over the past few years,  there are a couple of popular trends in church growth that make me scratch my head.   they are similar to each other.   they both have to do with the preacher-pastor-lead dog role.

the first trend is for a church to find a really gifted speaker and hire him to be the up front preacher of the church.   that’s his only job.   he shows up on sunday to preach.   all the leading, counseling, program management, people stuff, etc…is handled by other people on the staff.

the second trend is for a big mothership kind of church to join forces with a smaller church that has it’s own venue.   the big church pays for the installation of modern audio-video technology for the smaller church… and the gifted preacher of the big church does his thing live (or tape-delayed) via video at the small church.   this can be done at multiple sites.   the smaller church retains it’s pastor and staff to do the business of the church…but all the preaching is done by gifted speaker from the big church.

as an effective strategy for growing a church,  i have no criticism.   i can be a pragmatist.   this way of doing church seems to work.   people are going to these types of churches…drawn in by the charisma and giftedness of the preacher.   i assume they stay for a variety of reasons.

here’s where i scratch my head…

what’s up with our infatuation with speakers?   i’m not throwing stones here.   i’m have been just as guilty as the next guy throughout my lifetime.   i am inspired by gifted preachers.   i go and listen when i have the opportunity.   i carry some of them on my ipod.   their books adorn my bookshelves.

we simply need to be careful.   the goal is not to spend our lives listening to gifted speakers.   the goal is to open up the book and feed ourselves.   the goal is not to have a gifted speaker tell us what to believe.   the goal is to open the book and study and seek truth.   for ourselves.

if you are coming to north point because you can’t wait to hear what i have to say…be cautious.   if my words inspire you to open the book for yourself,  then i am grateful for your loyalty and encouragement.   if my words do nothing more than make you want to come back and hear more of what i have to say,  you have missed the point.

the goal is not to flock to the feet of gifted men.   or gifted women.   the goal sit at the feet of jesus.


5 thoughts on “preachers

  1. Lead dog role?? Have I got a video for you!!

    Besides that misguided thought…..I hope I never go to a church with the impersonal “video preacher”. I can handle the once in a while “picture preacher” we get from Colorado. I think the church needs more than that from their vicar..They need to KNOW him, be able to get involved in his life. Maybe that’s not possible with a mega church, it is asking alot from the lead dog….but, I love what we have and the opportunities to serve our preacher as much as he serves us.

  2. Maybe I’m a traditionalist, but can you have a church family if the pastor is not part of it? Are we not dysfunctional enough without having a preacher “phone in” their performance?

    How strange would it be to have some video preacher railing away at some piece of gospel without even a sly grin at some poor tired soul who is snoring, an inappropriate laugh, the odd cell phone that someone forgot to shut off, or the myriad of minor events that make each service unique.

    I can “do” church one a week if I must. I can put on the Sunday suit and listen to my hour of holiness and go back to my life. That doesn’t sound like fellowship though. More like religion in a can.

  3. Believe me Mike, I try not to listen to you as much as possible

    Seriously though, I agree with you and I think it can stir up a misguided enthusiasm towards learning Gods word. People think they’re excited to hear what God has to say when they’re really just excited to hear a person speak. To me, studying Gods word is not really that exciting or entertaining. But there is a desire to do it which comes from a faith that believes that God will speak to me through his written word. Sort of like a habit, but not because I have to do it but because I want to do it.

  4. I concur with the sentiment but also would like to add a twist if I may. What about developing a community of speakers? Where a conversation is began and listened to and then opened to many voices. Even when we make ourselves the central filter for understanding the Gospel, do we not lose the voices of others?

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