Shane Hipps on Video-Venue

Shane Hipps, the pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale, AZ and the author of the fantastic book “The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture”, has posted an excerpt of the book on the Out of Ur blog. This section of the book looks into the aspect of the video-venue method that has become popular with the Church. This is a very valuable insight that Shane gives us and hopefully it will lead the Church to think of the unintended consequences that arise from the choices churches make in order connect to their community.

(HT: Patrick Buller)

7 thoughts on “Shane Hipps on Video-Venue

  1. I think the article has a great point. The tone that a church sets for a congregation is truly important as it sets the bar for standard of living. If the building reflects a culture set on consuming the next best thing, it does become an example on how the people should live. There’s nothing inherently wrong with buildings, shelter, food, etc, but what we consume should be enough for “this day, our daily bread”. I struggle with this everyday, and I need my community to remind me that I don’t need more than my share.

  2. great article. even better discussion following the article on his blog.
    i do have a hard time equating a person’s ability to minister with other’s personal knowledge of his/her character. i don’t think you have to have known personally a person’s character to be impacted by them. for example, i have heard many great messages by rob bell that have moved me to be more like Christ because he is using his gift given by God. but, i don’t personally know his character. it is assumed – and that is not all bad.
    i think we put the preacher/teacher on a pedestal by focusing on that role as the most important. community among all members of a church is more important than one’s personal interaction with the main communicator. he/she is just one person using the gift God gave. no more. no less.
    that said, this article should challenge us to think through the impact of all media in creating a church culture that removes community. a much bigger deal than video preaching is whether is communicates to people that they do not need relationships.

  3. Cameron, thanks for the comment. I can certainly appreciate your thoughts on learning from people like Rob Bell from a distance. I also benefit from that as well, but I don’t think that is what Shane is arguing against. Both you and I listen to Rob Bell with the clear understanding that we don’t live in East Michigan, that Mars Hill is not our Church and that Rob is not our pastor. That’s easy to distinguish because Rob doesn’t live inside our iPods. I don’t want to speak for Shane here, but maybe one of his points is that a pastor isn’t just someone we consume good teachings or life lessons from once a week. Hopefully whoever our pastor is is someone who not only can teach us about scripture but can also identify the ways in which God moving in our particular communities, in our particular parts of the world.

  4. good point. i agree that what shane is communicating is not against people using their teaching gifts for those who aren’t a part of their particular church. maybe for me the struggle is that i personally am much more comfortable communicating to a large group what God is teaching me than i am going deep into a group of people’s lives and ministering to/with them. (a moment of honesty there). there are also so many in our church that are much more gifted and able to minister to the hurts and needs of others than i am.
    i guess what i hope happens in our church – and we are pushing this – is that whatever can be decentralized in our church is given away, done by whomever is gifted and able to do it. in my mind i am effective in my role as a pastor as i help others release the power of God in thier lives (use thier gifts, abilities, passions, lives, to serve Christ). it is sort of a blurring of the lines between pastor/layperson – paid/unpaid. (granted this is hard to do when it comes to preaching)
    so, with that said, i think that there are still possible problems with the mediums used to teach/preach. i hope shane is not right, but he might be. but, to me, the bigger issue is that pastors are on a pedestal at every church i have ever been to, big or small. even the fact that this topic focuses on the teaching aspect of ministry shows how elevated the pastor is. that is really unfortunate since the fact is that teaching and preaching have a very short shelf life when you consider lasting impact in someone’s life. nearly every significant time of spiritual growth in my life was tied to God’s work through those in my community – i learned how to pray with Jacobe Mycke in his car – i remember the times playing foosball in college with my buddies and my mother calling to ask me about Jesus. big stuff. none of it tied to a preacher’s message.
    finally, and sorry this is so long. but, my big point is that when churches stop elevating preaching as the most important gift but instead embrace all of God’s gifts(serving, administration, encouragement, healing, faith, giving, leadership, mercy, etc.) as necessary to have a healthy functioning community these churches will experience community as God intended. and, i wonder if at that point the medium used for teaching will matter much at all.

  5. cameron, thanks for the response. I think the method of using video venue is the most effective way in which churches can put the pastor “on a pedestal”. What better way to say that it’s all about the sermon than to put the pastor’s head on a giant screen every week while the pastor is elsewhere, “behind the curtain” so to speak?

    I think your desire to see churches stop the elevation of preaching is a valid one. But for you to suggest that the “medium” doesn’t matter seems to, in some regard, be counter to your desire. If preaching shouldn’t be elevated, then it seems that your first step would be to avoid video venue alltogether.

  6. zach, it is hard to disagree with you. no doubt putting the pastor on the big screen makes him larger than life. the fact is that he is just a man like anyone else. the video as a medium does present him to be more than he is.
    thinking through this topic makes me wonder ‘what is the role of a pastor?’ it seems to me that Shane is suggesting that a pastor has to be known relationally by those he communicates to in order to minister to his congregation effectively. He says: “The message of a video venue sermon is that the authority to preach is derived from talent and celebrity not character or communal affirmation.”
    What about multiple services with a live preacher to 3000 at a time? (usually on a screen also, which most people look at rather than the live preacher) Certainly 9-10 thousand people cannot know that pastor’s character personally in the community. i think that many expect pastors to be known personally in such a way that really isn’t possible unless churches only grow to maybe 75-125 people. He can be known well by that many people, but when a church continues to grow that becomes impossible. i am not opposed to churches being small, but my spiritual growth has been much more substantial in the large churches i have attended compared to the smaller ones throughout my life. i have seen so much more ministry happen in the larger churches both in terms of meeting the needs of the poor and hurting as well as communicating the hope that we have in Christ.
    anyway, i may disagree with what i write tomorrow, but i really enjoy the dialogue with you on this topic.

  7. What IS the role of the pastor? That’s the question this debate DOES lead us to ask.

    What is the role of a pastor who uses video venue in order to reach thousands? What is the role of a pastor who had a congregation of a few hundred? Obviously, these roles will differ and maybe it’s not best to say that one is categorically bad and the other is not. Either way, hopefully both pastors are asking themselves about the unintended consequences that can arise from the methods they choose. thanks for the good discussion.

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