Some people, like the Hives, hate to say “I told you so”, but not me.
So now that Mars Hill has announced a plan to take over the whole world with video campuses I’m going to say it. I told you so. This is a bad model. And while I love Mark Driscoll for his teaching and gifts – and listen to his podcasts – the idea of broadcasting yourself to 50,000 people around the world sends shivers down my spine. When is enough growth enough? Mars Hill seems to have a scattergun approach to ministry ideas – shooting at every target they can possibly see.
It truly takes a phenomenal ego to think you should be broadcast to churches all over the planet 40 times a year. So much for finding 900 preachers for Jesus – what they really want is 900 AV men for Jesus.
In some ways, a local campus functions much like an independent church, with its own staff, elder team, and programs. A campus pastor leads the effort as the visible presence from the pulpit (preaching roughly ten Sundays every year) and as the authority for all campus matters.
The campus model allows people to participate in the ministry of Mars Hill Church and benefit from Pastor Mark’s teaching and other resources, while at the same time experiencing many of the benefits of a smaller church, such as intimate community, neighborhood ties, and proximity.
Also, the campus model allows pastors and local leaders to do ministry and spread the gospel without having to deal with the many administrative tasks—managing HR and budgets, building websites and databases—that hinder many churches. It also provides a way for smaller, dying churches to reinvigorate their local ministry by joining the mission of Mars Hill.