Big Day In: making preachers redundant?

Michael Kellahan

The Big Day In saw Peter Jensen preach live to a couple of hundred Anglican Churches.

Is this the way of the future?

In Vintage Church, Mark Driscoll argues that many more churches will adopt the kind of model Mars Hill uses - a live broadcast of the sermon to multiple campuses via Internet or Televesion. He argues:

1. every church that exceeds 400 to 500 people need to use screens for people to see the preacher
2. there is no intrinsic moral value to a church being large or small
3. the apostles used letters to speak to churches they weren’t physically present with (in our context you might think of the Homilies which delivered the same message to multiple sites)
4. effective churches will be early adopters of new technology - they will be able to ‘franchise’ their name to reach more people for Jesus.

So we could see the day where ‘Mars Hill Sydney’ is planted which takes preaching from Seattle. Local pastors could still care for people, be relationship centred, train local leaders etc. 

Or think of a local Anglican alternative. We get our 6 best Sydney preachers and broadcast them each week. Small struggling churches could take this feed. Maybe they can’t afford a minister. Maybe they can free their minister up to evangelise locals and train members.

At morning tea after the Big Day In, I had several people ask when we would next have Peter Jensen preach. No-one missed my preaching that day. So will video kill the small church pastor? Do you think there are theological or practical objections to video preaching?

Let me start you with a few thoughts and questions:

* Video Preaching can feed a cult of personality.
* How can a remote preacher understand the local mission field, let alone the particular needs of the congregation?
* What exactly does the ‘pastor’ do who isn’t preaching? Can he abdicate the Sunday by Sunday preaching of the word and still be able to shepherd the flock?