Last week’s post “A New Church?” was centered around the growth of satellite churches across the country and the thought was to create a forum for discussion regarding the validity or necessity for their existence. I was hoping for comments from a number of readers but I received only one from a good friend and brother in Christ and I am certainly appreciative of his insights on the matter. However, since there was virtually no other response I must assume that the interest level is low concerning this subject. It may be that most people have not really put any thought into these questions or that they don’t think it really matters either way. But like so many other things that seem to be changing in our culture, I sincerely believe that these assemblies need to examined closer to see if they really meet the criteria for a local church. In the next few paragraphs we will pose some questions and raise some concerns that may or may not have been considered before.
First of all I want everyone to understand that what I’m calling a satellite church is not to be confused with a church plant sponsored by an existing local church. A church plant should arise out of a mission effort on a local church’s part and should be targeted in an area that is what we considered un-churched and has no local church or churches to speak of. In other words, it is an effort to take to the gospel to that area and it is born out of a heart for missions from the existing local church. It is really no different from a church sending a team on a mission trip to some overseas country except for the most part those are short-term efforts in spreading the gospel. In contrast, a church plant is considered permanent and has a God-called man on-site and accountable for all that goes on. So, I am certainly a proponent of church plants as long as the motives are pure.
And that is where I have somewhat of a problem with certain satellite church attempts. What are the motives. In my opinion the following is the main question that should be proposed and considered to determine what the real motives are. Why would a church a number of miles away feel it necessary to rent a large meeting room, hold a meeting, televise it by closed circuit to the home church, and call it a church worship service, especially in an area where numerous local churches exist and many of them strong churches that are preaching and teaching correct biblical doctrine? I realize that is quite a long question but it really sums up a concern that should be considered. If this question can be satisfactorily answered while meeting biblical standards, then it may be something valid for today’s times and needed more than we think. However, next week we will present some possible motives that may be behind all of this and we will also pose some questions regarding the qualification and administrative aspects of the organization.
I hope we can eventually sort it all out and come to a reasonable conclusion that is supported by God’s Word. Again, I would appreciate any comments or thoughts from any of you on the subject. Until next week, may God richly bless each of you.