With the rise of multi-campus churches, the question of live or video sermons has been a question at the forefront of this movement. Some churches have multiple pastors preaching at different campuses. Some churches have one pastor that travels to each campus to preach. But others have one pastor that preaches at one location and a recording is fed via video to the other campuses. The debate still rumbles regarding what is best. But whether we like it or not, video venues are here and they are here to stay.
There are positives and negatives to both live and video sermons. Obviously, you need a live preacher to create a video sermon, so we can't discount the importance and value of a live teacher. But, I'd like to point out three truths that make video sermons better than just a live preacher.
Truth #1-Video can be polished.
When a live preacher delivers a sermon, the audience hears exactly what he says, real time. So if the preacher goes on a tangent that is not on topic, the audience must listen to the whole tangent. If the preacher drops his mic or has to wait for the PowerPoint presentation to load or who knows what, the audience must wait patiently. There are no second chances.
A video sermon gives the sermon a chance to be polished with very little effort. By editing out tangents, trimming it for time and cutting out any audio, video or technical gaffs, the sermon can be streamlined for maximum impact.
Additionally, other media elements such as video introductions, musical interludes, scriptures, and slides can be added to the video to increase the production value, interest and value of the sermon. Sometimes it's too hard to flip through your Bible or Bible app as fast as the preacher is going. But when you watch the video and the scripture verses are displayed as the preacher reads them, it makes the sermon easier to follow along.
Ultimately, polishing a video sermon is not to change the sermon, but to increase production value and effectiveness to what the preacher preached live.
Truth #2-Video can multiply your efforts.
Once a sermon is preached, the only other way to hear it again is to listen to a recording or for the preacher to preach the whole sermon again. Sometimes churches have three, four, five or more services every weekend. For some preachers, speaking at every service is a daunting task. Especially if these services are at different locations. Other times the campuses are located so far apart it would be physically impossible for the preacher to be at every service. A video sermon can multiply your efforts.
Remember how Jesus took a few loaves and fishes and fed five thousand? It's because he multiplied it by the power of God. Not that video does the same exact thing, but it can take the effort put into one sermon and multiply the output. Instead of a preacher expending the effort to preach a sermon five times, he can preach it once and the video can be played in four other services. This frees up the preacher to spend time with his family, greet the congregation, or start preparing for the next week. See more about using video to save time in my article 7 Ways Video Can Save Your Pastor Time.
Truth #3-Video can be shared.
Have you ever tried to share a live preacher with a friend? It's impossible. Once it's preached it's gone. The audience hears it but it disappears into the past unless someone records it.
Video sermons can reach beyond the church members when you share it on social media. A polished video can potentially reach millions of people on Facebook or YouTube. That immediately gives video sermons a huge advantage over a live preacher.
You could take clips and create a YouVersion devotional. How about a video podcast? There's no reason you need to put the whole sermon out there as one chunk either. You could chop it up into two or three pieces and release it throughout the week as part one, two and three. This is what Rick Warren does on his Daily Hope podcast. Additionally, the video team can pull clips from the sermon to share online. You could take a 30-second edit of the sermon and create a text video for Facebook. Or pull a great section and post it on Instagram.
Why not create a mash up of quotes from sermons and edit them to cool music to make a promo for your church or sermon series? After a major series has concluded, you could package all the videos together and offer them via DVD in your bookstore or digitally online. You can choose whether to give them away or use the money from the sales to fund your video team.
The possibilities for video sermons are limited only by your imagination. If you create the best quality video you can and use it to spread the message and multiply your efforts, you may find your pastor doing less and less live preaching.