"godcasting" among other things


In a recent USA Today the Buckhead Church of Sandy Springs, GA was featured as an example of the model of the church of the future. This 1000 strong bunch gathers each Sunday to watch Andy Stanley on a gigantic screen via high definition technology that once belonged to NASA.

They call it “godcasting” and according to Mark Silk who is the director of the Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life in Hartford, Conn:

“This is part of the new ecclesiastical world order where niche marketing … is the name of the game, and the standard model where everybody gets dressed up and goes down to the … church for 11 o’clock service is not the model anymore.”

Of course the overwhelming majority of congregants at Buckhead and other similar churches across the country are 30 and under.The only downside mentioned was that this model tended to alienate older members and pretty much prevented “pastoral” accountability.

Is this really the wave of the future? Will we all be establishing campuses of our churches and franchising them out? Will our fellowship be linked by our ipods? Is this biblical? Whew! Blows my technologically-challenged mind a little.

My Space… Or Yours

Speaking of the under thirty crowd- I recently took my first journey ever around the My Space universe at the prompting of my nurse daughter who recently got her space. It was, uh, interesting.

I recognized several “kids” I knew years ago at camp and youth rallies. (Boy am I getting old) I was delighted to see some of these young people boldly witnessing for Christ. That did not necessarily surprise me but after seeing some other kinds of testimony it was a breath of fresh air.

Is the My Space culture the one that will tap into the “godcasts”? I know I grow frustrated (but I do not let her know it:) in conversations with my twenty-four year old. I wonder if my worldview was that far away from my parents at that age. And I also wonder how to reach this generation with the message of Christ.

The Code Again

This is the weekend for the big movie and reviews say it is a stinker. Apparently Ron Howard (Opie, you have drifted a long way from Mayberry) has “softened” the script in an attempt to appeal somehow to believers. How? Here is the line:

“What matters is what you believe.” (repeated twice for effect)

For those of us who think “post-modernism” defines current culture here is a prime example. I am going to see the movie. I feel like I need to if I am to be relevant in any dialogue about it. I will let you know my reaction.

“This world is not my home. I am just a passing through.” Praise God.


12 Responses to "godcasting" among other things

  1. Nancy says:

    I doubt that’s the church of the future — we need to be able to shake hands.


  2. Gary W. Kirkendall says:

    The technology can be used by small churches with no preacher — however, most would never consider it. Just think, I couldbe out of town and Broad Streetcouldlisten to Danny Dodd preach!! — And they wouldn’t have to pay you — HA

    Also,maybe somegreatresources will be made available to small groups and Sunday classes!?! Who knows, the church has always been able to use “the roads of Rome”. But I agree with Nancy –podcasting church would be link podcasting Thanksgiving. I don’t need to see my mother’s face, I need to hug her neck and smell her kitchen!!

  3. Steve Puckett says:

    Good post, Danny. For a lot of years our church family had a strong connection to Gateway when Eddie Levick was the preacher there. We had Eddie down to do a couple of retreats for us in the Melbourne area in the early 80’s.

    Thanks for your insights. I too plan to see the movie also. I read the book and preached a couple of sermons to highlight our need for connecting with our culture with the good news.


  4. Danny says:

    Gary, if I recall correctly you talked about this kind of thing years ago. You must be a son of a prophet or something.

    But I am like you and Nancy- I need the human element.

    But on the other hand- as preachers- if we were just beamed in we would avoid being greeted by the brother with the bone-to-pick!

    Steve, thanks for stopping by. What did you think of the movie? As entertainment I give it maybe two and a half stars. As a theology or history lesson- it pretty much washed out- but I knew that going in.

  5. Steve Puckett says:

    I agree with your assessment of the movie. The book was quite interesting, but I thought it kind of fizzled out at the end.

    So glad to hear that Eddie is coming “home” for a visit. I think we might get him back to Florida in time.


  6. Ben Overby says:

    I should go ahead and apologize for all whom I shall offend with the following rant, but you’ve really hit it on the head again, Danny! You might want to charge me for a therapy session after I blow off this steam.

    You ask THE question: How do we reach this generation with the message of Christ? I’ll go to my grave believing that the power is in the word of the Kingdom–the gospel Jesus preached. Podcasting, godcasting, franchising church . . . that all tends to focus on method of delivery. Paul wrote that we have the treasure in clay jars, earthen vessels, so that the power is clearly God’s. At least that’s the way it was then. Today, it seems our culture’s attention is riveted to method. And who’s fault is that? Show me a clay pot full of diamonds and rubies and my attention will be captured by the content of the cheap pot. Crush a clay pot and place the chunks inside a diamond studded, ruby covered treasure box and my focus will be on the container. Paul wanted all the attention to be on the cross, the content, the treasure, not himself, and not a method. If we were to place the technologically advanced, cyber-space church in Colorado up against a little church meeting in a house in Rome or a dusty synagogue in Galilee, one would look like jars of clay, the other like the Holy Grail itself! If the chalice veils the blood of the cross, then its only value is superficially aesthetic. Give me a dixie cup–just give me Jesus, the cross, the resurrection–give me the treasure. It’s at this point that our eyes glass over because we think the modern world isn’t going to be interested in the word of the kingdom. And that’s because we’ve been preaching the wrong gospel, the gospel that was filtered through an Enlightenment lens and stripped of its power, its glory; so much so that no matter how you teach “it” it looks like dime-store, creek rock, and nobody wants creek rock in jars of clay. However, we assume the problem is the vessel so we put the same watered down, mud covered, fools gold inside the spectacular, or the niche-driven vessel of a mega-church, a mini-church, a godcast, a small group plan, a large group plan, a contemporary service, a tie-less service, a formal dress service, a come-as-you-are atmosphere, a praise team-Plexiglass pulpit-power point service, a bring your pet service, a bless your baby service, a bless your momma service, a high-church service, a low church service, a planned liturgy, a spontaneous service, a cowboy service, a gay service, an easter service, a Christmas service, a 4th of July service, a service service, a taize’ service, a singing service, an honor the civil volunteers service, a children’s service, a teens service, a service that appeals to hunters, and on and on and on it goes. We set at the potter’s wheel focused on how to make the clay pot approachable, adorable, if not blandly palatable, when we ought to be setting still so that the Potter can work His life changing message into our hearts and thereby pour it into the hearts of others. There’s a reason Paul’s instruction to Timothy was to basically pray, mediate, study, teach, and live a good example. He said if he’d do those things, God would use him to save people. WHAT? Powerful stuff! Except that we’ve converted the “Study” into an “Office” where we strategize and cast visions, yada yada, blah, blah, (and we squeeze some spiritual stuff in there when we can). We pray about methods, study the latest trends, teach the so-called gospel we’ve inherited, and live in quiet misery waiting to see the effects of the gospel; effects that are evident in scripture, but foreign to us. And we will not see the effects of the gospel until we (1) preach the gospel that Jesus preached and (2) live the sort of life that Jesus lived, none of which will be easy because our institutions (Christian colleges and churches) are almost entirely ignorant of both. We need to go back to the beatitudes and hear them challenge us to just stop! Stop grabbing, stop pretending, stop the agendas, stop eating everything put in front of us, stop punishing, stop sinning, stop competing and stop placating. If we can ever stop long enough, maybe we will settle down and begin to find the grace to safely let go of the diamonds and rubies, contenting ourselves with being clay pots (or in my case, a very cracked pot), with all our energy focused on the treasure we’ve been entrusted with no matter what our role in the body happens to be.

    Before you look for the the most jagged edged stone to toss at this fragile pot, I only suggest, “Let him who is without an office cast the first stone!” : )

  7. Danny says:

    Rant on Ben! Your thoughts are right on the money and we all need to listen to them.

  8. JD says:

    A bless your momma service? Ben…I got your point … wow … and put very well.

    By the way I don’t have an office. But I don’t have any rocks, either.

    I just started reading Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat. What we are talking about is the flattening of the church (doesn’t sound very pretty, does it?) … a subject sure to show up on my blog at some point soon.

  9. JD says:

    Oh, and my MySpace is:

    I’m not responsible for the ads!

  10. R.J. Morgan says:

    If you get the time, id recommend reading the book as opposed/in addition to the movie.

    more serious questions will come from the book, as the movie is – like the reviews say – very watered down.

  11. Danny says:

    No doubt about that RJ.

    It was good seeing your parents here a couple of weeks ago.

  12. R.J. Morgan says:

    they enjoyed seeing you too… and the way they have been travelling as of late, youll probably see them again before i do, lol.

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