Video Sermons in an On Demand World

Jerod Clark

This past weekend, I experienced my first sermon delivered by video.  The church I go to is preparing to go multi-site later this year, so video sermons are something I’ll need to get used to since our pastor will rotate between campuses in an unannounced, where’s Waldo sort of fashion.

I have to admit as the big screen started to roll down from the rafters after some live worship music, I thought I wasn’t going to like this video sermon thing.  And in the beginning, it was a little distracting despite the fact that my pastor was shot in a way that made it look like he was right up there, walking around on stage.

As the sermon went on, I realized I sort of forgot about the fact that I was watching video.  I found myself interacting with the questions he’d ask and laughing at his jokes.  I didn’t mind it.

But there were plenty of people who didn’t like it, I heard stories of people walking out of the service and yelling at other church leaders about how our church was going downhill fast.  It’s a sad, but expected response in any church.  Some people will resist any kind of change.  Others aren’t comfortable when a church is growing and reaching out to more people.

Since Sunday, I’ve been pondering how this sort of video technology will change worship.  In this case, it’s something I’m willing to support as a church goer knowing that it’s letting my church extend its reach to more people.  That is the calling of the church.  But I wonder if video casting sermons is a gateway to bigger issues.

I read an article on Church Crunch pondering what a video on demand world means for the future of worship.  What does on demand worship look like?  Plenty of churches have entered the live streaming realm creating online campuses.  Others make all of their past sermons available 24/7.   A few, like, schedule live online worship lots of times throughout the week.

But what’s the next step?  Would video technology let churches offer services throughout the week reaching more people who can’t make it to traditional church service times?  Does it dilute the need to actually attend a service at church – if you watch it on a screen in the building, why not do it from home?  Will it truly be a way to expand ministry or will it just end up being a fad?  Will the want for corporate worship with live people, even if the sermon is on video, keep people coming through church doors?  Or will people find going to church online at the same time as hundreds of other people just as good?

What do you think?

Topics: TV, Culture At Large, Arts & Leisure, Theology & The Church, Faith, Worship, News & Politics, Media