There is an explosion happening to how people consume content. Many people’s commutes, exercise sessions, and grass mowing is accompanied by audio in the form of podcasts. As an avid podcast listener and on-and-off-again podcaster, I know the power of podcasting. But what used to be something people were unfamiliar with has now become a thing that people know very well.
Odds are, there are people in your church who are listening to podcasts every day of the week. More and more people are trading in music in their cars for their favorite podcast. They are using it as a source of entertainment and education. Many keep up with the news and sports through podcasts. Whatever someone’s interest, there is probably a podcast for that.
In just the last four years, the percentage of adults who listen to podcasts has doubled from 12% to 24% and those numbers are going to continue to rise.
If you’re of the mindset that the Church should go to where the people are, then the podcast explosion is something to pay attention to and maybe even something to take action on.
Take a look at the infographic below (from Concordia University – St. Paul), then we’ll dive into what this could mean for our churches moving forward.
The Podcast Explosion Infographic
3 Considerations for the Church in Light of the Podcast Explosion
1. Start or Optimize Your Church’s Sermon Podcast
The most basic piece to a podcast is an mp3 file of the audio content. If your church has a sound board, you have the ability to record the audio that runs through the board. You’ll need to get your sound team on this to see what setup your board will need to do this best.
Once you have the mp3 file, you’ll need to get that on a feed that will point to iTunes, Stitcher and the other major podcasting platforms.
Here’s a good guide on how to start your church podcast.
Once your podcast is up (or if it is already), you can do some things to optimize it. Here are a couple ideas:
- Record four different opening greetings to add to the beginning of your sermon podcasts – get four different people to do these to really mix it up. Rotate these throughout each month. Here are some things you could cover:
- Welcome your listeners to the podcast – treat it as its own space because it is.
- Invite them to your church if they are in the area and encourage them to attend a local church if they’re listening from outside your area.
- Invite them to engage with the church on social media or to visit your website.
- Ask your sound team to optimize the sound of the audio file to eliminate feedback – this may need to be done in the audio mix before it is recorded. Mobilize them and encourage them to learn what they don’t know.
By the way, there’s a new podcast platform for podcast creators called, Anchor.fm. It is literally the easiest way to start, distribute, and manage a podcast.
Anchor is also a great tool for the next consideration…
2. Add Additional Content to Your Church’s Podcast or Start a Separate Podcast
You might have noticed that the vast majority of podcast consumers are Millennials and Gen Zers. If you want to reach them, go to them.
In addition to putting your sermons in podcast form, I’d encourage you to give strong consideration to starting your own podcast or talking with your leaders and putting together an additional podcast from your church. You could also add the additional content to the same feed as your sermons.
Again, a great tool to do this with is Anchor because it allows you to record good quality audio via your smartphone. So don’t worry, your budget doesn’t have to break or even be affected to make this happen. You can even record with up to 8 people through the Anchor app.
The main decision here, though, beyond should we do this? is what would we talk about?
What I recommend is to get a few of your small group leaders and/or Sunday school teachers in the room along with a couple Millennials and a couple Gen Zers who are not in a teaching or leadership role. Tell them about the idea of additional podcast content and begin brainstorming on what topics would be good to cover.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Ask the Pastor – let people ask questions then prepare a monologue or a dialogue with someone else where the question is addressed.
- Important Ideas – teach short lessons on various Christian doctrines.
- Marriage Tips – interview married couples in your church and ask them various questions on marriage. Let them teach through their answers instead of a prepared script or lesson.
- Purposeful Work – dive deep into how God looks at our work and how it is an avenue of worship. You could also interview people in your congregation on how they see their work as an act of worship for God’s glory.
3. Talk About Your Church’s Podcast(s)
For those who already listen to podcasts, do they know that the church has a podcast? If the podcast is never talked about, how will they know?
If you decide to start a new podcast, be intentional with the launch of it. Take your time, talk about it before it’s up, and then make sure you put every communication channel and fuel your church has behind it to spread the word once it’s up.
Make your podcast(s) part of your regular church communications. In addition to encouraging people to connect with the church on social media, encourage them to connect through their favorite podcasting app.
And to help people understand what a podcast is, utilize your church’s Facebook page by going live and talking about it. Then encourage your congregation to share the podcast with their friends and family.
A Final Word
The way people are choosing to learn is changing dramatically. Audio books and podcasts are growing in popularity and are becoming more mainstream. We can either watch from a distance as this happens or we can experiment and jump in.
Podcasting is just another avenue and method to communicate the good news and how to live the Christian life. It’s just a tool. But it’s a tool all churches should strongly consider leveraging for the glory of God.
Brandon Kelley is a pastor at The Crossing on the east side of Cincinnati. He is the managing editor of Ministry Pass, co-founder of RookiePreacher.com, and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons. You can connect with him on Twitter @BrandonKelley_.