Pastor David Chadwick was torn when he raised the question as he stepped down from Forest Hill Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the final weeks of winter.
“Churches all over the country are doing it with videos shown on the screen in other places,” he said in March. But he wondered about the effectiveness of the multisite model.
For nearly 40 years, Chadwick had led the 4,000-member, six-campus ministry which he had built from a 180-member congregation. As he ended his tenure at the church, however, Chadwick revealed he had started to have doubts about Forest Hill’s multisite model where lead pastors mainly connect with the congregation through video.
“I know I’m a good communicator … I can have people come and listen. But doesn’t a pastor need to speak to his people? I began to struggle with that,” he admitted.
At the time, said Chadwick, Forest Hill had already begun considering making each of the church’s campus pastors more autonomous.
Since 2012, multisite churches – congregations that host worship services at more than one physical location – have numbered more than 5,000 in the US