December 21, 2011
Is Video Preaching on the Decline?
Sam Rainer predicts incarnate preaching returning to popularity within a decade.
'Tis the season for presents, and parties, and pageants, and...predictions. At the end of every year we often speculate about what the future will bring. What trends will gain momentum, and which have 'jumped the shark.'
Sam Rainer, president of Rainer Research, recently issued a list of 10 (unexpected) church trends that will surface by 2020. The last one caught my attention. Rainer believes the excitement around video-venue preaching will pass away like so many Milli-Vanilli cassette tapes. He writes:
The trend towards more transformational leadership will quell the popularity of video-venues in which a single teaching pastor is projected to multiple sites. The Internet and podcast boom brought with it a cultural wave of electronic teaching. While this trend has been positive — more sound teaching is readily available (for free) than ever before. Eventually, however, the wired generation will desire a more local, personal touch than the man-on-the-screen. By 2020, more campuses at multi-site churches will feature a campus pastor who teaches, and more people will seek out this type of local connection.
What do you think of Rainer's analysis? Will the wired generation desire a more incarnated church experience? And will it really take a decade to see this come to pass. I've wondered if it might happen far sooner. Among the young people I engage, there is a general distaste for large institutions and man-on-the-screen worship. They're hungry for authentic, relational community.
And I wonder how in touch this analysis is with on-the-ground church reality. (I'm really liking this hyphenate-every-other-phrase thing.) Most churches have not embraced video preaching, and most probably won't. It's a minority trend among very large churches. But it seems that these churches and leaders tend to dictate the conversation about ministry in our culture. The echo-chamber-effect means that even leaders of human-scale-congregations (100-500 people) are talking about video preaching because the conference circuit and publishing pastors are into it. But I'm not convinced its a trend dominating the church that will need to be quelled within a decade.
So, share your thoughts about the future of video preaching and how your community is moving into the future.