Will podcasts replace pastors? Perhaps they already are…

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I was asked recently if I hated sermons. My answer was “no”. I understand why people may see me as anti-sermon. If you read my blog regularly, you know I advocate moving away from sermon-centric, performance-based churches to multi-voiced, interdependent communities of empowerment.

The truth is, I actually rather like sermons.

A good sermon is a wonderful opportunity to learn. Some people have honed their knowledge base and their communication skills, and can convey complex concepts in a way people can understand, remember and apply. A well-structured lecture with new information can provoke me to think, and change, and grow.

Modern technology means we don’t have to travel long distances to hear great thinkers and gifted communicators – many churches are now podcasting their sermons online each week. Podcasts present a great opportunity to “flip the church” and practice “church in a circle“. I’m hearing more and more of groups of Christians who meet weekly to share a meal and love one another as a community. Instead of attending “regular church”, they listen to a podcast sermon in their own time, and discuss it when they gather, going deeper and applying the truths they’ve learned to their lives and neighbourhoods.

What these “podrishioners” are getting right is an emphasis on making the most of their time together. Singing and sermons shouldn’t take up so much of our time that we don’t have energy or space to do the “one-anothering” the Bible repeatedly calls us to.

I don’t hate sermons. They play an important role in teaching God’s people information, and calling them to a shared vision. I’m excited to see people getting creative with how they share and access sermons, and working towards sustainable, empowering ways of doing church in the future.

 

6 thoughts on “Will podcasts replace pastors? Perhaps they already are…

  1. Hi Kathleen,
    thanks for your thoughts on the place of sermons in worship. just thought you might like to hear of yet another instance of a group meeting together round a table to share food, and each other’s lives in an intentional way; we are a Women’s Church of between 6-11 who meet fortnightly round my kitchen table and try to take Acts 2:42 as our inspiration. A couple of the group also regularly attend traditional expressions of church where traditional sermons are preached, but for most our meeting, and its Messy and Film counterparts is church. I like your idea of listening to podcasts and will share this with the group as we are very open to new ways the Spirit is leading. Thanks again.

    • Hi Sue, thanks so much for sharing about your community of women. I love hearing stories like this – fresh and unconventional ways of doing church together, which feel remarkably like Acts 2:42.

      Like you, I’m finding these kinds of groups accommodate people who still want to attend conventional church, and those who do not. The group becomes “church” for everyone, but some people still love their weekly message and worship service.

      Blessings as you journey together with women in Christ,

      – Kathleen

  2. podcasts, or the reasons for them, have actually been around for a long time…Churches have been recording sermons each week to provide a way for shut ins and people unable to be present at church….podcasts as we know them now, I think, are just a newest form of this practice…I am now able to listen to more sermons, from more pastors, than ever before…that must be good right? God bless!

    • Hi Mark, podcasts have been around for a while, which may be a good thing for people who want to access teaching in this way – but what excites me is people using the podcasts during the week so they can spend their gathered time in deeper discussion and fellowship.

    • I sure see a huge difference, Steve, as I know you have also experienced. I do find some of our “church members” also like to attend “regular church”, but see their one-anothering space as the more important of the two models.

      Blessings,

      – Kathleen

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