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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Virtual Preaching

It's becoming more and more common for churches to have multiple sites with one preacher who is broadcast to all the locations. CNN recently had an article on the phenomenon.

Preachers who don't think they need to be physically present in their church should ask how they would feel if they were forced to preach to high-def images of their congregation every Sunday morning, said Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Emory University.
"There's something about embodiment -- that the person who delivers the sermon is actually there -- that's important," Long said

Long has a valid critique, but the response is equally valid.

Young said Biblical church leaders like the Apostle Paul wrote letters that were then distributed to churches across the Roman Empire. The church leaders weren't physically present when those letters -- some of which were later included in the New Testament -- were read aloud, but that didn't make the message any less profound, he said.
"All we're doing is putting high definition, cool technology behind something that's as old as the New Testament," said Young,

So, who is right? Is it a theological issue whether or not the preacher is in the same room with the congregation?

For me, I prefer to be with people when I preach. When I preach I see people's faces and get their reactions. I wouldn't want to preach via video, but for those who preach from a script, it may be a valid way to use their time more wisely.

What do you think?

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