Leith Anderson is both a pastor and a careful observer of culture. The pastor of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is also author of Leadership That Works. Lee Dean of Leadership's sister site BuildingChurchLeaders.com asked Leith about how technology is affecting preaching.
What major developments you have observed in preaching in the last decade or so?
Clearly, the introduction of the experiential into evangelical preaching has been a significant factor. Preaching is not just someone talking, but it's providing sight and sound and experience. This is done in different ways at different levels in different churches. But the introduction of PowerPoint added a visual aspect for a while, perhaps less so now. We see the use of video clips and other visuals, and increasingly in many churches that reach a younger generation, participation through various exercises and activities that are connected to preaching.
PowerPoint is declining?
PowerPoint has been largely a Baby Boomer phenomenon. Younger adults wonder about the validity and credibility of anything perceived to be canned. Authenticity is a critical aspect, especially with younger adults, in the preaching experience. It doesn't seem authentic that a speech is all written out and words appear on the screen at exactly the same time. So PowerPoint is less used with younger adults and becoming more a characteristic of an older generation.
Yet younger adults are very high tech.
It's a delicate balance here, because to be authentic, things can't come across as too scripted. And yet, a certain amount of scripting is necessary in order to use technology. For example, one of the things we're working with at Wooddale Church is encouraging young adults to use their cell phones ...