Thursday, January 25, 2007

Video Church (Part Two)

A friend of mine is really struggling with this concept. "The preacher has to be in the room!" he has said with passion. "He has to know his flock! He has to take the truth of God's word and apply it to their lives!"

I asked him if the same thing applied to his sermons that are broadcast on the local Christian radio station.

I have another friend whose grandfather is a well-known evangelist. He sounds a little like his grandfather when he preaches and he was literally waving his arms around the restaurant as he tried to talk me out of this kind of church plant. "The worship service is where the man of God delivers the word of God to the people of God! It must happen in the moment! It must be a two-way dialog!"

I didn't have the heart to point out to him that thousands, if not millions, have come to Christ by watching his grand-dad on television.

Another friend and mentor in ministry just shook his head and looked as if he was about to vomit when I explained Access Church. His doctorate is in rhetoric and he has some pretty strong feelings about sermon development. His dissertation has a title like, "The Audience as Co-Creator of the Sermon." He doesn't use notes when he preaches (he is an amazing communicator) and he claims to navigate through the message based on the visual cues he is receiving from the audience.

I asked him if he's ever worshipped to a Chris Tomlin CD. "Of course." But he's never met Chris (neither have I—Chris if you're reading, we'd really love to have you lead worship at Access!). Chris doesn't know him or the issues in his life. But Chris takes the universal message of God's word and combines it with an understanding of the universal human condition, and, wham! —you've got yourself some amazing worship stuff.

So, before you shake your head and dismiss "the video church," keep in mind that our generation is witnessing the most incredible communications revolution of all time. Who knows what the communications landscape will look like in ten years? There was once a time the church led the way in making use of the arts, and the printing press...let's continue to lead the way and use every method at our disposal to get the most important message in the world to as many people as possible in the most effective way available.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Celebration Church of Jacksonville is already doing this and might I add very well. Why then would you think that a Church that is not even from this local area work?

January 26, 2007 3:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Rich Barrett said...

I'm confused. Are you asking why wouldn't I think it can work, or why would I think it can work.

Celebration is doing it very well, you're right. I have visited and they have the technology down rock-solid. It's seamless and presented without distraction. Huge kudos to them and their team of volunteers.

I think this makes the case that "video church" has a lot of merit, much in the same way that more and more churches are succeeding with a multi-campus (one church in many locations) approach.

Perhaps a huge part of this is the development of small groups in churches today. As small groups move from being simply knowledge studies to true commnunity groups, practicing the one-anothers of scripture, the church has the ability to grow larger and larger and still "be the church."

Am I making sense here? It's hard to explain...and I'm not sure if you're being antagonistic or seeking further explanation. I don't care to fuel an argument, but I do want to clearly articulate my hope that the Church takes full advantage of these technologies (video being just one of them, blogs another) to connect with people at many levels and share the truth of God's word.

The question isn't, "is anybody else doing this?" as much as it is, "has everyone yet been reached?"

January 26, 2007 3:24:00 PM EST  
Blogger Brian Megilligan said...

It's outside the box and visionary. It took some getting used to for me as well, but the truth is, I don't believe most pastors can pastor larger churches anyway. It takes a team. I'm still surprised by our senior pastor's surprise that he doesn't know everybody by name. I appreciate his effort to know who people are, but 3,000 people is a lot. There's a reason there are multiple guys on staff. I think this church model will work very well for you guys, and Rich, you know what works and doesn't work from a technology standpoint so I'm sure you will be a large part with God's blessing of making it succeed!

January 28, 2007 9:14:00 PM EST  

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