Hologram pastors

This taken from http://www.slate.com/id/2197166/?GT1=28001 Please click on the link for the full length article.

“Most Sunday mornings at Buckhead Church in downtown Atlanta, one person is conspicuously absent: the senior pastor, Andy Stanley. A nationally known evangelist, Stanley is usually 20 minutes away at North Point Community Church, the suburban megachurch he has led for 13 years. To the 6,000 or so faithful at Buckhead, he appears only on video, his digital image projected in front of the congregation in life-sized 3-D. The preacher is a hologram.

As the Wall Street Journal noted earlier this summer, American megachurch pastors are starting up video-based branches overseas to spread their faith, and their faces, to places where evangelical Christianity is just taking hold, using Starbucks as their model for rapid expansion. But here at home, where houses of worship are already as plentiful as suburban strip centers, the same strategy of high-tech franchising is emerging, despite objections from many Christians that it’s the wrong way to reach new converts.

An estimated 2,000 to 2,500 U.S. congregations now operate multiple campuses, and many of them, like Buckhead Church, are so-called video venues. The Leadership Network, a Christian nonprofit that follows these multisite churches, says there will be 30,000 of them within a few years. Already, the most ambitious pastors are predicting that, thanks to video, they’ll have branded outlets nationwide and more than 100,000 followers—twice as large as the country’s biggest megachurch today. Gigachurches are the way that next-generation celebrity evangelists are building their empires.”

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Hayden on August 19, 2008 at 8:00 am

    World magazine did an entire issue on this development. The part that really sticks out in my mind is ‘…the way that next-generation celebrity evangelists are building their empires’.

    Whose empire is it supposed to be?

  2. Posted by Caleb on August 19, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Hayden,

    I’m with you brother…

    It’s too easy to get caught up in Olympic glory even as Christians. Pastors have to fight the flesh just like every other Christian does.

  3. Posted by Scott Christensen on August 20, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Why not take the next step and create a virtual reality pastor? You can combine the best traits of your favorite celebrity pastors and leave out the bad ones.

  4. Posted by Caleb Kolstad on August 20, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Scott,

    Because if you took all the best traits of those faithful pastors and put them into one preacher then you’d simply have another Paul Lamey or Jerry Wragg.

    (I think those guys are on extended ET sabbaticals so i figured i’d throw this one in).

  5. not only does it breed the celebrity status in pastors but i think it shows a lack of trust in other leadership.

  6. Posted by Jerry Wragg on August 25, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Caleb –
    Thanks friend…that’s all I need is yet another rumor started!

  7. Posted by Caleb Kolstad on August 25, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I was thinking about the best traits of the good celebrity preachers (MacArthur, Piper, Sproul) not the fluffy ones (Osteen, Jakes, Schuller) in reference to Jerry and Paul. :)

    (In case anyone missed the joke here)

  8. Posted by Caleb Kolstad on August 25, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    “Celebrity” is probably not even the best way to describe famous pastors that are faithful to the Word. MacArthur, Sproul and Piper could go to Disneyland w/o paparazzi chasing them down or to the local mall w/o having hundreds of “fans” swooning over them.

    At special and unique Christian events these gifted preachers are often mobbed but it is still much different than what you see with a Kobe Bryant or a Barack Obama.

    Self promotion is much different than having lots of Christians love and respect gifted truth tellers.

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