(The following is a fictional and satirical news article).
Garrett Winterberg, a senior level engineer and inventor for Mangotech in Silicon Valley, claims to have finally perfected his side technological project and wants to make it available to churches all across the world. What is this alleged ministerial breakthrough? Preaching tracks. And we were able to sit down with him for an interview.
Similar to music tracks, he explained, preaching tracks offer professionally pre-recorded sounds (but in this case, monologue) so that small churches can better replicate the megachurch experience that so many Americans assumedly crave. With preaching tracks, ministry leaders can download sermons by some of the nation’s most reputable preachers, and a pastor can customize what portions of the sermon, if any, he/she wants to memorize, lip-sync, or modify. (The pastors who have allowed their sermons to be utilized for this program have agreed to receive royalties and will not have any sermon modifications attributed to them).
Winterberg, however, admits that he still needs to discuss with his business partners the marketing logistics of his product, especially the pricing, though he is very excited to launch the product. While small church pastors may no longer have to write sermons, their ministry leaders may be reluctant to pay $100 (Winterberg’s first proposed price) for a sermon. First, the congregation will only want to hear that sermon once in their sanctuary, and, secondly, they may be able to find the same sermon (or very similar) for free on a podcast. Song tracks, however, do not cost as much and can be used more than once.
Some of Winterberg’s consultants have expressed concern that, similar to church worship music, preaching tracks will give an unhealthful amount of financial and creative power to the thinktanks of a small minority of large churches. Wittenberg’s fellow congregants have expressed even more concern, worrying that the advent of preaching tracks will discourage small church and solo pastors across the country in their roles in original and relational homiletics. It is seen as another step toward technology replacing occupations — this time, the pulpit. His response?
“No church leader was complaining about too much technology during the pandemic,” replied Winterberg, in the interview. “Through technology, we are capable of doing so much more for the Church. And this is simple and scientific business: we find who’s doing something visibly well, and then we analyze and replicate. I’m happy to have invented something that will help more small churches, hopefully all around the world, to follow our American megachurches’ winning formula.”
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