Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church in Texas. Currently, the church has five campuses located throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but a recent announcement indicates this multi-site model will soon be changing.
“My heart was always multiplication, that we wouldn’t want to just horde people and resources in one location, but really we wanted to be actively involved in seeing gospel works planted all around us,” Chandler says.
The plan is to help the five campuses transition to “autonomous churches” by 2022. The purpose in transitioning is to free up these congregations so they can plant more churches themselves and engage in their communities as well as be more involved with the global work of the church.
In a video posted to a website devoted to announce the transition, Chandler explains the multi-site model was born out of a season of the church where they were experiencing rapid growth and needed more space. “It’s been a really rich, beautiful season,” Chandler says. A season he and the leadership of the church, which sees a weekly attendance of around 10,000 across their campuses, feel is coming to a close. Chandler sees the transition as an opportunity to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction.
The leadership has identified a handful of positive implications transitioning could have. Namely: improved focus and contextualization, multiplication, and a chance to embrace succession and allow it to succeed instead of resisting it.
Beau Hughes, pastor of the Denton campus, says the transition has caused increased unity in his congregation. “In the last 10 years of being a pastor here, I’ve never seen anything that has more beautifully united us and formed us together as a congregation than the transition because it thrust upon us the responsibilities that come with being a church.”
Plano Campus pastor Hunter Hall acknowledges the transition is new and different, and could potentially have speed bumps. But he asks, “Are we willing to risk what is for the sake of what could be?”
This sentiment echoes what Chandler feels of the transition as well. “It doesn’t go well for the people of God” when they stay in comfortable situations, he says.
The move is similar to the transitions Tim Keller’s Redeemer Church in New York City has undergone in an effort to fulfill “a vision for not being a megachurch.”
One has to wonder, in light of churches like The Village and Redeemer, if the age of the megachurch or multi-site church is coming to a close. Is it time now when we will see the resurgence of the local church?