As popular pastors top Apple Podcasts’ Christian charts, some leaders celebrate widening the access to gospel teaching while others worry about discouraging Sunday attendance.
Should pastors podcast their sermons? Here's how experts weighed in.
Answers are arranged on a spectrum from “yes” answers at the top to “no” answers at the bottom.
“As the church finds itself in an increasingly missionary context, it must recapture the dynamic movement-based form that it was created to be. This, in part, will mean the church must engage innovation and technology rather than trying to preserve the status quo. This is particularly important to connect with younger generations who embrace today’s technology.”
~Brad Brisco, director of bivocational church planting, North American Mission Board
“If people are neglecting the Sunday gathering simply because the podcast is available, it indicates a deeper problem: They don’t understand the sacredness of what happens when the church gathers. If this line of thinking were followed in other areas, we’d need to stop Bible studies because they might cheapen the preaching of God’s Word. The solution is not to stop podcasting or quit doing Bible studies, but to be more intentional about teaching church members about all that God does through the gathered church.”
~Stephen Altrogge, author, teacher, and founder of The Blazing Center
“Sermon podcasts are certainly a good thing, though not the best format in which to receive the word preached. While the Spirit is at work wherever and however the word is preached (Phil. 1:15–18), the normative and most fruitful work of God is in the context of the local assembly of the church. One can leverage podcast preaching for their good, but apart from the local church, they will find themselves malnourished.”
~Joe Thorn, lead pastor, Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles, IL
“I’m thrilled whenever Christians are hungry for God’s Word, but sermon podcasts should be a ‘snack’ or ‘side,’ not the ‘main dish.’ We should receive God’s Word primarily from preachers who know and love us; an over-reliance on celebrity preachers often breeds discontentment with local pulpits. Further, the hearing of God’s Word should be an embodied discipline practiced primarily in the corporate gathering of the saints, not the privacy of one’s earbuds (Heb. 10:24–25). During ‘live’ preaching, the Holy Spirit often moves in our midst in a unique, ‘you had to be there’ way. We should want to be there! Podcasts couldn’t have produced the fruit of Pentecost.”
~Duke Kwon, senior pastor, Grace Meridian Hill, Washington, DC
“The digital era’s larger audiences tempt us to overstate our importance and to communicate to the crowd rather than our community. Sermon podcasts turn our pastors into media brands and shift the purpose of the message away from the local congregation, which is one of the last forms of noncommercial local community many of us have. If pride is the great sin, then humility is one of the great virtues—one that Christians should keep even when the world works against it.”
~Jake Meador, editor in chief, Mere Orthodoxy
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