Many churches face the challenge of using the Internet to help spread their message, not to mention the struggle of how to embrace technology as a whole. "How do we reach an audience outside of the sanctuary?" is a very common question posed by those in ministry. One of the most common ways to utilize the Internet better is to post the weekly messages online. By posting sermons online, this gives people an initial way to connect with the ministry. Here are some of the most common ways churches have been succeeding in putting their messages online.
Services like LiveStream.com, YouTube.com, Facebook.com and other similar services make it amazingly easy to live stream sermons.The point is that you make it easier for people at home—whether from not being in service, or those who are not a part of your church—to stay connected.
Whatever option you use to live stream your service, remember that it has recording capability (more on that in a moment). To do this, however, means you would need a very fast and reliable Internet connection (it is recommended that upload and download feeds have at least 20MB in both directions, if not more) and the equipment (camera, lighting, sound gear, etc.) that will ensure your streams are high quality and accessible.
Once you have your live stream or sermon recorded and downloaded, you can then have an audio/video expert convert that MP4 (video) file to MP3 (audio). Having an audio file allows you to then take those files (audio and video) and place them on additional platforms like podcasts and Facebook and YouTube if you didn’t live stream to those services originally.
ProTip: Take recordings you have made of full sermons or other content, and build a robust YouTube library of them. Why? YouTube has an enormous audience, and it uses a search engine that can bring up your videos whenever someone types in the relevant tags or keywords. Be aware that music is not always a good idea because of copyright issues. It might be best to avoid music in any online messages to avoid problems.
When you have MP3 files you have the basis for a podcast. If you don't know about podcasts, they are hugely popular (similar to radio shows) and easy to create. Once you have your podcast set up connect that new podcast to Google Play and iTunes, where people go to find and subscribe to podcasts. People can follow what your church is doing and share podcasts with others. Sites for setting up a Podcast include Soundcloud.com and Podbean.com.
Sharing video or audio clips to social media enables people to not only see and experience that snippet, but they can also share them with others. This helps your church reach your main audience (the congregation), but also a potentially broader audience, too.
If your church has a good writer willing to help, they can condense the pastor's message into a blog for posting. Using the right keywords and text, they can also embed the links to the video and audio files, and help spread the word. Even the blog can be shared on social media! Sites that you can post your blog on include Medium.com, Facebook Notes, and Linkedin.
Your website can be a great place to store your past sermons. When you share the blog articles, video, or audio files, having them hosted on your website means that you’re always pointing potential traffic back to your website. That allows people to hear more of what they were expecting, but also gives them the opportunity to then learn more about your church.
Put your message out there in as many ways as possible. People look for information in so many ways, so it is important that you hit all of the major sites and spots so your audience finds you and can then continue to tune in and hear what you are saying and doing.
Church Juice provides congregations with free resources, articles, and opportunities for training and consulting on church communications. Church Juice is a ministry of Back to God Ministries International, the media mission of the CRCNA.