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New 'satellite churches' cropping-up across the Ozarks

Video technology allows one church to meet at multiple sites across an area

January 09, 2011|by Mike Landis, KY3 News |

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --  A full band cranks out a beat.  The faithful rise to their feet and clap to praise songs.  The scene at North Point Church's new East Sunshine "satellite campus" is similar to what you'd find at many other progressive houses of worship on Sunday morning.

“This isn't your grandmom's church, it’s not even your mom's church,” jokes Campus Pastor John Cremeans.

But there is a twist to this service when it comes time for the preaching.

Pastor Tommy Sparger appears via video to deliver his message on a big screen.  He’s delivering it from North Point’s ‘main’ campus, located nearly seven miles away on Norton Road.

Technology is allowing North Point-East Sunshine to deliver the message, music, and ministry methods of the main church- to a new part of town.

“The experience they have here would be the identical experience they would have at our Norton Road campus,” said Cremeans.


Satellite campuses also provide a closer-to-home alternative for members.

“We have people who live on the south side. So for them, this commute is going to save them ten or fifteen minutes,” Cremeans said.

The campuses host programs, and put on live worship music, as any conventional church.  While the pastor of the 'main church' may be absent (in person) from the satellite's stage on Sunday, he is still considered the 'lead pastor' of all campuses.  However, 'campus pastors' are on hand to lead congregants in prayer and other activities.

“It is so much more economically feasible.  We feel this is the best management of the resources God has trusted us with,” explained Cremeans.

Experts say the satellite church model seems to be catching on. In fact, across the nation, there are nearly 3,000 churches adopting the set-up.

James River Assembly is another local church with multiple sites, having launched its Wilson’s Creek satellite in 2009.  The new campus is located in southwest Springfield, on Highway FF off James River Freeway.

“At the Ozark campus (presently) we had expanded several times, and it just became one of those issues of we can't continue expanding in the same place, explained Wilson’s Creek campus pastor Curt Cook.  

Attendees watch video messages by James River lead pastor John Lindell, recorded the week before at the main Ozark campus.

In its two years, Wilson’s Creek has attracted new members, as well as those already a part of the original campus.  Growth has prompted the church to begin a campaign to construct a new, larger building.

Satellite churches may be another new take on old time religion. Some believe it’s a model that could play an even bigger part in the future of faith.

“There is a strong surge of churches becoming multi-site.  It’s just a growing trend,” Cook explained.

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