A prominent North Carolina pastor who is stepping down from a mega-church he oversaw is sharing his doubts about the multi-site church model.
David Chadwick (pictured at right), 69, has resigned as pastor of the 4,000-member Forest Hill Church in Charlotte after leading the congregation for 40 years. The church has grown from a 180-member church to a six-campus ministry.
Chadwick told The Charlotte Observer that he is not retiring from the ministry but “re-firing” to pursue other ministry opportunities, and he remains open to pastoring a smaller congregation elsewhere.
He told the newspaper he is leaving behind a job that operated more like a CEO who oversees150 employees and a $25 million budget, when his passion is preaching the Word.
“It’s so much --- meetings, planning, staff oversight, job performance reviews, all those things,” he said.
Chadwick directly told the Observer he has doubts over the multi-church model, acknowledging that churches across the country are following it including the popular Elevation Church that is also located in Charlotte.
“I know I’m a good communicator … I can have people come and listen,” the pastor observed. “But doesn’t a pastor need to speak to his people? So I began to struggle with that, too.”
Chelsen Vicari with the Institute on Religion & Democracy tells OneNewsNow that some well-known churches have transitioned from the mult-site model towards autonomous, local sites such as Redeemer Church led by Tim Keller, and Matt Chandler's Village Church in Texas.
There are certainly pros and cons to the multi-campus model, Vicari says, but she says the biggest negative is the impersonal feel of a huge congregation.
“And folks can easily get lost in the crowd,” she observes, “and so (they) tend to not be deeply committed to the church or their local ministry."
There is also the danger of a “celebrity pastor” leading a mega-church and a pastor enduring burnout due to the immense responsibility, she adds.