We use terms like, "relevant" or "modern" to define the multisite church movement, but I think that it fits the book of Acts more than ever. As a church on mission, we should use every means possible to communicate the timeless truth of God in every generation. Through multisite, we are seeing the church grow by planting campuses in local communities rather than building larger buildings at one campus. But as I've continued reading over the past year on multisite, there isn't much information on how this works in student ministry.
Paul wrote about reaching people with the gospel in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23, "To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." We live in a visual culture. We can watch news, movies and more on our smartphones. Services like Netflix have reshaped how we watch movies. The video store, where you went to pick one off the shelf, is now becoming obsolete. As fast as the culture has moved on watching media, the church seems to fall behind for different reasons. Media is one of the key components of student ministry. And leveraging video will become the norm in the next 5 years as churches grow and try to figure out multi-site student ministry.
3 Reasons video can shape the future of multi-site:
1. Video is a huge part of culture. It is one of the most widely used tools of communication today. Students use Skype, Face Time and other video chatting services to connect with each other. Since the 1950's people have accepted a virtual newsperson to tell them the nightly news. How many people have watched Charles Stanley over the years on TV? God can work through video. He isn't limited to only a live person. So why the pushback in the church? People do not like change. If the content and heart of the communication is engaging, the means are not as important to students. The older generation will fight it but in a matter of 10 years, video teaching will be as normal as the organ is in traditional churches.
2. Sustainable teaching across campuses. Most people reject the idea of video teaching because they want a "live person" present. Once you grow to two campuses, it is hard to sustain the quality and excellence of teaching unless you have staff that is trained to teach God's Word effectively. One of the reasons multisite is difficult for churches is how expensive it can be to try and staff each campus like the original campus. Instead of hiring a bunch of people to do the same thing, have a few focus upon the teaching in the big group so that more leaders can focus upon the relationships built in small group settings.
3. Video extends the reach of the gospel. I love the movement of the local church to go multisite, because it helps reach more people for Jesus. Rather than one campus growing bigger with more buildings, video helps align each campus to learn the same thing from the same person so it is unified. Even better, many people in other countries have smartphones. They can access the YouVersion Bible app and video teaching anywhere, at any time. It is taking the Word of God and helping spread the good news of Jesus longer and farther than ever before!
Video, like powerpoint, pro-presenter and hymnals before it, is a tool that God has given us in today's world. I am looking forward to how the church continues to leverage technology to communicate the gospel! The question we have to wrestle with is, "Are we going to move forward with new ideas or hold to old traditions that we are comfortable with?" What are your thoughts on the future of video in the local church? In student ministry?