More DFW Churchgoers Watch Virtual Pastor

By Julie Tam
|  Monday, Sep 19, 2011  |  Updated 8:06 AM CDT
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With congregations growing beyond capacity, some North Texas churches are finding new ways to meet believers.

Julie Tam

With congregations growing beyond capacity, some North Texas churches are finding new ways to meet believers.

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More North Texas churches are getting so big, they're building new campuses instead of expanding their existing ones. So people who attend services at the secondary campuses have to watch the pastor on a video screen.
 
The Hills Church of Christ is holding services on three campuses. Pastor Rick Atchley's Saturday evening service is taped at the original campus in North Richland Hills and played on a video screen Sunday morning at the West Fort Worth campus in White Settlement.

At almost 5,000 members, the congregation was outgrowing its facilities.
 
"By having a location closer to where they live, they can invite their neighbors. They can get more involved in their communities where they live," said Atchley.
 
Some church goers miss the interaction with their pastor in person.
 
"It's hard to have that part of it, but the message is still coming through, and that's what's important," said church member Clay McKenzie.
 
Church goers can still have fellowship with other members, and some parts of the service are still live on stage like the band and other ministers who lead the congregation in interactive worship.
 
"I think the church is many members. It's more than just the pastor. It's your support group you form with the members," said church member Krista Johnson.
 
The two new campuses opened just this year, and the seats are rapidly filling up. So church leaders are looking ahead with plans to build more campuses as they grow.
 
Other churches also have multiple campuses in North Texas and even in other states. The Potter's House in Dallas has branched out to a few other cities in the DFW area and Denver. Fellowship, based in Grapevine, also has other campuses, including one in Miami.

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