To publish or not to publish the name of the preacher at services.
Myself? I'm not a fan of publishing. Why? Because coming to church is not about hearing your favourite preacher. A mature approach to gathering is about submitting wholeheartedly to God, worshiping and testifying to his grace; it is about Word and Sacrament; expressed in loving community, with an eye to the city in which you live.
Something like that, anyways.
Publishing the preaching program seems to work when each preacher at one church is as gifted as each other. But when one of them has outstanding gifts, it becomes more difficult.
I've been told (yet to verify) that Andy Stanley (Mega-Church in Mega-Christian Atlanta) didn't like the fact that people were showing up just to see and hear him. So he began sharing the 'pulpit', and so they stopped publishing the preaching program. Numbers fell. That, of course, affects giving, and that affects the jobs of many on staff. So back he goes, to the pulpit. And in remote locations. And in Hologram. If that's all true, I do admire Andy for at least trying.
At Mars Hill in Seattle, they just video the gifted guy. Easy. But troubling in some ways.
Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City chose not to go for the video. So Dr Keller, whose gifts are remarkable, preaches 4 out of 5 services, and one of the other pastors preached at the 5th. When I was in NYC, they published the name of the preachers. I see now that they have stopped doing that. Although if you are in NYC, you can be assured of hearing Dr Keller by going to the 6PM East Side Service. See here:
Each Sunday at all worship services, Redeemers Preaching Team will preach from the same Scripture text. Our preaching pastors rotate locations weekly, and our Senior Pastor Tim Keller will always preach at the 6:00PM East Side evening service at Hunter College, unless he is out of town that weekend.Discuss.
Redeemer does not publish or share the preaching schedule for any of the worship services, so please do not call the offices to to inquire about this information. Instead please take this opportunity to help us utilize the available seating at the 6:00PM worship service.
And here are some questions to get you going:
- Does your church publish?
- What is the wise way forward?
- Would you prefer to know? And for what reason?
- Does even asking the question trouble you?
Pic on Flickr by Ganotronic.