Share Your Sermons With The World
By Robert Foster
What Is A Podcast?
The word podcast is a combination of the words iPod and broadcast. Podcasting is a way of publishing audio or video files to the web by utilizing a technology called RSS (Really Simple Syndication). Podcasts can contain a variety of content, such as stories, news items, sermons, interviews, music, etc.
One thing that makes podcasting so popular with listeners is that it is convenient for them. Listeners subscribe to a podcast, and instead of them having to return to a web page to download the latest program, it is automatically delivered to them. Unlike radio, subscribers can then listen to the podcast at their leisure. The ease and convenience of this automatic delivery to the listener is powerful.
Once a podcast is downloaded, subscribers do not have to have an iPod or another MP3 player to listen to it. They can simply use free software, such as iTunes, to listen on their computer. They can even burn the file to a CD and share it with others.
So How Can You Podcast Your Sermons?
There are many resources on the Internet to help you better understand how to use this amazing technology, but here’s a simple how-to guide to one method of podcasting audio sermons.
To create a podcast, begin by recording your sermon to a computer hard drive or CD. Then take the digital file and convert it from its current format to an MP3. You can do this with various applications, but one of the most frequently used programs is iTunes. This software is free and can be downloaded at www.apple.com/itunes/download. Once the software is installed on your computer, just import the sermon file into iTunes.
After importing the file into iTunes, name the message, add the speaker’s name, and choose “spoken word” for the EQ settings. You have the option of adding artwork, such as your church’s logo or the speaker’s picture. The graphics will show up on iTunes when subscribers listen to the message.
You can enhance your podcast by adding music, sound effects, or an introductory or closing “tag” to your sermon. To do this, you will have to use audio editing software like GarageBand for a Mac or Audacity for a PC.
Once you have created your podcast, you will need to upload it to a hosting company, where it is stored on their servers. Some hosting companies, such as libsyn.com or dreamhost.com, specialize in hosting podcasts.
Libsyn.com is an attractive option. It offers unlimited bandwidth, which means that you will never be charged additional fees regardless of how many people download your sermons. Lybsyn.com’s fees start at $5 per month for 100 MB of server space, which provides enough storage space for about three to four sermons per month. If you would like to store two sermons per week (or eight per month), you will need about 250 megabytes of server space, which costs only $10 per month.
After you upload your sermons to the hosting company, you will need a web page where potential listeners can find your podcast and subscribe to it. Both libsyn.com and iTunes provide this page as a part of their services. You, of course, can use a page on your web site for this as well. Many, perhaps most, of your listeners will subscribe to your sermons with iTunes.
What Does Podcasting Mean To Your Church?
Podcasting allows your church to deliver the preached Word of God to the masses without time constraints and regardless of national boundaries. The cost to provide this service to your church is very low compared to other means of delivering the gospel, and the cost to the listener is free.
Family Worship Center, the church I attend, has published more than 160 sermons over the last year and a half and has had almost 30,000 downloads of its podcasts. This means that, while a congregation of approximately 100 hears the sermon the first time, through podcasting an audience over eight times this size could potentially hear the sermon. To accomplish this, our total monthly cost has only been the cost of hosting our files: $20.00, or an average of 65 cents per day!
Get your congregation excited about the possibilities for sharing God’s Word with the world. They will spread the word about your church’s podcast to friends and relatives who are all across North America. Because relatives of our church members serve in our nation’s military, we have been told that some soldiers in Iraq are listening to our podcast.
For just pennies a day, we are helping to fulfill the great commission and to spread a message of hope and truth. Your church can do it too!
This article “Share Your Sermons With The World” by Robert Foster is excerpted from www.coloradodistrict.com