Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Problem With Preaching III

The Times, They Are A Changing...

It has been said that we stand at the dawn of a new era. As we seek to communicate Jesus and connect with stories, our culture is changing at a rapid pace - and this is why presentation in preaching is important.

We are witnessing the transition between two major communication eras. This is a pretty big deal, as they've only been two communication eras up to now. Firstly, there was the oral culture of communication. Secondly, the culture of writing with the invention of the alphabet and later, the printing press. And thirdly (now), the electronic era of communications, starting with Film and Television, where image became everything. If you think about it, such a major change in communications has only happened once before in human history. So it's no wonder that there is a crisis in today's preaching (and lots of other forms of content delivery).

According to Perth author and pastor Graham Johnston: "The force of the written word has diminished. Words carry no meaning. Enter the image. Images leave the viewer, not with carefully crafted ideas and precepts but with impressions."

Johnston overstates things when he says the power of the written word has diminished - I disagree with that. But he makes an important point about image. Since the rise of television, image and perception have become much more important in communication. And if we thought television had radically changed communication - along came the Internet. Effectively in the last decade the Internet has reshaped everything. Cultural critic Lee Siegel argues: "The Internet is possibly the most radical transformation of private and public life in the history of humankind."

The Internet: it's huge. And it changes everyday.It's changing the whole arena of communication and even society itself. The Internet is changing the people the church preaches to, especially young people. Because of this the Internet presents great challenges and possibilities for preaching today and tomorrow. To throw some perspective on this, it took radio 38 years to reach an audience of 50 million people. Television took 13 years, the Internet took 4 years, the i-Pod did it in 3 years and facebook did it in just 2 years. Internet use has even surpassed television viewing.

It's because of all these major developments that we go to the Internet and learn some lessons for preaching in today's world. There is more to come...

1 comment:

Mike Bull said...

What's television?