Whether we admit it or not, our churches are shaped by our culture. When overhead projectors became the thing in business meetings, so suddenly preachers wondered how Wesley had survived without acetates. Then preachers pondered the problems Spurgeon must have faced without powerpoint and projectors.
As well as technological influence, there are others too. How regularly do we hear and see another “study” indicating people have shockingly short attention spans so we should keep our messages to less than 35 seconds? It’s amazing how these “studies” seem to selectively focus on the criteria that make the point of the person writing – not exactly solid science in many cases.
So here’s one that surely must be coming . . . two-person preaching. If I think back to the TV I saw in the 1980’s, I tend to think of individuals – film reviews? Barry Norman sat in a black chair and looking at the camera. Satire? Clive James on his own with the occasional guest. Now everything is done in pairs. Presenters have their sidekicks for painfully choreographed repartee in some cases, or side-splinting banter in others. Radio shows rely on the bouncing back and forth between DJs, and if one DJ is dominant, the other acts as a foil. So should we expect to see more 2-person preaching?
There are positives that come to mind here. Some of the best educational experience I had involved two professors co-teaching contemporaneously. In Cor Deo we have deliberately adopted a two-mentor teaching model, and I delight in the advantages of that approach. It offers the benefit of added perspective in discussion environments. It offers the possibility of variation in voice and presentation. It offers a tangible relational approach that fits for an inherently relational faith.
But when it comes to preaching, there are also negatives. And I’ll share my thoughts on this tomorrow. I’d love to hear other perspectives on this . . .