Is preaching-by-video here to stay?
I have been writing about flatscreen preaching and preachers this week. (Thanks John MacArthur for the wonderfully descriptive term.) I thought I’d finish up with a prediction; I think flatscreen preachers are a fad.
I predict that in the next few years, we’ll begin to see a decline in the number of churches that use video teaching, and many churches that continue to use video teaching will see a decline in attendance. I don’t know when the tide will turn, but I am pretty sure it will. Here’s my thinking:
Video projection is the new Sunday School bus.
My dad pastored an inner-city church in St. Louis when I was a teenager. The church owned a fleet of converted school buses which picked up children in rough neighborhoods every Sunday morning. I often rode the buses as a Bus Captain, knocking on doors and handing out donuts.
Every weekend, we brought hundreds of children to church who otherwise would never hear the Gospel. Bus ministry was missional before missional was cool, and it was a very effective form of evangelism.
And then it wasn’t.
Eventually that church sold all of its buses. There are very few churches in America who still have a thriving bus ministry.
Video teaching is a very effective tool right now. Thousands of people are hearing the Gospel from a preacher standing on a stage miles from where they are sitting, and it feels like the wave of the future. And it is.
Until it’s not.
Sunday School, bus ministry and deeply moving while mildly amusing dramas were all powerful tools until they weren’t. Video teaching will someday be in the “remember when” bin.
Relatively few preachers are good on video.
I have been told over and over again that video teaching won’t work in a big city, a small town, the south, the east, the west, in Europe, in Africa, in Asia. My answer is always the same: