Questions & Concerns for Pastor Dan
1. Where does WOLCS stands in all this? Will there still be a Preschool and Elementary school? Will it expand to a middle and high school?
Yes, we will continue with our preschool and elementary school. We have discussed the expansion of the WOLCS over the past several years but moving to a new campus is only one of several hurdles we would have to get over to expand beyond elementary school and at this point we haven’t made a decision to go expand beyond elementary school.
2. Based on this, we would like to know what will be happening with the funds we have given thus far, and the wedding ring we donated towards the cause.
We have had just over $3 million given thus far in the original UTWWH campaign and we have used approximately $2 million of those funds on projects we had projected through the original campaign. Those projects included the addition of parking; we added several hundred parking spaces in the south parking lot, another exit drive that goes out of our parking lots onto Miller Ave. as well as a few other building improvements we had projected to the present facility. We have the balance of those UTWWH funds in the UTWWH account. We spoke about the balance of the funds on the night of the meeting we held with those who have participated in the campaign when we asked their permission to move those funds toward the purchase of a new campus. As far as the wedding ring that was donated we sold all land and jewelry and moved those funds into the UTWWH account.
3. Is 3,000 seats large enough? (How large is Abundant Living & The Rock)? **
Abundant Livings new worship center seats 3500 people if I recall correctly. We have looked at multiple large church situations and believe that 3000 seats will work for WOL. This is approximately the size of Saddlebacks sanctuary and they have a weekend attendance of nearly 19,000
4. Concerns- Please have new people park in the lots and ride the shuttle instead of turning them away…
We never turn anyone away, but often new people chose not to park below because they are uncertain of what they are getting into and don’t know how far or how long it will take them to get into church. We ask regulars to park below, those who understand shuttling, and walking up, and they then free up parking spots near the church for visitors.
5. Sustainability- 25 years down the road we are burdening future generations with the burden of maintaining a huge facility. I encourage our leadership to search around and examine such works like the Crystal Cathedral, Willowcreek, etc. where, their vision was "larger is better!" and yet now, down the road, they are financially strapped because and burdened to maintain such a large facility.
Bigger is NOT always better. Besides, to be honest, how many more years will Danny be Pastoring at WOL? Will there still be the draw when Danny retires and goes out on the mission field as he has dreamed? Ten more years? Fifteen?
We have discussed sustainability and paying off our debt load many times. It is Pastor Dan’s desire to see all of our debt retired before he does! Whether or not this is possible remains to be seen. We have looked at many large churches that have built large campuses and we do recognize the issue of sustainability. Bigger is not always better as some are called to train, plant and release others to pastor churches, but there are many examples of churches (Church on The Way, Hillsongs etc) that are larger in their second generation than in their first generation.
6. Scriptural basis- where is there evidence building large churches... only the Temple in Jerusalem! Other than that, the model our Lord gave us is spread out, home to home, even when they added to their number 3 and 4 thousand converts at a time, Acts 2.
Much of the early church certainly met in homes but it is clear the Apostle Paul and many believers continued to worship at the local temples in the early church’s beginning years. When you ask where is the evidence of building large churches it is important to say most of the communities in the early church were agricultural villages not the large concentrations of suburbs and cities most of the world’s populations dwell in today. The Temple in Jerusalem was by our standards today gigantic.
The Bible never comments on the types of structures we worship in, be they big small etc. only that we need to gather and worship. Our culture has in recent years been socialized into largeness this is certainly one of the reasons for the rise of the “mega church”. We once had neighborhood markets, schools and neighborhood churches. We then had local supermarkets and community churches and schools, considerably larger than those neighborhood markets, schools and churches.
Today, well we have Costco and high schools with 4000 students. Elementary schools with hundreds of students and churches with thousands of people, is this all good? I am not sure it is but it certainly is a reflection of the day we live in and God has always managed to work in the culture and communities we dwell in. It is also important to note that our “mega churches” in America are today dwarfed by many of the congregations gathering around the world. From Brazil to Korea, from Nigeria to Argentina congregations of 30,000 to 500,000 gather weekly to worship.
7. Decentralize- utilize venues throughout the city! Aggressively and strategically utilize decentralized locations; up to this point the church plants have been like an afterthought versus actually well planned and strategized.
- Involve more people in direction leadership and ministry.
- More cost effective in long run- you can flex with economy, as centers shrink, so you can down size- ebb and flow.
- Reflect an effective business model like Starbucks; Mc Donald’s... serve the people in their neighborhood.
Note: Look at the success of the Calvary Chapel movement! Look at their Costa Mesa Campus (where it all began), it is considerably small, yet, my goodness like at the worldwide impact they have had in the world.
Decentralizing has certainly worked for some congregations but any close study shows that it has failed for many. Venues are contracting all over the country after an initial boom.
Where you get the ideas that church plants are “an after thought” is frankly beyond me. We have worked for years to be strategic to raise up leaders and plant out churches. We planted our first church in Victorville in 1994.
If you look at the Calvary Chapel movement you will note that their main campus is a mega campus with a sanctuary that seats between 2000 and 3000 people. They then invested heavily (millions of $) in their Bible school in Twin Peaks and later in Murrieta to equip their people to pastor churches. This is no small undertaking.
Franchising a product and training Biblical leaders are not the same enterprise or undertaking. Is there wisdom in being able to expand and contract? Absolutely, but there is a tremendous amount of planning and training that must take place in order to replicate your values and the heart that God has given a church. For every successful Calvary Chapel movement their a numbers who have attempted to do the same and failed…see CBC church plants under Pastor Bob Login, they planted 15-20 churches in the early 1990’s and there are none in existence today.
These are our discussion points- any time a leadership person is willing to discuss these we are willing.