Michael McKinley at the 9 Marks blog, Church Matters, asks if the rise of multi-site churches doesn't lead to just playing a recording of someone reciting Jonathan Edwards sermons for the gathering of the church instead of a live preacher.
Well, why not?
I think this is a great idea!
If the purpose and pinnacle of the gathering of the church is for the people to hear one man give a sermon, then why shouldn’t we just listen to the very best men via teleconference or even recording? We hear all the time that the problem with the church is that we need more and better expository preaching. With all love to my friends who preach and in full recognition of my own limitations in preaching, I would say that you get a much better expository sermon from Piper or MacArthur than you get from virtually any senior pastor in any local church in America. If the goal is to hear a solid, expository sermon why not get the best sermon you can get? Better yet. What if you broadcast Bob Kauflin every Sunday morning on a tape delay “leading the worship”? What is the difference between Bob on video and a guy up front telling you what songs to sing? Bob is going to give you a “better”, more polished and professional song leadership. The accompaniment will be on key, the singing will be perfect, the songs will be properly vetted. How about we film Ligon Duncan praying and reciting 1 Corinthians 11 over a huge pile of oyster crackers and pallets of grape juice? Then we could ship portions out to churches observing the Supper that week and splice in the footage of Duncan blessing it prior to passing around the platters.
For most Christians in traditional churches on a Sunday morning, they are primarily sitting and watching. Does it really matter if they are watching a guy in-person on stage or Mark Dever on a video feed? I think taking the traditional model of evangelical church life to a logical extreme, why not do this? Just think, we could take up the offering and put it into the bank and then the central church could sweep the money into one big account and distribute it. That is how mormons do it. Instead of squabbling about carpet colors at the local level, let a regional super senior pastor figure it out. For those of us who are Reformed, we could break it down regionally. Albert Mohler could get the south, MacArthur everything west of the Mississippi, Piper the Midwest and Northeast and Dever could run the east coast. We could appoint under-under shepherds in smaller areas, Steve Lawson in Alabama, Kevin DeYoung in Michigan, etc. No more boring, wandering sermons. No more butchering of “A Mighty Fortress is our God”.
I think this idea has real promise.