The Out of Ur blog posted a reflection here on a recent USA Today article on multi-site churches. The USA Today article highlighted the issue that pastoral care for individual members by the main preaching pastor is very difficult when that pastor is tending to several sites and preaching constantly. I’m sure many large single-site churches have the same difficulty. I remember visiting a large church several years ago (~2,000 attenders) when on vacation. I loved the pastor’s sermon and went to the church’s webpage in an attempt to just send him a short note of encouragement to let him know. Everyone else had their email address listed except the lead pastor. Essentially you could not contact him as a visitor unless you went through someone else. I ended up sending my note to someone else on that church’s staff and asked if they could forward it on for me.
This is a size-related organizational issue that is as old as time itself. It reminds me of the story in Exodus 18 when Moses solves the problem by creating a hierarchy to deal with lesser issues that arise. My take on this whole thing (which is covered in the multi-site page on this blog) is that not all multi-site churches are the same. The Multi-Site Church Revolution lays this out pretty well. Not every multi-site church is about making clones of a gigantic megachurch at different locations and broadcasting video from a gifted preacher. Some instead encourage small size and allow for unique expressions at each site. I suspect these multi-site churches struggle much less with the pastoral care issues that were mentioned in the article, and to me, these are the more interesting versions of multi-site churches to study.