Welcome to day two of the road trip. This is the second in a series of posts containing conversations that we recently had with some of the senior pastors featured in our new book – A Multi-site Church Road Trip. In each post you will gain additional insights by getting updates about the featured church and hearing the heart of the leader.
Today’s guest – Dave Browning (twitter – @bigdaverino), Christ the King Community Church.
1. Dave, you say in Multi-site Church Road Trip that you and the team at Christ the King have 120 campuses and many of those are actually International campuses. What does an international campus look like? How is the same/different from one of your state-side campuses?
Overseas our gatherings are often not in an owned or leased facilities. Some of our congregations meet in tents, or under trees, or town squares. Often the gatherings have children present, whereas in the US we offer children’s programming simultaneous the worship service. In the US our services are typically an hour or less. Overseas, our services are often longer than two hours. In some cultures the leader has a more prominent role that we tend to see in the US.
2. I think it is interesting that you have a commitment to international campuses and a high value for use of technology in developing leaders but no Internet campuses? Any reason for that?
Our international reach is more of a “God-thing” than anything else. We had no plan to be outside of our own county, much less around the world. But once you define the church by relationship, instead of geography, you realize that relationships do not respect geographical boundaries. We say that we can go as far as relationships will take us. Our goal is to raise up people to do ministry, so we view technology as a tool, not a strategy.
3. We have talked recently about your discovery that there is a greater access to cell coverage than high speed internet in India and many of the countries you are serving in Africa and that this has prompted you to redesign your leadership development training to be delivered in text size messages. Can you give us an update on where you are in that process? What is working? What is not?
I send out a weekly email that gets resent as text by our international leaders. Some of our leaders follow me on Twitter as well. The cell phone is clearly the next laptop. More SMS texts are sent every day in the world than email messages. We are attempting to take our “teachable points of view” and distill them to 140 characters or less. We are also developing 60-second sermons that can be utilized on cell phones.
4. You are the author of Deliberate Simplicity, another title in the Leadership Network Innovation Series. How do the key principles of simplicity find application in the establishment and execution of International Campuses?
Simplicity resonates in the two-thirds world, because it really is the only option. There are not resources available in much of the world to support the attractional model.
5. What is new about the multi-site ministry at Christ the King since we last talked?
I believe that God is showing us some new things about worship. Many of our leaders are feeling that our corporate worship has been too much about us, and not enough about Him. We are also exploring more non-musical forms of worship that have great potential to reduce our dependence on musicians as key to expanding the church.
6. What have I not asked that I should have?
You ask great questions. One additional one might be, “What complicates overseas ministry?” The answer would be: money. There is such a huge resource disparity between our church in the US and our church in the two-thirds world that we are wrestling constantly with how much to support needs overseas. So far we have sent very nominal and sporadic support, and have placed an emphasis on being self-sustaining. But it is often difficult to say “no” when they need it and we have it.
Next stop? Robert Emmitt, Senior Pastor, Community Bible Church, San Antonio, Texas
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Twitter – @gregligon @geoffsurratt @warren bird #mscr #leadnet