The advance of technology has opened new worlds of ways for us to connect with church members and first-time guests. One effective way to connect is to podcast your sermons. If you’ve never done this, it may seem a bit intimidating. However, I assure you it doesn’t have to be. You can create a simple, effective, sermon podcast on a budget and without much technical expertise.
In order to do so, you only need four simple components:
1. A digital recorder
Please do not immediately go out and by a $500 digital recorder. Chances are, if you’re in a church replant or revitalization setting, you won’t have the budget for that to begin with. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this. Search Amazon and you’ll find several of them for under $50. Make sure, however, that you buy one that has either a built-in-USB or a USB cable included. (I made the mistake of not checking once. It was a bummer!)
You can have a couple of options when it comes to recording. For best audio, you should run an audio cable from your church’s sound board to the recorder. If that’s not an option for your setting, you can always set the recorder right on your podium. I use a round table for my podium, so this works well for my setup. (Note: If you do this you cannot pound on your podium or wander very far, because the audio quality will be significantly affected.)
2. Audio editing software
Again, there’s no need to drop a lot of money on this. In fact, you don’t have to drop any money. Audacity is a free software program that is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. It’s simple to add, edit, and export. You can find out more about Audacity here: https://www.audacityteam.org/
Audio editing software will allow you to cut parts of your service that you don’t want included (I only post the sermon portion). I start the recorder before the service and let it run throughout the duration, then go back and delete everything except the message. Audio software also will allow you to clean up the audio a bit. With a little skill, you can learn to eliminate sounds from distracting echoes — or even that church member who coughed all through your message!
I recorded a short intro and outro clip with background music from https://www.freestockmusic.com/that I add onto each sermon.
3. A place to publish your sermon audio
Many church website platforms will have audio hosting included. Our church uses Clover to host our website, and they have the capability to upload unlimited audio files. I also was able to set up our sermon podcasts on iTunes directly from our website. You can find out more about Clover here: https://www.cloversites.com/. Other platforms have this same capability, so rather than paying for a website plus a podcast host, I would recommend a platform that can do both.
4. An audience
If you serve as a pastor, you already have an audience — your congregation. A sermon podcast is a great way to keep your folks engaged in the life of your church when they’re on vacation or out sick. I preach in series, so I’ll often remind our congregation that, if they missed a message in the series, they can go back and listen online.
You also might be surprised at who listens to your message. Often, a first-time guest will tell me they listened to a message online before they ever walked through our front-doors. I’ve also received a few emails from complete strangers across the country who stumbled upon our website and have listened to my sermons. In fact, as I write this post, I’m preparing a teaching session I’ll lead this evening through Skype for a church in the Philippines. How did they find our church? Through our church’s website and sermon podcast. Pretty amazing!
Published May 15, 2018