I’m not a fan of the growing church campus movement. Yes, I know there is some value in these works and Deb is quick to remind me that there are indeed a lot of people getting connected to Christ through some of these campuses. I have a great friend that works with the campus model in my area. My brother; have mercy on his soul, attends one of these campus churches. Yes, there are people being saved and discipled at these campus churches. Yes, I know all the positive arguments for campuses. But I still just don’t like the idea. At its worst, I feel like campuses are more about Empire building than Kingdom expansion. I sense at times that much of this simply comes down to control issues. On my bad days I even want to liken the whole phenomena to the BORG from Star Trek. You know; assimilation of all worlds is the plan and resistance is Futile.
Before you get the idea that I’m just a scrooge, please know that my caution is not just emotional. In my sober moments, I do see at least two legitimate concerns. To begin with; is it really the best use of funds? My wife and I were shocked a few years ago when another friend who leads a mega church told us how much money they were putting into their next campus. After we picked our jaws up off the floor and quickly crunched the numbers we realized that we could have planted at least 10 autonomous churches for the same chunk of change in different parts of the world. One campus church recently was on life support and many “experts” would have recommended shutting it down if it were a traditional church plant. But the reason the main campus didn’t close up shop was because they had sunk so much money into a building purchased for the campus and they didn’t want to lose it. I wonder if they would have had that same amount of passion in keeping the doors open if the body in question were merely a daughter church meeting in a school.
But my main concern really deals with reproduction and further expansion of the Kingdom. It may be that campuses actually put a lid on exponential possibilities as the outreach and vision can only go as far as the control of the mother ship. But on the other hand, in simple church planting, when a mother church recognizes the calling of leaders, trains them, empowers them, blesses them, and releases them, then there is no end to the expansion.
So while I do see the benefit of a campus and probably just need to lighten up a bit, I’m still cautious about the whole philosophy. It may just be a passing phase anyway. But what about you? Have you researched this issue and come to a conclusion on the matter?