I have been reading a review by John Hammett, who is Professor of Systematic Theology of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, of the book The Multi-Site Revolution, which was written by Greg Ligon, Warren Bird, and Geoff Surratt.
While acknowledging that the book is aimed at practitioners, Hammett writes:
“The leaders of this movement need to show more clearly that a multi-site church fits within the biblical meaning of ekklesia before recommending it as fervently as they do. A respect for history should cause them to ponder why earlier theologians never saw this model in the pages of the New Testament. Before adopting a pragmatic solution in response to the need for additional seating, considering the theological implications of the solution is imperative. This book should be building upon a previous work making the theological, exegetical, and ecclesiological case for multi-site churches. But that work has not yet been written. I am not sure that a convincing case can be made; perhaps it can. But before urging multitudes of churches to join the movement, the implications of the multi-site model need to be considered.
Perhaps multi-site churches are a preferable option to building bigger buildings for bigger megachurches. But why adopt what is as of now biblically questionable when the better option of planting new churches is clearly biblical? Much of what this book contains can be easily transferred to a strong and supportive church planting model, which would accomplish many of the same goals as the multi-site church while relieving many of the troubling ecclesiological questions.”
I earlier posted some of my own thoughts on the multi-site movement – before I read Dr. Hammett – and I want to give his challenge more careful consideration, but one thing that I’m not sure he sufficiently takes into account is the degree to which our new information situation may inform a paradigm of church that might include a multi-site strategy. For example, here I tried to tease out how the declining cost of information impacts leadership formation. I believe that this trend also may have an effect on ecclesiology.