Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

“The local sermon is crumbling”

with 4 comments

A few months ago, I caused quite a stir with my post “The Rise of Net Campuses: Are Local Churches on the Ropes?” It picked up 903 page views, and dozens of comments, which in my opinion far outclassed the quality of my ideas.

In a post that seems to take up where I left off, Matthew Anderson challenged evangelicals to “properly articulate why the Church gathers and hears the Word of God, and then shapes its churches accordingly, [or] we will continue to be co-opted by technologism.”

I think Anderson is right to suggest that the “local sermon is crumbling” amid the abundance of excellent teaching now available online — in video podcasts, live web services, and even services like In fact, Kent Shaffer wrote an excellent blog series on why is the next big church model.

NewSpring is a multi-site church, so I obviously believe in the power of video teaching as it is used in the context of a local body of believers overseen by a local pastor.

But where I worry is not that mediocre local teaching will be superseded by excellent remote teaching, but that this trend will be accompanied by an erosion of understanding of the importance of both local gathering and local authority.

Ecclesiology isn’t sexy in church circles. And I don’t think it packs pews or auditoriums. But the stakes are high enough that we need to do better in explaining the importance of being the church in a local context, and why membership of the “universal church” is not sufficient.

Typically, we cast the importance of local church as the ministry of the body. But I wonder whether it has to be more expansive even than that, perhaps along the lines of Frank Viola’s recent musings on Ekklesia and discipleship.

Anderson will be debating Andrew Jones as part of the Christian Web Conference at Biola in September.

I’m going to do my best to be there. It should be fun.


Written by NickCharalambous

July 31, 2009 at 9:40 am

Posted in ruminations

4 Responses

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  1. we are seeing a lot of small churches closing due to the economy or being swallowed up by larger churches. and after reading the article at church marketing sucks this morning, i think we need to have more conversations about how we are doing this and how it affects the future of the church at large.

    Jim Gray

    July 31, 2009 at 11:45 am

    • There’s definitely a “revolutionary moment” in the church right now. The more we discuss, with open minds and hearts seeking the will of the Lord, the better!


      July 31, 2009 at 2:58 pm

  2. […] The local sermon is crumbling […]

  3. […] The local sermon is crumbling […]

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