9 March 2010

Rob Bell on Video Preaching

It's no secret that I am a fan of Shane Hipps, and I also appreciate the teaching of Rob Bell.   The latest Our of Ur has an excerpt of an interview with Rob about the Dangers of Video Preaching.
Your NOOMA video series has been popular. What do you think about the increasing number of preachers and churches using video technology to expand their reach?
It's powerful but there's also a dark side. Video is not church. You put images and music on a screen, and people will listen. But it's also dangerous. You're playing with fire. I think video technology deserves to be scrutinized heavily.
Go a little deeper. What makes video dangerous?
I don't think we know yet what the long-term impact will be on disciple-making. In 10 years we may discover what particular kind of Christ follower is formed by video preaching. I see warning lights on my dashboard. It's unclear what video may do to the ways we conceive of life together.
In the New Testament, there are 43 "one another" passages, and during a Sunday morning service you might be able to practice three or four of them. And as the service gets large, you can probably do fewer. A massive group setting is also dangerous. You can come, sit, listen, and go home and think, I've been to church, even if you haven't practiced any "one anothers." And with video that only gets more intense. I'm not sure that's the direction we want to be heading.

We want to be calling people to deep bonds of solidarity with one another. We may gather in a massive group, but from the stage I often say, "This is just a church service. Church is actually about caring for one another, and serving one another, and speaking truth to one another in love. Don't get the two confused."
It's great to see someone who has used video so well be aware of what it's dangers and limitations are.  I think every church needs to examine each technology - even when it seems to be successful, because it might be wolf in sheep's clothing.    It's interesting that over at Church Marketing Sucks they have an interview with Tony Jones about social Media.   Mr. Jones seems to be the other side of the spectrum, in that he seems to think that pastors (churches) should be on everything new that is out there.  Jones said:
There was a time when churches and pastors needed to decide whether they were going to wire the church for telephones. There was another time when they had to decide whether to bring microphones and amplification into the sanctuary. Those were decisions about using new technology to communicate. Social media is simply another step on that path--it's about communicating with people, and more and more people are using it, so churches need to decide how to engage that. 
He seems to spend little to no time on what the results of those choices were.   As far back as Marshall McLuhan there have been people pointing to what even microphones do for worship and preaching and community.  (I don't have my copy of the Medium and the Light so no direct quote here)
I think I like the way that Rob Bell and Mar Hill are approaching technology...  Others need to take notes (and read either of Shane Hipp's books)

1 comment:

Scott Jackson said...

Not sure I agree about videos. I've seen a few of Rob's videos. They're short - perfect for guys - coz our attention spans are short. I really don't like preaching by most pastors. I associate "preaching" with "scolding".

Perhaps that's because most pastors who preach don't have the gift of communication - but nobody in Bible school told them. So they do it anyway. And I snooze.

Rob's Nooma videos compelled me to read his book "Velvet Elvis", along with the recommendation of a couple of friends. I read it. I see Christianity differently now. I can't explain it - you have to read it. It's an easy read.