Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Questions About Succession #3
Somewhat related to the topic of succession, questions about our “video preaching” have also been raised.
Q: What difference does it make whether the preacher is present “in real time” among those to whom he is preaching? Compare and contrast “live” preaching with “video” preaching. Why offer video preaching when we have multiple competent preachers at Bethlehem?
A: Many, but not all, people prefer a live preacher. For one thing, he can see you, and see how you are responding to what he is saying in real time, and he can therefore interact with his listeners, which is what good communicators do. For another, you can approach him after his message for prayer or to pose a question.
On the other hand, many of our people prefer the large image on the big screen; they can better see the facial expressions of the preacher.
It’s true that Bethlehem has a number of competent preachers. Why then do we not have a rotation of capable speakers?
We have decided that our senior leader is not only to preach the Word, but to cast one vision for Bethlehem, and the pulpit is the best way to do that. One preacher on multiple campuses has a unifying effect on the “one church on multiple campuses” that we are.
And when our senior leader is collectively perceived by the elder council to be a remarkably capable exegete and preacher, we want our people exposed to his ministry in disproportionately high proportions.
Video also permits one series to be preached over consecutive weeks and years on all the campuses.
Meanwhile, we don’t object to multiple preachers, and on occasion have simultaneous live preachers on the various campuses, giving expression to their giftedness and edifying our people who enjoy a change of voice from time to time, or giving our senior leader a vacation or writing leave.
Pastor Sam Crabtree is Bethlehem's Executive Pastor and Lead Pastor for Life Training.