I started writing this as a post on the Shepherd Conference thread regarding the lost audio of the conference, but then I thought it deviated too much from that thread, so here we go:
I’m not a pastor/preacher. I’ve preached two sermons. One was an utter disaster. The other found an appreciated hearing among the good people of the Untied Church of Christ in General Macarthur, on the island of East Samar in the Philippines. Long story.
Anyway, a conference is not a sermon, so this question may not apply to the conference audio in question, but…
I guess I question the wisdom of recording/publicly airing or making available sermon audio. This is not something I have a strong opinion on and welcome dissenting opinion. (I’m probably wrong actually.)
A sermon is not a book or an essay. It is intended to be spoken and heard. It is a message, a proclamation that “goes out” to the ears of the listeners. It has its effect on their hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit uses it. Sometimes - as in the parable of the seed - the effect is not wholly “good.” But after it is spoken and heard it passes from existence.
Unless you record it and publish it. Then it is present for posterity, for a long time, though not - I would argue - eternally. Every message, every communication, has its context. The context for a college biology book is different from that of a love letter. The context of a sermon is different from a college or seminary lecture or a TED talk. It is a specific pastor preaching to a specific group of people who live life together and share a lot of experiences, assumptions, etc. Someone who listens to it at another time or place does not have that context. This doesn’t mean the sermon is contentless or meaningless. But it does seem to change the content.
So is it wise, is it prudent, to publish it “for all time.”
This is different than recording for personal use of the pastor or congregants or especially members of the church who are unable to be in attendance. And I realize also that Covid made it prudent, at least temporarily, to hold church services online via streaming. Thats a different question than mine.
I only ask if anyone has thought through the wisdom of routinely publishing weekly sermons delivered to local church bodies. To me it seems questionable and is growing toward ubiquity.