Churches Need to Grow Larger and Smaller: Warren

I’m certain that the Church of the 21st century will be adopting a different model from what is commonly practiced among churches today that operate like silos. Rick Warren’s concept of ‘decentralizing’ looks to be that relevant or suitable model for the future where Christians can be more mobile and empowered in permeating our society as His salt and light.

While many people believe megachurches are a modern phenomenon, Warren wants to emphasize that it’s a 2,000-year-old idea.

Moreover, multi-site churches – which have begun to explode in recent years – are nothing new either.

Where did the more than 100,000 people attending the first church in Jerusalem meet? Warren posed to pastors at the “Radicalis” conference.

They met in temple courts (plural emphasized) and from house to house, he said, citing the New Testament book of Acts.

“They met in different courts,” Warren underlined. “Notice: one church, multiple locations. One church, multiple venues.”

“That’s a biblical concept,” he stressed.

Saddleback Community Church in southern California currently has 12 “temple courts,” eight of which are on the Lake Forest campus and four of which are in other cities.

Rather than build one large temple court, or a stadium to fit the some 22,000 weekly attendees, Warren chose to have a campus with multiple smaller buildings and several separate campuses, in keeping with the standard set by the first church.

Plus, it’s better stewardship, he said.

“I’m not interested in building a stadium. A building that’s that big is used once a week and sits empty [the rest of the week],” he said.

“You need to understand this, pastor: nobody really likes big churches. The only people who like big churches are pastors because we like to preach to a large crowd. People don’t go to church because of size. They put up with size in order to get the benefits.”

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