Video hits

Chris just beat me to the punch on this. Video preaching. Some are for it. Some against. I’m mostly against. I think you’d have to be pretty arrogant to think that your sermons should be broadcast to the thousands in your auditorium – and then to thousands more in multiple auditoriums elsewhere around the city, state, nation or globe.

But wait you say… Mark Driscoll does it – in a “multi-campus” format for his church – Mars Hill – in his city – Seattle… Driscoll also wants 900 men to plant churches in the US – how’s he going to find 900 men world wide if he can’t find 8 suitable men in his own city?

I understand the practicality of embracing the model. There are no doubt thousands of people who’d like to listen to Mark Driscoll in church every Sunday. I’m happy enough for Mars Hill to pursue that model provided it’s in the same city and being driven by humble pragmatism – and not the inability to find the people to do the preaching elsewhere…

There were some interesting points raised by the original article – by an emerging church type (which means he has a bone to pick with Driscoll – even if he doesn’t name him specifically… oh wait, he does)…

“This is the rule: Technology, taken too far, creates the opposite of what it was intended to create.

Still doubt it? Ask yourself- Email was meant to keep you in touch and ease communication, right? But when you are trying to process 100 emails a day, you don’t feel in touch, you feel crushed. You’re not communicating- you are wading through spam, forwards, fyi’s… Your emails get shorter and shorter, more and more terse, and mis-communication happens more often than not. “

“If we’re not more thoughtful about this, soon, every city and town will have the Driscoll franchise… maybe even two or three. And the Andy Stanley, Ed Young Jr franchise as well. Is Joel Osteen too far behind? Hybels, Warren, Groeschel… the market is going to get crowded.”

See, here’s my concern. Nicely articulated. We want not just one preacher for a generation – but a generation of preachers. Bible teaching is enhanced by a diverse platform of voices all spurring one another on. There’s one preacher in that list of luminaries who I’d listen to. Only one. And yet, a world full of churches with just these seven men is technologically (and therefore technically) possible.

This really is the biggest question mark raised over the Mars Hill model for me – and by extension the Acts 29 church planting philosophy. Sure, Driscoll’s a gifted guy. A once in a generation preacher. But that doesn’t mean we should all be listening to him in our churches week in week out.

2 thoughts on “Video hits”

  1. I hate responding when you have something on Driscoll in there. (For some reason you think I am more in love with him then Jesus – Plus there are guys I like more the Driscoll)


    The reality is though Nathan he has probably found around 30+ people to be on staff not just 8 some of them do preach but he is the preaching pastor hence the preaching.

    I am not convinced by the Driscoll’s above the rest either. Sure he has the publicity but there are thousands of men that are just as capable just not as public in their ministry. Driscoll has stirred up publicity by what he says but that does not mean men like Harry Reeder, Dave Miers or endless others. You are dead right Mark is just one guy but he is not the only guy God has gifted with the ability to preach.

  2. Re: Driscoll v Jesus – that’s not quite accurate.

    Re Driscoll’s team of 30 – I’m fine with him running Mars Hill with video services in Seattle – provided (and it appears that he is working on this) there’s a sense of community across all the campuses. I’m only begrudgingly making this concession – I think the best model is always a real person preaching up the front. But I can understand the pragmatics of not being able to fit people into buildings and can understand people in Seattle wanting to hear Mark Driscoll preach each Sunday.

    Here’s the thing – as soon as we start glorifying people for their preaching we’re missing the point. Preachers should point us towards God’s word and exhort us to live like Jesus. Whether they’re funny or engaging or not is a secondary point. How much they make us think is also secondary.

    I’m not convinced that “good preaching” is the holy grail of church you seem to be suggesting it is (on your blog) – I’d rather sit in a church of average preaching where I can talk to the preacher afterwards, in private if need be, than a church receiving great preaching via a video link (even if it’s a two way broadcast).

    The point I made at your blog – regarding preaching being overrated in evangelical circles is this – good preaching is a healthy component of church life, yes. I agree. But there are many others components and I believe someone can have a perfectly adequate ministry while never scaling the preaching heights of Mark Driscoll and the others you mention.

    But what’s good preaching? For me – good preaching is preaching that points to the bible, that encourages people in their understanding of it, that leads to Godly living, and that doesn’t go on too long – I’m convinced that most people, adequately trained, can produce good teaching.

    I think the idea of video preaching as a model for PCQ is a triumph of pragmatism over faith – we should have faith that God will raise up teachers for churches around the state – and we should act accordingly to encourage others to take these roles.

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