Geoff asked: ". 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."
I totally agree. My beef with Video Venues is not that they disconnect one aspect of pastoring from another, but rather that they disconnect the one teaching the people from the people being teached...err... taught.
But this is my beef not just with Video Venues, but with large church in general. When, because of the size of a community, those taking the lead in teaching the community become inaccesible to that community, I think we've moved into an unhealthy place. I'm coming from a paradigm that says it's best if we keep things at a size where we can all know each other, particularly where those leading can know those being led and vice versa.
I know the model of getting "smaller as we get bigger." And though I understand it, I just don't like it. What I see happen, practically speaking, is a huge disconnect between those making decisions and teaching and those affected. I may know the leader of my small group, which is cool... but at a certain point if most of the church is completely unaware of who their elder board is, and unable to get on the calendar of the person/people leading and teaching them, I think something is wrong.
So, again, I feel like Video Venues take us in the opposite direction of what's intended. I know that one of the reasons stated for doing Video Venues is so that as a church grows, it can remain "small" and people can know each other. It probably works fairly well on that count. Where it seems to fall down is the second part of the equation... Allowing leadership and the led to know and access and interact with each other. The best leadership comes from a place of intimate knowledge of those being led- what is needed now, what are our people wondering, struggling with, etc. And the best "being led" comes from a place of knowing and trusting those doing the leading.
So I guess what I'm saying is that while one pastor can primarily shepherd while others primarily teach, disconnecting those functions from one another may be fine, but disconnecting those functions geographically or organizationally from the people seems a move in the wrong direction to me. And it seems as though this is what Video Venues do, by locating the "vision", "mission" and leadership decisions of the church in a place geographically and organizationally removed from the people.