Want Fries with That

Want fries with that sermon? The Chicago Tribune reports on congregations that apply the lessons of franchising to church growth by creating brand loyaly and consistent quality and services at multiple location.

If it worked for burgers, maybe it'll work for God.

Community Christian and Willow Creek are geared to spiritual seekers in their weekend services. They put a priority on delivering a highly professional presentation to audiences that have grown up with 16-screen cineplexes, big-budget musicals and elaborate concerts. So when Willow Creek hired Colorado megachurch pastor Jim Tomberlin to spearhead its expansion to satellite campuses, he knew the far-flung locations couldn't skimp on the reputation that the South Barrington church has developed.

"When Starbucks opens up a Starbucks," Tomberlin said, "people expect it to be Starbucks, not a mom-and-pop coffee shop. There's a lot of meaning in the Willow brand."

Don't think the folks over at will be too happy about this.

These satellite churches combine live music with preaching beamed in from headquarters, or in some cases by DVD. There's certainly some interesting theology at work in that idea. Does the Holy Spirit work via satellite? Is this just another way to worship the one-eyed god of television?

Tomberlin of Willow Creek does have an interesting idea--saying that a satellite church can combine the intimacy of a small congregation with the bells and whistles of a megachurch.

We've done surveys in the past, and when you ask people what the ideal church size is, they'll say about 200," Tomberlin said. "But when you ask them what they want from a church, they describe a church of 2,000--great preaching, great youth and children's programs, a pastor who's available to them.

"There's a sense that small is more intimate, and it's true," he added. "I believe these [satellites] allow us to do both."


Powered by Blogger