"Should we have one central congregation with many locations and video teaching for all? Or multiple congregations in many locations with live teaching for all?" Seattle-based Mars Hill Church has chosen to go with the latter.
Mars Hill decided to dissolve in order to multiply. And here are some things that will get multiplied through their decision:
More local churches led by local disciples. No more out-of-town control over the local body of believers. This will multiply the amount of "ownership" for each local group. Decisions will be made by those who are actually carrying out the ministry on the ground.
By starting new congregations, the opportunity to make more disciples will flourish. God blesses His people when they plant new churches for His glory. It's been happening that way for 2000 years, and it isn't about to stop now.
3) Teaching Pastors
This move by Mars Hill will multiply the number of pastors who teach the Word to followers of Christ. It will help to keep the focus on the Word itself, rather than on a "celebrity pastor." Christians don't need a famous preacher in order to grow, but they do need faithful preaching and teaching.
The faith of Mars Hill disciples will expand and "multiply" by having more opportunities to trust God to build His church. When you watch a video presentation of the Word from miles away, you tend to assume the "central church" will take care of us. With the revised approach, the disciples of Mars Hill will be challenged on the local level to step out in faith and trust God to meet their needs.
5) A "Jesus" Focus
It is tempting in megachurches to think about the senior pastor as much as you think about Christ. The main pastor gets tons of attention. By dissolving the central congregation, Mars Hill is multiplying the focus on Jesus and lessening the focus on any one pastor, or any one megachurch.
That's not to say all megachurches seek glory for themselves or their pastor. In many cases, those pastors and megachurches are not seeking the attention. Nevertheless, an unhealthy focus still tends to develop way too often.
Mark Driscoll was used by the Lord at Mars Hill to teach the Word and make disciples. And now, many more pastors and disciples will be raised up by the Lord to use their gifts for the glory of God and the advancement of Christ's kingdom. (see Acts 2:42)
It's a new day for those believers. And the opportunities for each one of us to make disciples in a local church are right in front of us. As Jesus said, "Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest." (John 4:35)