The Voice of the Modern Church
I am reprinting Seth Godin’s daily post in its entirety. It describes the pulpit of tomorrow.
The shift is slow and subtle—but the pulpit is no longer the primary place for the telling of God’s Word. Neither will the “preacher” be the primary speaker—if the Church gets it right.
The delivery of a weekly message is a Christian habit—an expensive fix. So much more is possible at far less cost.
Pulpits are growing more anachronistic every day. They are still there—a fixture in church architecture—but many pastors never use them—even on Sunday morning. The physical pulpit sitting at the left or right of an altar in silence for all but 20 minutes a week is no longer where the Word is best delivered. The voice is there. The ears are elsewhere.
Think about this as you read Seth’s post. He’s not writing specifically about preaching, but what he writes applies: (emphases added)
Opening the doors for the masses to speak, giving everyone who cares to have one a microphone–it has led to an explosion in people speaking. And most people, most of the time, are saying virtually nothing. Nothing worth reading, nothing worth repeating, certainly nothing worth remembering.
They’re speaking, not speaking up.
But a few people…
A few people, people who would never have been chosen by those in power, are saying more. Writing more deeply, connecting more viscerally, changing the things around them.
That’s each of us, at our best.
There’s a cost of speaking up, of course. The cost of being wrong, or rubbing someone the wrong way, or merely in living with the uncertainty of what will happen next.
There’s a cost to being banal, though. That cost isn’t as easily felt, but it’s real. It’s the cost of boring your audience, of dumping ‘me too’ on people who have something better to do with their time. And especially, the cost of living in hiding, giving in to our fear.
Every day we can wonder and worry about whether a blog post is worth it. Not whether or not the microphone is working, but whether it’s worth using at all.
It’s much easier to spend a lot of time making your microphone louder than it is working on making your message more compelling…
The path of chiming in is safe and easy and carries little apparent risk and less reward (for you and for your readers). Choosing to dig deep and say more, though, is where both risk and reward live.