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Podcasting Your Sermons and Bible Classes

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Today's podcast offers up a big ol' contradiction. The topic is "How to podcast your sermon or bible class", yet we spend tons of time telling you why sermon and bible class podcasts aren't very effective. I know, I know...so why try?

We like to call sermon podcasts "The Starting Line" for churches. You MUST podcast your sermons because people expect it and it's good for your members. So, if we must do it, yet it's a fairly ineffective endeavor, let's figure out how to make it better, shall we?

So, in this episode, we spend lots of time talking about how to make a dual-use message more effective as a podcast recording. We talk about tailoring it for the web, recording the highest quality signal, and what you can do to deliver the message in the most effective way possible. We wrap up the episode by talking about some how's of recording, and push the countryman E6 microphone in a way that makes you think get a cut of every sale (we don't, I promise).

But, before all this, MF issues a challenge to all our listeners...check out his post for more information.

Innovating Tomorrow

Love the site. The whole idea is great and the site is super easy on the eyes to read and well laid out. Very cool. Good job on this!

One of my top GG episodes

This cast rocked! Definitely on my list of one of the top GG casts. I have to pass this one off to my pastor. Some great content in this episode and really makes one critique their site and see some of the errors that are being made and to look at the online ministry from more a perspective of the viewer or listener.

Sorry for the quality

....too bad our audio quality sucked :)

We've got some new mics and next weeks quality should go up a couple notches...sorry it's gotten kinda bad the last little while. Time to work on fixing that....

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

Perfectionist I think

You may just be a perfectionist. I couldn't even tell it was poor audio. Sounded great to me. Dont be so hard on yourself. Your bad days are like the days I wish I had all the time :)

Glad to hear

Well, I'm glad to hear it's not very noticable. MF (who is in no danger of being an audio snob) has been telling me about the problem for weeks, but I haven't really dug in to fix it...regardless, next week should be a step up.

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

E6 mic?

Great content, guys, but I want to give my 2 cents about the E6 mic. It's a good quality mic element, but the single ear design has, in my experience, left many a pastor with a flopping microphone.

I'm a much bigger fan of the DPA dual-ear headset mics (especially the 4088 series (in three color choices)). Good stuff, never moves.

FWIW and YMMV,

Anthony

E6 mic

We own two of these, and I will say that if not used correctly, they can move on you. But if you use them right, they are the better mic. And the two ear models can be less invisible.

We typically will put a tiny piece of transparent skin tape behind the ear to hold everything down. This makes it solid for those who aren't used to using it.

The two ear model looks really bad on bald people, which there are a ton of these days...

Chordinator

www.calvarycolorado.org

"Good enough for Church"

I am currently struggling with trying to internally balance utilizing technology for the enhancement of teaching and preaching with what our congregation would actually use. I love the thought of applying new technology to further the word of God, but at the same time, if most of our congregation aren't adept at using new technology, then the question becomes; is my time spent researching and trying to implement new technology wasted? Is what we are currently doing "Good enough for us?" - That drives me nuts.

Excellent Thoughts....

First, Bruce I want to encourage you....don't get discouraged. God works in different places in different ways and we're all along for the ride.

What you bring up here is a VERY real issue that many churches deal with. We have a passion to move technology forward but the people aren't ready for it. To this I say: It's more important to connect with people than to move technology forward.

HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we give up or don't move slowly in that direction. I think there are always little things that can be done to inch along at a pace people can keep up with. Maybe it's redesigning the website to a slightly newer style, maybe it's hooking up a computer and starting to record the sermons....it could be any number of little things that just take the first step. It doesn't have to be knock-your-socks-off strides in technology, just a little at a time is better than being stagnant.

AND, I'd like to point out what you're dealing with here is more noble than "good enough for church". To me, that phrase means doing something because you have to, and not really caring about the quality. That's different than staying in touch with your congregation and not implementing technologies that wouldn't benefit ministries.

Hang in there Bruce...you're definitely not alone in this...

Anyone have ideas on how Bruce could move technology forward in a very small subtle way that would help his church take a first step into the future?

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

Good question

This is a tough question to ask. Where is the congregation at and how to best reach them there.

A bit of this new technology is definitely for geeks and for younger people. But, how much of it? Take for example the current poll running on problogger.net. It's asking how old the bloggers are who read the site. The category that tops this is 31-40 year olds followed by 21-25 year olds. What surprised me is that it's reporting there are about as many 51-60 year olds as 16-20 year olds. Or, even check out the Comscore information on the age ranges of podcast listeners. 23% of podcast listeners are 45-54 years old.

What I'm getting at is that there are more boomers and even older online than we typically suspect. So, it's something to think about.

But, that's not what we mean by 'Good Enough For Church'. What we mean is than when we use technology we don't use it well. When we buy it we buy the low quality. When we do things with technology we do it piss poor. This is not to say that it's not smart to think about where you use it.

An example is when we present something on screen, like a presentation. Many churches do this during services to put the song lyrics on the screen or during bible studies to add value. Yet, just like many in the business world, they fail to do it well. The presentations put people to sleep. The projected lyrics aren't well readable, or is just looks bad. That is 'Good Enough For Church'.

Doing what we could or should in this instance would be to make what's put on the screen readable to the elderly or vision impaired. When the presentations are used in a bible study using good presentation style, tips, and tricks makes a difference and should be done.

And, then there is the equipment. I'm currently stuck with 'Good Enough For Church' in a video study we are doing. I'm using an old projector that doesn't do the colors justice. It's old, been dropped a few to many times, and is past it's last legs. A new projector would make a world of difference in the presentation. But, often 'Good Enough For Church' is using old stuff that is handed down. It's not the first fruits. It's the core of the apple no one wants to eat.

Does this make sense? You are very right to question where you use technology and to do it wisely.

One thing I would ask is that you see where using it's appropriate. According to research from Barna, over 90% of pastors are out of touch with their congregations. So, I hope all pastors really get in touch with where their congregations really are at before they make major technical decisions. This is no easy task.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

eBible.com

Hey Guys,
Great podcast. I'm really enjoying this series.
You commented about what you would like in a Bible site, well I've been using eBible.com and they have most of the features you mentioned. Bookmarking, favorites, groups for your church, etc.

http://www.eBible.com/

Will

clunky interface

I do like the direction they are going. There are some sweet features and a slick. But, I've had a bunch of issues with it. The biggest issue was text being out of place. It was offset wrong and over the background.

I think this has to do with javascript and css. I wonder how many environments they test it in?

And, this doesn't solve that the big players in the game are behind. ebible.com is the new kid on the block. I hope they pick up some traction. The old dogs need to learn some new tricks.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

podcast appeal - video & photos make a difference.

When I got tagged to help my church implement podcasts I checked out what others in my denomination and churches in general were doing and kinda updated my understanding the landscape. Eventually I found my way here. I visited a lot of places, but only a couple had enough enduring appeal to keep me coming back or at least checking on a regular basis.

The only church podcast I go back to regularly .... isn't audio. It's a vidcast and part of that congregations mission to connect to folks in areas too isolated to form a full congregation. I don't know that the content is any better than average, though I suspect it is, but its much more "consumable". Point being, images and video makes a big difference and really transforms the listening experience. For our church audio podcast I make sure both the feed and the MP3 file include include an album art image and a decent text intros and identification. I also like to post a photo of the sermon speaker, ideally a good quality one taken in the context of the event or topic. We also tag on sermon specific intro's and outro's ( ... I personally find them irritating and time consuming, but the majority of first time listeners seem to like).

Mark

Mark

Improving Sermon Podcasts by Improving Live Sound

Great episode as usual, guys. You mentioned is that sometimes sermon recordings don't sound so great because the system has to be set for live sound. Some times there are improvements that can be made there that will help the recordings as well.

My wife works for a small church, and I met recently with their worship elder to discuss their needs for a new mixer. They just have a simple low end portable PA stuffed in a cabinet, but after fifteen minutes of tweaking the EQ, fixing the padding on the mic channel, and demonstrating good mic placement, we agreed that they don't really need a new sound system. They just need to train their sound guy a little more.

And we've got someone coming in to our church tonight to help us decide if we need to upgrade some things, or just learn our craft a little better to improve areas where our sound isn't as good as we'd like it to be.

It goes back to what Matt has been saying about "good enough for church." Whether you have a rock-concert mega-church or a little PA in the corner, treating live sound as a ministry unto the Lord rather than a nuisance can really pay off.

Sometimes the room requires nasty EQ adjustments, and Rob also talked about splitting the mic signal to two mixers for this. If your board has an extra channel, you can take the effects send from the mic input channel and jump it over to the return on the spare channel. Run the first channel to the house normally. EQ the second channel for recording and send it to an aux output as described in the podcast.

There are mics out there that are comparable to the Countryman E6 but they hook over both ears. I'm pretty sure the one I've seen and heard is the DPA 4066-F. They look and sound just like the E6, but are much more steady. (They also cost about twice as much, unfortunately.)

For any of these small headworn mics, make sure to get one that is darker than the skin tones of the person who will most often use it. Even the black ones are hardly noticeable from a distance. Think about iPod ear buds for a minute and you'll understand why.

Micah

Good Calls

Micah,

Those are some good calls. Skin tone is not something I had thought of before.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Anyone tried the Provider Series PSM1?

Cleaning out some old email, I found an ad forwarded to me about the Provider Series PSM1. This is another ultra-small over-both-ears headworn mic, and it's priced competitively with the Countryman E6. Other than the forwarded ad, I don't know anything about them, and most of what I can find online looks like standard press release stuff.

Has anyone here tried these mics, and what do you think if you have?

Micah

PROVIDER SERIES PSM1

hey..came across your blurp about the psm1 mic. I recently bought one from ProAudio.com and I love it. Makes the E6 look like a toy.

orgainizing

Another great podcast. Your time off seems to have really renewed you!

Regarding tagging to help organize the sermon podcasts - here's what we do.

In the MP3 files themselves we put the scripture text and series name in the ID3 tags.

The sermons page ( http://www.gracecommunity.ws/messagelist ) has exposed filters for Speaker and Series.

Above that we also have images for some of the recent series we have done.

If you click one of of those it goes to a page for that series (actually a CCK type) with not only those messages, but recommended resources, photos, and a place to comment on the series.

The sermons are actually one of the most-used part of the site - so what I'd like to see is each of these message series pages become a place where they can come an discuss the impact of the message.

But I am still working on convincing the pastors that this(comments) is a good thing - so that they can be advertised and draw people in to them.

Allowing comments gets back

Allowing comments gets back to recognizing differences and adapting to them. Why "vision" or "purpose" your sermon podcast solely as recreations of the church service. If you understand the differences you can find both things that lessen what is lost from service and also gains advantages you do not have at service.

Regarding comments....
I'm interested in the potential of comments and community discussion and what it can do to broaden the experiences of religious communities. I recognize that participation changes the nature of the web experience and that it holds the potential for deepening the experience for many.

Ministers (and others) however will usually be extremely concerned about allowing discussions they are not able to guide or be present to mediate. IMHO it's not just a web thing on their part. I see the same concern running through throughout community shepherding or "management".

It's a control thing and you can argue good or bad about it. But, many people seek or select churches to find comforting community, a place of understanding and shelter. Ministers are usually pretty good at promoting that type of environment. But...free internet discussion... especially to those not adjusted to its nature, often strains or steps beyond what many will people find acceptable.

Since the viability and health of the community depends on generally staying within perceived "community safe" limits, it's a concern tech people need to understand.

Mark

Mark

control vs. responsibility?

It's tempting to see it as just a control thing, but if I think of the responsibility that the bible puts on pastors, it helps me to understand their hesitation I think.

They are responsible to God - and held to a much higher standard - for the spiritual health of the people God has brought under their care.

So if there are discussion comments going on by people they are responsible for, and they are not able to care for them in that - then they may have to answer to God for how they did not guide or protect their church. A very sobering thought.

I think if they could have a way and time to monitor/guide the discussions in a responsible way - that would help them to fullfill their God-given responsibility.

But usually that time element is very hard to come by ....

control and responsibility in comments

I think this has a bunch of angles to it, some modern culture, and a lot of baggage.

Most churches have pastors in a place where presentation is very controlled. Hours get spent putting together the teaching we spend a short time on Sunday mornings. It's very controlled.

On the flip side comments are not controlled. And, not only are they not controlled, they are out there for the whole world to see and for people to criticize them on.

No, pastors do have a great responsibility. But, how should they enact that responsibility? We have new tools, new opportunities, and new avenues open to us. How do those mesh together? This is the question at hand. How to have them work together to be effective for ministry. Before we can ask them to deal with comments on their sites we have to solve this problem and show the value added.

On the flip side it's not just pastors who bear the responsibility. We are all 'priests' in a sense. Maybe not in title or in some form of education. But, in the mission we are called to do it is the same. So, pastors aren't the only ones who bear the burden of continuing the conversation on a website. Others can and should be involved in this. Sure, they need some training. Sure, they need some experience.

This issue is complex. Mostly in the fears that need to be dealt with and the social architecture that needs to be put in place to handle the comments in a responsible manner.

Something to blog about I think.....

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.innovatingtomorrow.net
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Blog on!

Definitely good food for a blog post. Looking forward to it.

IMO I think comments would fall into the same category as casual conversation that might take place in the church building - with the slight difference that someone in China can listen in :)

They are not something that should be controlled, but they will have an impact on those listening - and if they take place on the church website - then the church gets associated.

This can be excellent - for others to see honest thoughts from Christians - but it can also be ugly - because we are sinners too. Something about the anonymity of the internet can amplify the "from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" affect.

We have a future pastor (in Pastor's college now) who has been active on many forums, and has been a spokesman for Homeland Security - it will be interesting to see what perspective he brings to this when he gets back.

Sermon podcast from cassette or CD

Our organization handles the podcasting of sermons for churches. Although podcasting can be done essentially for free by those who follow technically-savvy instructions, we have found that most churches need help getting started. We are currently and temporarily offering to set up the first podcast for free if a cassette or CD is sent to us. We will convert the tape or CD to an MP3, using Pro Tools and a professional recording studio which will optimize the sound quality. We then set up the podcast and provide a homepage on our website for church members and websites to link for getting the podcast and also accessing the sermon archives. Churches then simply send a tape or CD to us each week, and we charge $20 per submission. It normally takes less than 2 days to have the sermon converted to podcast and upcated.

We also offer advice to churches on their specific issues in recording the podcast, and we can help even if the sermons are preached without microphones or PA systems. We can also work with the church webmasters to allow the church website to display the podcast feed through html or a widget.

Please visit our website for more information: Http://www.pulpitpodcast.org

Sermons on the Web

I happened across this podcast by accident, but thought I'd mention that there is a free, open source, application available design to minimize the effort for a church to host sermons on its own web site:

http://sermonsontheweb.sourceforge.net/