Why does our church invest in a “multi site” vision? Why do we have different worship services, different locations, and a vision to keep expanding those worship and teaching venues? Here are a few reasons that motivate me.
MULTIPLE & SINGLE
The first and foremost reason we do multiples has to do with our singlular vision: reaching people for Christ! Jesus gave His church “marching orders” just before He ascended back to the Father. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20 ESV) We live in a city where it is estimated more than 90% of our friends and neighbors have no affiliation with any religion or faith community. The need to reach out could not be more obvious!
Making disciples, baptizing the new believers, and teaching them to live the Christian life is the pulse of our ministry. That original vision of Jesus- to reach the world with the gospel, motivates us to respond!
Therefore, we are interested in every appropriate response to the lostness of our city. If you are a fisherman you go where the fish are. Going where people are makes sense if you want to reach people and we do! Multiple services and locations put multiple “hooks in the water!”
MULTIPLE & PRACTICAL
According to FORBES magazine (and several other observers), Austin has been the fastest, or one of the fastest growing cities in America for the last four years in a row! For a church, that fact is both exciting and challenging. How can we reach those already here and those who are coming into our city? Can we really expect everyone to come to our Hyde Park Campus? Yes, a few thousand regard the Hyde Park Campus as “home” in some sense, while hundreds of thousands of others are unreached. Austin is a mission field!
A land developer in our congregation told us if we could drop a pin onto the population center of the Austin metro area, the pin would land on the Quarries- our church’s 62 acre recreational property, (nine miles north of our Hyde Park Campus). Does that fact stir a creative thought in you? It did for me!
About 10 years ago, in response to the long held dream of many of our people, we started aggressively and intentionally developing the Quarries property to maximize our ministry options. First, in the early 21st Century, we built the Christian Life Center (CLC), developed the Varsity athletic field, and opened a new entrance off of MoPac. Once we had those things we were able to build Hyde Park High School. With the CLC and the MoPac entrance open we started The Quarries Church in the CLC gym six years ago. Later, when the High School was completed, it’s facilities (and our unique relationship with the school) made that location even more conducive to a church worship and education ministry. While many “church starts” and multiple site churches pay rent, or buy/build new meeting space, our church was able to expand in the growing north Austin area in shared, multi-purpose space without the additional burden of rent. There are costs associated with ministry to be sure, and we can imagine expanding into space and locations we don’t own someday, but for now the multi-use of existing rent free space just makes practical sense (and it works great)!
MULTIPLE & INNOVATIVE
Change, creativity, and innovation should be exciting words for the born again, Spirit filled, redeemed Church of Jesus- but sometimes they’re not as exciting as we think! People love tradition, often fear change, and can be reluctant to branch out. I heard about a new pastor who enthusiastically declared, “With God’s help we can lead our church into the 20th century!” One of the members said, “Pastor, I think you mean the 21st century.” The pastor replied, “Brother, with this church, let’s take it one century at a time!” At Hyde Park Baptist/The Quarries Church we know what century we are in! It is time to seize a moment.
There is a powerful statement tucked in the Bible about recognizing the opportunities of the moment. “David served God’s purpose in his own generation, then he died and was buried with his ancestors… “(Acts 13:36 CEB)
Did you see that? King David “served God… IN HIS OWN GENERATION.” Now is our time! We don’t serve God in the 1990’s! Those days are gone. We have to seize the present for the Kingdom of God.
In this age of rapid change, the church of Jesus cannot afford to cement itself in structures and ministries that produce little, while refusing to adapt to a changing mission field. Innovation is one of the advantages of multi-site ministries. It can be carried out with a lithe, nimble structure unencumbered with treasured but ineffective past traditions. If reaching people for Christ is what we exist to do then we will embrace the most creative and responsive ways to do it. That will always involve innovation and change and a willingness to follow the leading of the Spirit, who is calling us with Christ into the future! Our success at The Quarries Church, for instance, demonstrates that creative approaches to evangelism and discipleship can reach scores of new people. This year, for example, The Quarries Church has grown by over 40%! It is unprecedented but not unexpected. We believe, under the Lordship of Christ, and in the power of the Spirit, we can witness this kind of growth over and over again in multiple venues around Austin. Would you join me in prayer about a future like that? Together we can witness God do amazing things for His glory.
Sent from my iPhone