Caution: A Rant

Ok . . . ok.  I don't know if we've met but I really am a pretty level headed guy.  It can take a lot for me to get bugged about something.  If this post is all you know about me . . . I'm sorry.  I'm going to rant a little bit about a term that is sometimes used to describe "the way we do church" that does get in under my skin.

Have you ever heard the label "Video Church"?  This phrase is sometimes used to described our approach.  There lots of people that I think rock use this term.  But frankly, I think it kinda stinks!  This term is used to describe multi-site churches that export a sermon through some video technology to other locations.  There are literally hundreds and hundreds of churches around the world using this tool to build churches that reach out to the world around us.

So what's my "beef" with this term?  (I warned that I might be ranting.)

This year represents my seventh year in leadership of a multisite church using video in it's adult services to extend it's ministry beyond one geographic location – and one of the the great ironies I have found over the years is that the "video" portion of what we do is the easiest part of doing church this way.

It's not a video that is waking up early to set up our environments on Sunday mornings.
A video doesn't take time to care for a child in WaumaLand or UpStreet.
I have yet to see a video help a first time visitor feel welcome to church – without overwhelming them.
We don't have a series of videos that we play for people in our Community Groups to help people develop closer relationships with each other and God.
I don't think we've ever had a video donate to help propel the mission forward.
I think you get the picture . . . .

Yes.  We do use video as a simple tool to help us have a shared experience across a wide geographic area.  It's one tool we use to craft irresistible environments for our friends.  That's it.  At this point it makes the most sense for us as we move forward together in crafting the kind of church that we can invite our friends too.   We can talk more about the "why" of video in another post – today I want to dispel the rumor that it's all about the video.

We are so thankful for the hundreds of people that serve and give sacrificially to help us launch Connexus.  And yes, we're thankful for our great video team that helps us capture and send a great video every week.

So whadda think?  Do you think I'm way off on "video church" being a term that bugs me?

Rich Birch
[email protected]
Executive Director of Operations
Connexus Community Church



  1. lamb says, January 24, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    hey Brother
    you is baaaaaaaa'd
    and that's vvery good
    in my books :):)


  2. Carey Nieuwhof says, January 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    It's just great to be able to be in two places at once.

    I have had dozens, if not hundreds of conversations with people in the last five years who said "Where can I get this in my community?"

    Keep ranting Rich!

    P.S. The guy on the video is a real live person too. : >)

  3. Joey says, January 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I agree, Rich. Video church sounds somehow condescending – as though it were an inferior kind of church or something. Certainly unfair when it is such an awesome experience! And about so much more than "videos" – things like: Jesus, people, worship, music, prayer, the bible, love, service, etc. etc.

  4. Allen Forget says, January 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Is that all the rant? I wanted more! Give us more Rich! You know I don't think you can blame anyone for using this moniker because they are looking for a descriptive nature to describe the churches that use video for the message part of worship. Isn't that the way though, that people (even ourselves) would identify something with simple an obvious details that really tells nothing about what it is we, or they, are trying to describe. Seems sad that so much gets left behind in that explanation. What is really sad is the identity of any church really. When is the last time you had someone describe a church as a warm, caring, freindly, down to earth environment where they cannot resist but be a part of it? We have so much work to do don't we? I am up for the challenge and I certainly know you guys are as well. Keep leaping because every leap you take is helping you get to the other side to help to build the bridge over the gap.

  5. Marten says, January 24, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Hi Rich, Love your rant
    May I tell you what I experience when the Video church starts.
    6:00 o'clock the 4 trailers are being unloaded and the boxes are being wheeled into the theaters.
    There I see children, young people, teenagers, fathers, mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers busy setting up the environments in the theaters for children's ministry. I see a man going from theater to theater, praying and touch each doorpost with his finger to place a cross on each one. You see the theaters now becomes a church. The environments are changing, the language is different. Persons are laying out the electrical extension cables, the lighting teams are busy, the sound teams are busy, the video teams are busy, the stage is being setup, the music team is setting up, the sound team is busy the video team is busy, the person bringing the GOOD NEWS is busy and wants the environment to be a place where we can invite our friends so they can meet Jesus.
    The refreshments are being prepared coffee is now available. The welcome team is arriving, prayers are going up and we are ready to hear the good news. Exciting? You bet (well we're not supposed to bet) This is the church at work in this location and it's exciting and lives are being changed. That's why each volunteer is doing his or her part. I love it.

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