I'm somewhere in the middle on the multi-site debate. I'm much more sympathetic to a local/regional multi-site like Tim Keller. I find video venues problematic. James MacDonald & Mark Driscoll both have multi-sites with some video venues. Mark Dever is the guy who says even multiple services is a problem resulting in multiple congregations. So though he could have many more people and services and locations, he still only has one service. I'm not exactly in any of their camps, though I like each of these guys and most of what they do.
But when these three come together for a conversation I expected it to be very interesting and full of thought-provoking argument. It's not. It's a lot of misunderstanding and misdirection and sometimes almost insulting comments, though no one acts offended and I'm sure they assume the best of each other.
So many good questions and points need to be discussed and answered, and I'm not sure a single one was in this video. A few thoughts...
There is an assumption that multi-sites become their own congregations after the leader dies and that multi-sites with video are better because they aren't tied to the leader being there and everyone interacting with him. But why can't they be tied to the leader still?
If that leader's face and name wasn't a part of the venue and movement, people wouldn't come in the same numbers. Their "celebrity" brings in the people, which is a part of why it's used. That's why it works. To assume people will stay after that name and face are gone doesn't work to me. I don't know of any church that has been that far in their history to know if that will work or not. But shouldn't we be concerned for these venues since the name and face is so important?
Let me add, celebrities don't stop becoming celebrities when they aren't in the personal presence of someone. Driscoll seems to imply that. In video venues we make our preaching celebrities more like cultural ones...by putting them on TV. I know there's more to it than that, but I'm really surprised that the conversation doesn't go in that direction. I wish Dever would have pushed more there.
One last thing. Where was the theological basis of the discussion. There was a little on church meaning "assembly" at the beginning, but it turned to plans and numbers and stats and a bunch of stuff other than theology and Bible. In that I wonder if Dever is more open to these things than he has been in the past or if a 2 on 1 conversation is just a bad idea unless the 2 are going to be fair in how they argue with the 1. I'd rather not see your ribbing and "fist bumping" approach and see you really engage deeply on issues that are important. I need to hear these men generously argue with each other. I think we all do. I think that's why the conversation and video exist. But I think it failed to produce something worthwhile.
What say you?