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February 15, 2007 by Stephen
I read an article in the Washington Post recently about McLean Bible Church, but the article was really more about the new growth strategy of megachurches – satellite sites. These churches use the strategy of opening multiple locations under the same name and considering themselves one church. Gone are the days of planting new churches that are independent entities, creative and unique in their approach to ministry in a specific community. There are advantages to this new strategy, chief among them being the ability to provide better and more affordable programs than a struggling small new church plant. But here’s the quote from a pastor that embraces this strategy that got me thinking differently: “It’s kind of like going to Starbucks. You know the product you’re going to get.” Skeptics and critics wonder if this new trend is more about bolstering egos than spreading the message. That, I feel, is a valid concern. My first reaction upon reading the article was, Are we really more concerned with creating a “brand” than we are about being the presence of Christ in a local community? And, is there such a thing as a church being too big? These questions have been around for awhile, but the need to address them is only going to get more urgent as more and more megachurches adopt this strategy of opening satellite sites, and in our case here in the DC area, spiritual beltways.