We’ll NEVER Recommend Pre-Recording Messages at your Multi Site Church. And Here’s Why:

It happened on a Friday.

Major national news affecting hearts and minds within the body of Christ. A ruling by the Supreme Court that will have major ramifications for church leadership and potentially, church doctrine, in the United States. And it happened on a Friday.

In the multi site church world, the WHEN of any event that affects a community of faith matters.

Even with live delivery options like satellite and terrestrial readily available, many multi site churches pre-record their services during the week – usually on Thursday night – for their community churches. Often they do not know that there is a high-quality but cost effective way to deliver their weekend message LIVE from the main campus to the outlying campuses. Other multi sites send last week’s sermon, so the remote campuses are a week behind the home campus. So, for these churches, WHEN an event happens may determine whether it will be addressed this weekend, or next.

Is WHEN an event addressed by the pastor that big of a deal? Absolutely.

Like many evangelical Christians, I sought the council and wisdom of my pastor in the weekend following the decision of the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. I wanted – I needed to hear from the church’s teaching pastor, our spiritual shepherd. And I did. In a message filled with God’s grace and unconditional love, I was reminded how, as a Christian, I was called to respond.

So, yes, the WHEN matters.

Which is why so many pastors of multi site churches struggle with the strategy of pre-recording services. Not only is it next to impossible to be spontaneous in front of a live mic in an empty room, but – depending on the day of the week – events that may directly affect the life of the church may go unaddressed until the following Sunday.

This was the exact complaint of a multi site church pastor in Virginia. His staff shared with us that the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 was the catalyst for his directive to explore live delivery options. During a midnight showing in a packed movie house, 12 people were killed and 70 people injured when a gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience. It happened on a Thursday night – midnight mountain time – just hours after his pre-recorded service.

Believers and non-believers alike struggle with the “hows” and “whys” following any tragedy – whether it be an event played out on the national political stage or a serious accident in the community. In the days following any calamity, men and women turn to the church for comfort, reassurance, and the understanding that – in the midst of their uncertainty and pain – God is there.

I cringe inside when a multi-site church shares that their community campuses get a pre-recorded message on Sunday morning. I immediately think about that pastor in Virginia, and how he didn’t want to wait for “another Aurora” before he addressed the issue of pre-recorded services.

He knew the WHEN mattered.