Okay... some very good push-back on the ideas of Video Venues (planting churches where the teaching is done strictly through a video feed from another location).
I wanted to quote some of the good questions that were asked in response to what I said here and on Steve McCoy's blog, and then later, after working over a sermon I'm not completely happy with :) I'll do my best to answer...
what if church plants had pastors but used videos of other preachers because:
1. they decided the sermon is just one element of their time together and not the premier thing.
2. they decided that allowing their pastor time to shepherd was more imporant than having him prepare to preach every week
3. they decided that there are very gifted preachers in the body of Christ and they wanted to learn from those diverse voices as well.
such a model might include using many different videos from different churches...
And Geoff, pastor of one of the innovating churches in this area asked:
1. Does an effective preacher always make an effective pastor? I've seen excellent preachers who IMHO do a very poor job of shepherding their flock and lousy speakers who are great pastors.
2. Are there people called to lead congregations who don't have the gift of teaching? One of our most effective campus pastors at Seacoast is a former farmer who has no formal theological training, can't spell expository, but is incredible at helping people to grow in their faith. If he planted a church on his own he would be able to minister to very few people; because he doesn't have to preach he is able to pastor a congregation of over 600 people.
3. Would Paul have used video if it had been available? I'm not sure I understand the difference between watching a video and listening to a letter being read at a church service. (Obviously Paul's video would have divinely inspired, we don't have that advantage at Seacoast. :)
4. Why is church planting superior to opening campuses? At Seacoast we do both. If a we have a leader who has a unique vision and a call to preach we help him plant an autonomous church. (We've helped plant almost 25 new churches in the past few years) If a leader resonates with the vision God has given Seacoast and does not feel a call to preach we help him plant a new Seacoast campus.
5. If people are committing their lives to Christ and growing in their faith, what difference does it make who preaches, who controls the purse strings, what the name is over the door? I'm not sure God is overly concerned with the forms that we invent for how church is done (house church, mega-church, multi-site, community church) as long as we are obeying the Great Commission.