Commenting on Integrity Issues (1), Scott Cheatham alerted me to recent discussion on his blog www.scottcheatham.com, in which he questioned about preachers using complete video sermons from others to substitute for their own preaching. While sympathetic to an occasional series, say at vacation time, taking the place of the local preacher, he rightly urged caution. Several different aspects of this issue have emerged in ensuing discussion.
At one point he quoted me from 360degree Leadership: "Preaching is leadership." (That made me sit up and take notice!) What does that claim have to say about preachers substituting other's words, ideas, videos etc for their own? I think A GREAT DEAL! Scott hits the nail on the head.
No matter how small or large a local church, when a preacher is called to deliver God's Word, share God's vision, and challenge about God's will for them as God's community - no one else and nothing else should substitute. Preaching is not just about excellence of presentation, and five star gifting. It's about witnessing to this group of people by this called preacher God's authentic word to them. Noone else can see it and say it in this unique situation like the preacher who lives with and loves the people. Yes, it may look average, but it's authentic. That's how preachers lead.
Use of video is a large subject and I agree with Scott that there is a difference between video linking a preacher to several church sites (which has some integrity of vision and community), the occasional use of video series as celebrated by LifeChurch.tv , and the widescale substitution of local preachers by a few "excellent" video preachers. I think that "preaching as leadership" remains a core issue, and I am grateful to Scott for raising it.