Anyone in ministry spends time and energy researching the best forms of communication. From the beginning, we see this trend in the Christian church. Some scholars think the letters of Paul were the first widespread use of leaves of pages (instead of papyrus or scroll) being used for permanent communication, the development of the printing press energized the reformation and John Wesley took advantage of cheap printing and the popularity of leaflets to resource and educate the growing Methodist revival. Closer to our own time, the 20th century found churches and preachers utilizing radio and later television to spread the gospel. Also, many preachers quickly grabbed the idea of using powerpoint presentations to provide visual illustration and aid in listening during sermons.
The church has always been in lockstep with communication technology.
Why Pastors Should Podcast
It is no secret I am a fan of podcasting. I produce and host two shows currently, The Productive Pastor and The Threshing Floor. In addition to this, I listen to around 10-15 podcasts regularly. I believe in the medium.
I think podcastings greatest use in ministry is yet to come. The church is just now beginning to understand the power of podcasting and the benefits it gives.
For many churches, the first foray into podcasting is sermon audio. It makes sense. The success of tape and CD ministries in the past make using podcast technology for sermons a no-brainer. The Sunday sermon is tailor-made, perfect content for a podcast. It is updated weekly (sometimes more) and people want to listen to it. It is content made once and delivered (on-demand) for the future. As long as you leave it posted! But we need to open our minds a little.
If we are only using podcast and RSS enclosure technology for sermons, we are missing a HUGE tool.
What other content does your church have (or you personally) that can fit the format?
What about Bible studies and classes?
Listen to this scenario. Someone teaches a Bible study with 4 meetings. The study is over. A few months in the future, several people regret not being part of the class. The teacher (and the group) have already moved to a different book, so it wouldn’t be possible to repeat the lessons. If you had recorded them and uploaded them as a podcast, anyone can always go back and utilize the resource.*
Think about how podcasting can be used to communicate many different things about your ministry.
What if you could consistently record 2 minute vision moments? If you live in an urban commuter environment, you could do a 10 minute synopsis of the sermon every Monday. Do you struggle with multiple announcements? Put them in a podcast! Are you trying to build a unique culture with your church? Check out group podcasts (the Relevant podcast is a great one) to see how you can build internal and external culture with a running conversation between 4-5 people.
You could open up a running conversation about leadership and answering other life issues. This could be specific to your community. Think of the topics which would never really work in a Sunday setting or other class, but you could totally have a conversation about for 15 minutes.
The possibilities are endless for using podcasts in local churches. Podcasting is inexpensive (it can be free) and offers a great return on investment. It is the field preaching of the 21st century!
So here is my question…How can you use a podcast in your church?