Friday, June 27, 2008

Preaching: The Greatest Show on Earth?

When I was young Ringling Brothers Circus would come through town and advertise “The Greatest Show on Earth”. But I liked the State fair better than the circus because I liked to see the stuntman and daredevil shows. The announcer would always remind us adventurous boys, “These men are trained professionals, so don’t try this at home.” The shows were truly great, and as “boys will be boys” we would always attempt in the backyard a version of what we had seen the professionals do. I still have a limp.

There is a current three-ring debate in the church concerning using preachers via video from other churches, so I thought I would add a few comments of my own. The issue is really not about technology because using technology is unavoidable. The real question concerns using “trained professionals” too much. The result of this is that no one tries the same stunts in their home church, speaking of preaching that is.

I am in Kiev, and we have visited
Hillsong Church several times. Some may criticize them for being upbeat, but I will not do that. I saw something there that I really liked. I was there twice when the main pastor was not speaking. Instead, one of the home group leaders preached, and another time a youth leader preached. Those guys were pretty good, but better than that I saw that the congregation was satisfied with not having super preacher up there every time. (the pastor is also a great guy)

Some congregations are wowed into virtual spectatorship by the super preacher. They become connoisseurs of preachers and messages like a parody of
Ratatouille. The chef and the food must be just right, or they will make their own review of the quality. They constantly speak of how well they were fed..or not fed. My suggestion is that if they want to get fed then they need to work more in the kitchen. This means learning how to feed themselves and then feeding others. This will keep you quite full.

When a young man or woman without much experience ministers publicly it communicates several things:

  • It is not about having the super messenger. It is about reproducing as many messengers as possible.
  • It shows the congregation that they are expected to and can grow into all roles.
  • It drives the critical spectators to action, to grow or go. No food critics allowed!
  • Like the movie I have mentioned: Everyone might not be able to preach, but a preacher can come from anywhere.

Finally, the main issue that concerns me about video preachers does not concern the lack of preachers in the church. The main lack is actually in the area of reaching the lost. It is not about preaching. It is about reaching.

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Tim 2:2

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? Rom 10:14

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, Mike