We can have any speaker we want on the internet

Confessions of a young, churched Baby Boomer: 10 signs the world has changed:
Part 4 of a series

Dec. 25, 2022

By Rev. Rick King

When I started in ministry in 1989, the state of the art in churches was a “cassette ministry.” Remember cassette tapes? The early megachurches had equipment that rapidly duplicated many copies of the morning’s sermon and made them available at their welcome centers for purchase.

I had an AM radio following on KWNO in Winona, mostly Catholics who were up early on Sunday morning, getting ready to go to Mass, who listened to the recording of the previous Sunday’s sermon from First Congregational UCC at 8:30. The church has had a decades-long radio ministry that began with live broadcasts sometime in the 50s.

Now there are literally thousands of preachers, speakers, TED talks, devotionals, and audiobooks available via podcast. None of us needs to leave the house to access some of the best speakers and leaders today. All we need is a smartphone or a computer and internet access, and we can have high-quality content from speakers who specialize in creating high-quality content, some of them as the only thing they do.

If any local pastor ever aspired to being known primarily for their preaching, now most do not because you and I can hear much better online or on TV.

It’s shifted the focus more and more onto the local, the personal, and the relationships that form the backbone of any local church. There’s just no substitute for the way any pastor can come to know their people, and be able to preach a sermon that reaches someone with exactly what they need to hear, when it’s most needed.

So local congregations and their leaders can focus on being who God has called them to be, connected to each other and their surrounding context, neighbors, local businesses, non-profit organizations, other houses of worship and agencies.

And we can focus on the rich, intimate, and personal life together that God calls us to in religious community. Which is what our social media channels and livestream point to, and invite people into.

So my question to you in this week’s column is: Who do you like to listen to outside FHC? And what aspect of our church do you need, want, or love the most?

I’d love to hear from you!