The following article is located at:http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2011/fall/preachingteams.html
Video venues and multi-sites work really well for what I call the overpowering communicator (OPC). The OPC is the person who is such a good communicator that no one else in the church, or maybe even in the geographical locale, can compete in the pulpit.
But given that there are roughly 375,000 Protestant churches in the country and probably no more than several hundred OPCs, I advocate for the use of preaching teams in many, if not most, congregations. Based on my observation and experience, preaching teams are an underutilized strategy for church growth, evangelistic outreach, and pastoral impact. Here's just one reason why.
Different styles of communication appeal to different people. If the pastor is not an OPC, chances are he or she is only going to attract a certain type of person. If others in leadership who have a teaching gift are allowed to preach regularly, it's likely that a new demographic will be attracted to the church.
A few years ago I helped lead a church plant in a suburb of Denver. From the outset we had a four-person preaching team. While we always preached from the Scripture, our diverse personalities, styles, and skills brought far more people to the church-and to Christ-than any one of us could have done alone.
Providing a compelling rationale for using a preaching team is essential. But implementing of such a strategy, especially where it's never been done before, requires some careful planning. Let me offer three guidelines for doing it well.
First, a change of this magnitude requires consensus among the church's leadership. This means the senior pastor must take the time to sell the idea and demonstrate why it's a viable means of advancing God's kingdom.
Often church leaders resist a team approach because they like the lead pastor's preaching and don't want others in the pulpit. In this situation, the senior leader has to make a case for what's best for both the church and the extension of the gospel. On the other hand, some church leaders oppose preaching teams because they believe that, regardless of gifting, "it is the pastor's job to preach!" Here it's going to take some time and prayer to convince them that this model is better for everyone involved, including those the church is trying to reach.
The church's leadership must also be assured that preaching team members will be theologically sound. There certainly will be some variety. But if there are significant differences in key areas of belief and practice, the entire enterprise will be undermined.
In our church plant this never became an issue since our preachers were all graduates from or professors at Denver Seminary. But in a former church where I served for 16 years, there were some strong communicators who weren't aligned with the church's vision. Moreover, they held a theological approach that was markedly different from that of the senior leadership. For these reasons, they were not invited to preach.
Second, sharing the pulpit is only a good idea if the additional ...