Is The Medium The Message??

August 4, 2007 by  
Filed under Leadership

Think on these things!

The recent Summer edition of Leadership Journal is focused upon the “Visual Dynamics” of Preaching; Power Point, Technology, etc. There is an attempt to trace the use of visual ehancements to preaching through church history. I suspect that Martin Luther’s use of visual aids was NOT the primary causal dynamic that produced the glorious Reformation!

A Brief History of Communication

What prophetic utterance that was! McLuhan voiced this perspective in the 1960’s. His observation is now being validated once more by the virtual craze to acquire and utilize with often obnoxious ostentatious splendor the latest & greatest techno gadgets.

Being current and conversant with the culture and essence of our times is valid. The church is typically 20-25 years behind the culture in many areas. Shame on us. Technology is an amoral commodity. The value or benefit is found in our motive and method of application, not, the gadgets themselves. We should be current. We must be conversant. What we must NOT do is worship at the altars of “those who live around us” per the Israelites as they entered the land. Has the church become MTV lite?

PremiseThe purpose of preaching and ministry is the Transformation of people created in the image of God into the fullness of the Image of Christ. This is the focus of the Great Commission. It is repeated in various forms in the Epistles; Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 4:16; Col. 3;12-14.

We have endured twenty years of what I label “Worship Wars”. Do we sing from a screen with Power Point or do we sing out of a hymnal? Do we preach from a wooden pulpit or must it be Lexan? Do we use candles and incense? Here is a ‘biggie’ – – do you have to wear a tie when you preach? (I once baptized 6 people one morning, four of which were adult converts to Christ, two were children of regular attenders. One ‘not so sanctified critic’ offered the following affirmation – – “at least some of our men know how to dress for the Lord’s Table”).

My point is simply this: almost ALL churches are lost in one dimensional ministry = how many, how much, how often, etc. Our focus should be, must be, TRANSFORMATION. That must be measured with an objective and legitimate metric. God rejoices when the elements we incorporate in ministry serve as the instruments of transformation. A sermon must be evaluated by the allegiance and correspondence the content demonstrates to the text of Scripture, not, by what material the pulpit is made of. When we sing, what is the focus and condition of our hearts? Whether we sing from memory (a good thing) or from a hymnal or Power Point is tertiary compared to coming before the True & Living Holy God of the ages with humble, joyful, celebratory & submissive hearts. Did we listen to the sermon with a passion to obey all that Christ has commanded, or, to run a quick and brutal critque on the speaker?

A blind man is not benefitted by visual aids. A deaf man must ‘hear’ the message through other means. Both will be Transformed. By what? The TRUTH of the unadulterated gospel. So whether you utilize all of the above is indeed tertiary when compared to the real issue –

Are people TRANSFORMED into the fullness of the Image of Christ?

Tom Fillinger

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