After all the back and forth here on the bob.blog about Video Venues (and how I don't think they are good, long term, for the Body of Christ), here are some good words (on Out of Ur) from Shane Hipps, author of The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church
I was visiting a church recently on the day they were launching their multi-site service. I watched the sermon live, while two other gatherings in other parts of the city watched via a large projection screen. It was a stellar sermon by an extraordinarily gifted preacher well-known in the Christian subculture. But the most striking feature of the sermon was that his message was being directly contradicted by his medium—the video venue.
Here’s how. The pastor was speaking on the difference between talent and character and how too often we emphasize talent in ministry more than character. He began with an object lesson. There on stage next to him was a huge dictionary set on a high stool. As he spoke he began to dispense several cans of whipped cream on top of the dictionary, creating a white fluffy mound. When he finished he told us that the dictionary was our character, the firm foundation. The whipped cream was our talent, something very attractive but lacking substance. After this set up he concluded by saying, “If your ministry is based on character it will last, but if your ministry is based on talent…” he paused, and then swatted the mound of whipped cream. In one swoop it was all over the floor “…your ministry will suffer when times get tough.”
His message was excellent and told an important truth—ministry is supported by character, not talent. However, the medium of the video venue had a subliminal message of its own. The message of a video venue sermon is that the authority to preach is derived from talent and celebrity not character or communal affirmation. A televised event doesn’t communicate anything about a person’s character. It can only affirm or deny talent and attractiveness. We don’t watch movies, or TV shows because we respect or want to know the personal character of the actors. We watch because we are enamored by their beauty, talent, or celebrity.
Character is known only through communal affirmation, which requires some personal knowledge of one another. This personal knowledge is impossible for the satellite congregations who only see the pastor’s performance. The congregation witnessing the sermon via video can only assess whether the preacher is talented, not whether he or she has character.
Read the rest here
Read my thoughts on Video Venues here