I recently wrote a post about the importance of short podcasts for churches including some ideas on how you could start producing short-form audio content. I didn’t, however, mention how you could create a short podcast for your church. Enter, Anchor.
Churches have been ahead of the trend in sharing audio content online as they had a clear and obvious piece of content to share that was easier to implement than many other industries. However, with the success of podcast like serial in 2014 and other podcasts since, there has been a growth and evolution of online audio. One of these key changes is the growth in short form audio content instead of longer content.
This is one the areas that Gary Vaynerchuk highlights in his recent book Crushing It! The rise has been attributed to the growth in smart speakers like the Google Home and Amazon Echo as well as changing habits of discovering the news.
The vast majority of sermons don’t fit this description, but there are other simple ideas that your church could use short form audio for.
Instead of having announcements during a service, you can put out a short form podcast with this week’s announcements and encourage people to subscribe. You can then share a link on social media channels.
Get your church reading the bible together by sharing a bible reading over audio. Get one of your church staff or volunteers to read out a section of the bible. It can be followed up with some questions.
To some people, this might not seem that different from the last point, but to me they are. Bible reading is just the activity of reading the bible and can be followed by study and reflection. Devotionals are
4. Key Quotes or Extracts from the Weekly Sermon
There might be a quote or summing up moment from this week’s sermon that you can put out on its own. It’s great if this works on its own but also useful to entice people to listen to the full sermon.
5. Study or Application Questions from the Sermon
This might apply to the last point and the following idea but it can be treated differently as well. After the sermon, you can record some study or application questions to share. You might also want to give some example answers to help people work out how to apply the sermon to their lives.
6. Q and A
This one isn’t just about putting out something, but getting input and listening as well. Put out the call for questions and then get your pastor or one of your church members to answer them. This can be done after a church service to react to the sermon, or with no specific connect.
7. Staff Interviews
Interviews are a great way to get to know people better and build stronger bonds. By interviewing staff members, you congregation can learn more about the people who help keep the church running. You can also have a collection of testimonies that are great for non-Christians to listen to.
8. Volunteer Interviews
Like staff interview, you can interview volunteers. However, this can also serve as a way to help people learn about the different activities the church does and invite more people to get involved.
9. Ministry Spotlight
Instead of an interview, you could highlight a ministry within the church. Get the ministry team to describe the ministry, share updates, challenges, prayer requests and answers.
10. Niche Teachings
One of the challenges of the Sunday sermon is that it is often for everyone, but we don’t all have the same needs. Using short form audio you can share shorter teachings for specific groups in the church or people with specific needs.
11. Sermon Preview
The reverse of sharing something after the sermon, share about the sermon before hand so the congregation can engage with the topic better. You can share the verses to read, questions to reflect on and more.
12. Prayer Request and Answer
I firmly believe Prayer is important and I’m sure I don’t give it the importance it needs. This idea might help a bit. Sharing people’s prayer request from inside the church is a great way to get people praying more. Likewise, share answered prayers to encourage the church.
With more tools like facebook audio live and anchor helping to make sharing short form audio easier, now is the perfect time to try. But the ideas above are just a quick list of ideas that you can play around with. If you have your own idea or you have started sharing other short form audio, then please leave a comment below so the whole community can benefit.
If you are like me, you probably wonder how audiobooks get recorded. Vox has done an investigative video on the process, which is probably a lot more detailed than you think.
Remember, they are recording hours, sometimes as high as 20-30 hours per book. They need to make this efficient. Further, reading the text in a monotone voice does nothing for audiobook sales, so inflection is important, which means you need to know the context of the whole section you are reading. Even more, if you do characters with different tones across a whole series, you’ll need to remember their weird names and intentional inflections.
Audio and lighting are important with vlogging. My lighting game, good. But the audio is time to be upgraded.
If you are interested, here is the specific microphone I got: Rode VideoMic with Fuzzy Windjammer Kit
It’s not cheap, $150 shotgun microphone. But I’d honestly rather pay the extra money to get a quality microphone. What makes this one better?
There are some constraints around the iPad that make it harder to do certain tasks (Just as you could argue that a PC or laptop has constraints with their keyboards and OS decisions). For some people this makes them an unsuitable choice, for others, it provides a fun challenge to get around these issues, but I suspect many people think that the iPad (or other tablets for that matter) aren’t suitable for them, and the never check if it is. One of these tasks might be recording a podcast via an online chat. Something which is pretty easy on a windows machine, not impossible on a mac, but very difficult on a mobile device.
Luckily, there is a service (and a couple more on the way) which promise to make podcasting on an iPad (AND on a desktop) easier for everyone, regardless of what device they use. Recently I tested RINGR when I recorded the ChurchMag podcast episode with Mike Rhode so I’m going to look at that.
James Wasem is an expert audio engineer with a knack for explaining complex concepts and a desire to help the church with one of its most persistent areas of conflict: sound.
You might remember James from a past episode of the ChurchMag Podcast in which we talked about his book and why he is just so darn awesome. It’s a good time; you should have a listen.
But for now, let’s review Great Church Sound.