Multi-site churches, holographic pastors and virtual relationships

In a piece over at Grace to You entitled The Absence of Pastors, blogger Cameron Buettel examines a “new generation of pastors who can be in two places at one time [by] using technology—high-def videos, and even holograms—to beam their Sunday morning sermons to remote ‘satellite’ churches that belong to their congregation.” We are in the age of the multi-site “church.” Buettel gives Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church as a prime example of this sort of shepherding. And then there’s megachurch pastor Andy Stanley who thinks pastors should be more like CEOs.

Shepherd guarding sheep

Imagine you’re trying out a new church this coming weekend. You find your seat just as the pastor opens with a word of prayer. After some worship songs, he returns to greet the new visitors, make some announcements, and pray over the offering.

After another song or two, you expect to see him step onto the stage to deliver his sermon, but he’s nowhere to be found. Instead, the lights dim and you’re transported via video to another church with another congregation, watching someone else preach the sermon. You won’t see the “pastor”—whose Sunday role seems to be little more than master of ceremonies—until he greets you at the door on your way out.

Such is life in a satellite church. And while the look and feel of the service can vary greatly, the end result is still the same—countless believers every Sunday sit under the teaching of pastors piped in and projected from a stage somewhere else.

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HT Glenn Chatfield