Monday, April 09, 2007

The Newest Trend in Ministry: Webcasting the Pastor's Daily Life

Too much information:

LEWISTON, Maine — Recently, several hundred members of Holy Trinity Church watched pastor Jeremy Woods eat breakfast, work on his sermon and make a Starbucks run. Woods had just joined a growing group of pastors who are broadcasting their lives 24/7 on the Internet.

"When I first heard of going live I thought, 'This is the future of pastoring but I'm not sure I like it,'" Woods says. But after a month he says he "totally digs it."

"It's the next step beyond blogging or even live blogging," he says. "It's about sharing life."

The trend is believed to have started in 2004 when Rick Givens of New York's West Side Church decided to make himself "more accountable and accessible" by webcasting every waking moment live. But his pioneering effort has forced other pastors into awkward decisions. Donald Taylor, 37, of Nebraska didn't want to go live, but relented because of pressure from his board. He hated his first week.

"It was like being in prison. You never have a moment to yourself," he says.

But soon he began to enjoy having a constant audience. His wife particularly likes it because "he behaves more," she says. "It's like having God looking over your shoulder. You never know who's watching."

To go live, pastors outfit their offices and homes with surveillance cameras and clip miniature video cameras to themselves which are linked to the Internet via cell phone. During counseling sessions and other sensitive occasions the audio is cut and faces are blurred. At night, pastors set the camera facing a closed bedroom door so viewers can see that they haven't left the room.

17 comments:

Mark Winter said...

Big Brother Church.

jim said...

And then one day the pastor decided to sail to Fiji. When he hit the sky, he opened the door and went out into the real world...

Brian Krumnow said...

That seems to me to be an extremely unhealthy loss of boundaries and trust. Makes me wonder what is really motivating this.

BruceA said...

I think it's a great idea. If zombies break into the pastor's house, church members will know immediately, and they can rush over to help.

BruceA said...

It would also be beneficial for pastors who want to find out how many church members have problems with voyeurism.

Dan Trabue said...

I'd be okay with it if the camera were two-way...

No, seriously. Yuck.

truevyne said...

Not interesting! Who would listen or watch that?

Marie N. said...

I don't think promoting voyeurism is acceptable.

rocksalive777 said...

Oh, the Orwellian references to be made...

BruceA said...

I think it's a good accountability resource. There are 168 hours in a week, and most pastors spend only about 130 of those hours on job-related duties. How else can church members know whether the pastor is spending their free time wisely?

Todd said...

The two problems that leap out to me are: 1.) The church members pressuring a pastor to display his or her life. I see some darker and more serious problems in the life of that church. 2.) Pastors enjoying having an audience. There are some unhealthy things a brewing there also.

doodlebugmom said...

Seems like a little too much sharing, in my opinion. I can't imagine wanting to watch.

TN Rambler said...

Nothing like a dose of Lark News to make your day.

Thanks John.

John said...

Bruce makes a very good point. Pastors have too much unsupervised free time and need to be more rigidly regulated. Those 38 hours a week can be used for all sorts of mischief, like blogging about bagpipers playing Star Wars.

Lorna said...

I think this is unhealthy. Pastors and families need privacy. Making love springs to mind. Toilet trips too. Helping family with homework - I mean where does this end.

I hope this is a spoof.

John said...

It is, Lorna.

Dale said...

Vanity Fair