Is Flat Screen Preaching a Fad?

This guest post is from @Rick_Langston, Senior Associate Pastor at the Summit Church, who oversees Multi-Site Development.

After posting a defense of video teaching and a list of tips for video teaching, Geoff Surratt got controversial by predicting that video teaching probably wouldn’t be around forever: Are Flatscreen Preachers a fad? I cringed a little when I saw this, since I think it plays into the hands of the critics (and they are legion) of churches who use video teaching to multiply services, campuses, and churches. And it creates more fear for those who may be considering taking this leap in their own churches.

Ironically, I was in the middle of a visit at LifeChurch.TV when his article came to my attention. Seeing the effectiveness of “flat screen preaching” as used in a church that is reaching and pastoring up to 50,000 a week inspired me to write a brief response.

Here it is: Flat screen preaching is not a fad. Geoff makes the comparison to bus ministry, a popular methodology for a few decades that we older guys remember fondly. The problem with that comparison is that video isn’t a methodology. It’s a medium.

Once technology makes a new medium readily available, historically, it continues to be refined. The print medium has been around for a few thousand years and is always advancing. “Print” no longer relies on ink or paper, but it’s being used more than ever because of the ability to be delivered digitally and instantly.

Preachers have taken advantage of the video medium since Jack Wyrtzen, founder of Word of Life ministries, began broadcasting messages on TV in 1949. It predates the bus ministry “fad” and has already outlasted it by a couple of decades. We don’t know how the technology will be different in 10 or 20 years, but I believe the “flat screen preaching” medium is here to stay.

Churches were slow to begin leveraging this medium, but now many are just beginning to experience the potential. I think we are going to see continued growth for some time. Of course, video teaching needs to be done well by those who are gifted for it. And churches that utilize it need to understand that there’s more to pastoring people than just delivering a quality sermon video each week. For help there, I’ll refer you back to Geoff for some of the great books he’s already written that have benefitted me so greatly.

In fact, we plan to follow Geoff’s advice on this issue as well. As long as video teaching works, we’ll use it. If it stops working, we’ll be ready to move on.

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  1 Comment

  1. Ryan Abernathy   •  

    Can you please give me your definition of “works?” What I have seen of this methodology is that it works against the creation of community. Works against the development of multiple teachers in the church. And is contributing the rise of celebrity preachers.

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