For many people, church is a place of not only faith and worship, but also community. Coming together with people who share your values and ideas is a calming and reassuring refuge in what can be a trying world. But, what if someone can’t make it to church, like the elderly or immobile? What about members who travel a lot but want to be a part of the church experience week after week? How can you reach all of these people with your message?
One of the most straightforward ways to achieve outreach and connection is through sermons. Sermons are an excellent opportunity to reach the hearts and minds of people using the power of voice. They are also one of the easiest things you can record and offer through your church website.
Making your sermons available online is a great way to not only meet the needs of your members who can’t attend services, but you can also increase your church’s potential outreach significantly. The Internet can spread your church’s message into the world and cross unimaginable boundaries. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your sermons were heard in other countries? How about reaching just one person you would otherwise never have a chance to share God’s good news with? Online sermons make it possible.
Recording a sermon can be as complex as using a sound board, recorder, and sound technician, or as simple as placing a digital recorder or smartphone somewhere near the speaker. The soundboard and recorder option returns the best results, but it could be a financial and technological step your church is not ready to take. Using a digital recorder with a USB connector or smartphone is quick and easy, but you won’t get the most professional sounding audio. Whatever process you choose, make sure that the recording is clear and loud enough for people of varying hearing capabilities to understand it.
Once you have a satisfactory recording of the sermon or message, you can upload it to a website that hosts the files for you. This can be your very own church website or an auxiliary website that specializes in hosting audio files. Contact your church’s webhost to see if hosting your audio files on your website would increase your monthly payment/fees. If you are interested in hosting your audio files somewhere besides your website, you can try one of the sites listed in the Resources section.
Once you decide how you are going to host your audio files, provide links to them on your website. People should be able to download or stream your sermons easily using a computer, tablet, or personal media player.
Video and Streaming
If you want more than audio, you can offer a video stream in real-time or record your sermons to post on the Internet later. People can then watch the sermon live or select an archived sermon to watch on their computer, tablet, or streaming media device. This might make people feel like they are more in touch with the church since they can see who is speaking.
If you opt for this process, making a professional looking video requires some extra equipment. You will need to think about things like HD cameras or a good webcam, computer (for streaming), audio equipment, a reliable Internet connection, and a streaming provider. Streaming video is a good option if your focus is to make people feel like they are attending services by viewing them the same time it is happening. You will also need to have someone who can connect the video and audio to a computer and connect the computer to your streaming service provider. If you record the video to put online later, you could go a somewhat cheaper route and use a newer smartphone as your camera, then another smartphone near the speaker to record the sound. You will want to have someone who knows how to use video editing software and someone who has experience working with matching audio and video together. Nothing makes a video seem more unprofessional than audio and video that does not synch up.
These are just a couple of the ways you can put your ministry out there on the Internet. With some planning and a little bit of tech, you can offer your members the opportunity to take part in your ministry from the comfort of their home, in the car, or during a workout. Not only will this be a boon for members, but non-members can listen to or view your recordings. This gives you another chance to reach someone with your church’s message.
Hosting Solution Resources:
We’ve just scratched the surface on this topic so make sure you do continue to explore best practices for sharing audio or video on your website. This includes understanding how copyright laws affect any songs, images, movie clips, etc. that you use during services.