Multi-site churches expand into Fishers

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FISHERS, Ind. (March 25, 2016) – Several churches are expanding into Fishers and many are utilizing video-recorded sermons to share the message at the satellite locations.

"We’re trying to take the church to the people, instead of having the people drive to us," Northview Church's Senior Pastor Steve Poe said.

Northview now has five campuses in all and just opened a new permanent building in Fishers last November. Poe's Easter sermon will be broadcast 19 times across the campuses this weekend and reach about 16,000 people, he said.

“It’s just a cheaper way to do church," Poe said. “This isn’t just a fad. (Multi-site churches are) exploding across the country.”

In addition to saving money, he said having one preacher frees up other pastors to connect with parishioners.

With Fishers' city leaders predicting more than 40,000 people moving to the community in the next 25 years, other churches are following Northview's lead and expanding into the community.

Cornerstone Lutheran Church, formerly Carmel Lutheran Church, is in the middle of building a new Fishers site. The space is on 116th Street and is designed to appeal to families with small children, featuring an indoor playground, Cornerstone Lutheran Church Pastor Scott Giger said.

Grace Church in Noblesville is expanding into Fishers as well. The church is building a 64,000 sq. ft. building right next to Hamilton Southeastern High School. The campus will have three or four sermons a month delivered via video.

Cornerstone Lutheran Church has the ability to stream services, but at this point Giger will preach live.

“We decided a live preacher was important so that central piece was the gospel and not any one preacher," Giger said.

Critics of the multi-site model say the broadcasted sermons can create "celebrity pastors," Poe disagrees.

“I don’t think my status is any different than any senior pastor at any church anywhere. I love the people and they love me. When I retire someday somebody else will step in they’ll become the pastor," Poe said. “It’s gone past the fad stage this is something churches are recognizing this is the way to reach the unchurched. This is the way to reach out to the communities."

All three churches mentioned in this article have some ministry in Indianapolis and all of them are looking to open up a permanent building in the future.

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