The following is a guest blog post from one of my sponsors (on the right): Brad Hill of SiteOrganic. Be sure to click on their ad and check out what they’re doing. Below is the guest blog:
Have you ever wondered if Jesus considered the distribution of His words, as much as the words themselves? I think it’s pretty clear that He did. During His earthly ministry, He spent time dispensing Truth, exposing falsehood, and demonstrating love. Along the way, He chose his audience and forum carefully. Those who saw and heard Him were blessed (John 20:29), but those people, in turn, perpetuated a viral firestorm that spread throughout the world and continues to this day.
If Jesus were walking the earth today, I think he would have a Website. It’s kind of fun to dream about what he’d do with it (music playing on the home page? Popup ads? Big photos of the disciples? I think not…) One thing is for sure. He would be using it–along with every other available means available–to spread His message.
You and I are the Church, and Jesus left us with the task to teach others about Him (Matthew 28:16-20). We should be doing everything possible towards that end, using the technology available to us. Assuming that you are preaching the unadulterated Truth from your pulpit, then you should be using online tools to spread that Truth to the ends of the earth!
If you have a Website for your church, Here are 10 suggestions on how to improve and enhance your sermon audio or video content. Read this as a quiz and see how you would score your church Website:
1. Add scripture references to every sermon.
2. Organize your sermons by date. Covenant Life Church does a great job of this (click on the date tab): http://www.covlife.org/resources.
3. If you preach sermons as part of multi-week series, then be sure that your visitors can find the series easily. I suggest creating a landing page for each sermons series. Mars Hill has a good example: http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/trial/preview.
4. Don’t charge money to hear your sermons online. Give them away to all that will listen! (You don’t charge admission to attend your services do you?)
5. Use the MP3 format for audio, as opposed to Windows Media, Quicktime or another proprietary standard. This ensures the broadest possible compatibility.
6. Provide an easy way for people to share the sermon with others (Email, Facebook, Twitter)
7. Write a synopsis of every message, to make it easy for people to understand the “big idea” inside each presentation.
8. Include every sermon in your podcast, no later than Monday lunchtime. Traffic logs consistently show that sermon content is in greatest demand the day after the service.
9. Provide links to documents and supporting materials. For example, any outlines, notes, or other resources should be included as part of the online sermon experience. This is especially true if you provided these resources to people who were sitting in the room when you recorded the sermon. Treat your online visitors like first-class citizens and give them the same resources!
10. Every sermon should be searchable (your site does have a search feature, right?). When someone on your home page is searching for “prayer”, “marriage”, “Jesus”, or “end times”, your sermons should appear in the results right alongside your other resources. With good keywords in place, you’re more likely to provide the right message at the right time, right when a person needs to hear a certain message.
Extra credit: Provide a transcript or manuscript of your sermons. These serve both as an aide to the hearing-impaired, and also a great tool for discussion group and small group leaders who want to build on the content of the sermon.
So how did you do? Think about how you might be able to build or improve your own church’s media archive this Fall, and take advantage of the amazing tools available to you. Heaven knows, people need to hear the Truth via any method possible.
Brad Hill is founder and President of SiteOrganic. As one of the leading providers of online ministry tools, they design some amazing sites for churches around the country. Their heart really is all about helping ministries reach more people online for Christ. In addition to their portfolio of easy site management tools, SiteOrganic has a brand new media sharing system called Media Suite 2.0. If Brad’s post got you thinking about how to improve your sermon archives, then definitely check out http://www.siteorganic.com/media2 and give him a call!