At the Reformation 21 blog, Carl Trueman, Departmental Chair of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, has offered some thoughts on the current trend of multisite churches. He observes that most multisite churches “pipe in” the preaching via video stream, yet employ live bands at each individual site. In regard to this observation, Trueman writes:
Yet in so doing, it seems to me that such ministries are conceding the importance of presence – of real, physical presence – to the gathering of the church. They are also begging the question: why have a real band when the most important thing, the preaching, can be beamed in? Or is it that the preaching is no longer the most important thing?
Immediate presence is important for both the preacher and the congregation. Trueman continues:
The preacher who pipes himself in to numerous sites needs to ask himself if, by doing so, he loses the key elements of subtle dialogue and direct confrontation with a physically present congregation which are so important; the congregation satisfied with a video pastor needs to ask if its satisfaction is in part related to the absence of the man, an absence which inevitably tames that confrontational element which is such an important part of what Luther called ‘the word which comes from outside.’