I have admired Andy Stanley for several years now and believe there are obviously “good things” happening at North Point. Of course, that depends on how you define good things. More than a year ago a friend of mine who lives outside Detroit told me he was attending a North Point Strategic Partner church. I thought it was an interesting concept to have a church in Detroit fashioned after a church in Atlanta, and where you actually viewed Andy Stanley sermons on the screen. My friend said he was a little skeptical at first but really enjoyed the approach and felt it was being received well. After our initial conversation I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought.

Several days ago I ran across an Out of Ur post that brought the entire thing back to mind, and as I read it I thought, interesting… and disturbing. I always applaud creative approaches, and I really think the idea of a growing church replicating their efforts in another part of the city or even country is an interesting concept. Obviously things are working for them so why not take the same formula and put it into play in another location. It works for McDonald’s and a host of other businesses so why not church? Well, that’s where the disturbing thing comes into play for me.

I feel like church needs to be local. It not only needs to be led by local people but it needs to be contextualized to the local culture. We’re not selling burgers here, we’re sharing the good news of Christ’s forgiveness and experiencing life with each other. The idea is not to build up a kingdom, other than God’s. I’m sure Andy Stanley’s motives are pure but what’s so special about him and his methods of doing church that calls for franchising it around the country? Is this model the next version of televangelism? Is it the new form of denominationalism (like we need another denomination)? Are we losing the idea of the shepherd feeding the flock? Great idea or misguided concept? What are your thoughts?