up in the “one church” paradigm. I very rarely even visited another church unless it was for a wedding or a funeral, and then it was almost uncomfortable. Yet today, many years later I married a woman that belonged to another church, we remained (until recently) members at our own churches, and were active together at both churches. We even shared our offerings with both churches. Beyond that I have gotten actively involved in an organization in Lake County IL called Catalyst. This group is group is made up of many churches all working together to renew God’s heart in the world, to serve the community together, and to renew Jesus’ reputation in our community. There is great power when many churches come together to serve others!

    As you said John, “Getting people connected as true partners in ministry, instead of mere consumers” will be a great challenge for churches today. Churches need to remain true to their code, and to fulfill the Great Commission to make disciples. I believe that can be done in a multi-church reality, but it will take great intentionality on the part of the local churches to break down the barriers between them. They will need to eliminate the “competition” for members and help people be accountable to growing as disciples. This is going to require developing better, more intentional relationships with the people that come through the doors and sit in the chairs/pews on Sunday morning. It will be through relationships that we know that people are growing and not just shopping. Maybe we need to “meet together in the temple courts and break bread in our homes” again today!

    • Thanks for your insights Joe. Your comments regarding local congregations breaking down the barriers between themselves so that they can eliminate competition is on target. If people are beginning to see and connect to churches in non-competitive ways then the churches will need to follow their lead. Being as intentional with our relationships with the people that local ministries touch as well as being intentional with building the relationships with other congregations will go a long way in increasing mission and ministry in the local community. It will not only bring people into many different ministry partnerships but may grow congregational partners as well!


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