Does Acts 2 Justify Large Multi-Site Churches?

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Multi-site Churches

It has become popular in this mega -minded church community to biblically justify the multi-site church. There are several pastors who have mega multi-site churches who are now attempting to justify them by using Acts 2. It is obvious by the attempt to biblically justify these models that churches using the model are getting push back from people within the christian community and are attempting to validate the model from the scriptures.

So does Acts 2 justify a mega multi-site church?

Let’s look at the context and the events that follow Acts 2. Acts 2 describes the conversion of a large number of Jewish pilgrims who are in town for an important religious holiday. The Holy spirit is poured out on the one hundred twenty people assembled in the upper room just days after Jesus’ ascension into heaven. The Spirit moves in the midst of people and there is the speaking of tongues and the understanding of tongues by the thousands who are gathered. Thousands are converted and begin to meet in homes where the disciples begin to teach them the truth about Jesus.

By the biblical accounts, three thousand men are converted, not including women and children. Were the disciples alone be the only teachers of the small groups, we could calculate the number of meetings in the following way:

30 men to a home = 100 meeting places
12 disciples doing the teaching = 8.3 meetings for each disciple each week

If there teaching were done by the 120 (not realistic because those included women, who would not be considered appropriate witnesses culturally):

30 men to a home = 100 meeting places
120 followers doing the teaching = 1 meeting for each follower each week

While this would be easy if 120 followers are doing the explaining and teaching, it would be wearisome for the disciples. That is not to say the biblical record is incorrect, just that if the apostles were to actually be “going” according to Matthew 28:19-20, then they would have to quickly raise up new teachers who would be able to facilitate the teaching long term.

But was this a long term reality?

These people would soon go back home to their own country. In addition, the diaspora would soon have an impact on the number of Christians in Jerusalem as many fled to face persecution. So the purpose of these meetings would have been to give each convert a crucial understanding of the person of Jesus so as they would be able to remain faithful to the Christ who saved them as well as spread their new faith as they lived their lived missionally wherever they may go.

It was a short-term solution to accomplish an important aspect of spiritual formation.

In addition, the question of taking a descriptive moment that is not found in the rest of scripture and making it prescriptive, or normative, may not be good hermeneutics.

Are mega multi-site churches wrong to follow that model? No. Is appropriate to use Acts 2 to justify it biblically? Probably not.

Mega Multi-sites should simply say they are using a pragmatic model to keep getting bigger and extending their brand.

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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