Many years ago now (once upon a time) I remember musing with Seminary colleagues and students about a day when there would be little need for communicating pastors because the Christian celebrity talking heads would be beamed in to a congregation near you. It seems that there is a growing trend toward this style of multi-site teaching. If this truly catches on I wonder what kind of impact this will have on the development of the teaching gift in local church contexts.
I believe the roots of this are found in the mega church movement and the proliferation of professional teaching aids that have been developed by these organizations. Was it not Rick Warren who said of small group leaders "you don’t have to know how to teach all you need to do is plug in and press play". And that is exactly what we have been and are doing. Whether it is in our ministry to children, youth, adults, in small group settings, Sunday school instruction we are using canned teaching presentations or leaving it to the professionals. We love what we see and I wonder if it is to our own peril. In a world where excellence in presentation is such a valued commodity it is hard to compete with the packaged material.
Ultimately the question is whether or not God wants us to develop our own "voice". Do we believe the exercise of those who have the gifts of teaching in the church is vital to the maturity of the body of Christ? I say lets stop being lazy and putting up with the subtle nuanced changes to our theology and ministry philosophy that watching the screen inevitably produces and let God use all of us for the kingdoms sake.