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Church Studio Podcast Theory

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In last weeks episode, we got you all depressed by telling you how ineffective sermon podcasting is. This week, we hope to raise your spirits and inspire you to begin a podcast that can be much more effective: A studio style podcast. We discuss many theories of studio podcasting such as why studio podcasts are good for your memebers and for outreach, what kinds of studio podcasts could you think about doing, and what type of planning should go into a studio podcast.

But we don't stop there...we talk about what kinds of things to look for in a podcast hosting personality, what types of goals you shoud think about in regards to your podcast, and finally, we talk about why it's important that your podcast has a target audience.

Before all that, however, we dive into listener feedback...playing some of your comments that remind us that the G&G listeners are much smarter than the hosts.

Newsletters

You cracked me up with your discussion about newsletters.

Well I'm relieved to hear that I'm not the only one who doesn't read newsletters with any regularity. Most of the active older folks at church seem to manage to read them. Recently I've gotten criticized for missing stuff that was clearly presented in a couple newsletters.

Actually I'm not discriminating information coming from church, I don't regularly look at a physical newspaper, or email newsletters much anymore either. I mainly just scan feeds in an aggregator unless, I'm in a coffee shop or someplace kicking back or killing time. I know that feeds are not the right approach for many or most in our congregation, but for me and I suspect many others, they are a lot more accessible than one of those 12 page newsletters.

I've been talking with my churches office staff recently....
And they were telling me how much of a challenge assembling the newsletter has become. Our church has grown a lot and now there is so much to put in it. It seems to be averaging six pages or so and some weeks it is roughly double that. But..... they've also told me they don't have any events or activity or changing content to put on the website..... Meanwhile I've noticed that the announcement section of our service keeps getting new restrictions applied to it because of the volume of items people want to promote.

I talked to them about this, but it seems like it would require a big shift for them, and they aren't really comfortable with the idea of changing anything soon.

Mark

Mark

Similar Issues

We're dealing with some very similar issues. I'm trying to educate and push using rss feeds, but people just aren't seeming to grasp it or think that it's a good idea. Sigh. We also just started an email newsletter (I know, don't shoot me, Rob :-) Although..check out Campaign Monitor and their blog, because they're really pushing web standards in email newsletters, which is cool) but I still don't think it's as effective as education about RSS could be.

I love the fact that with drupal sites you have built in rss feeds for anything you want. That way, each respective ministry can keep their announcements in their own spot, which is super cool. And people can just sign up to get the announcements they want to get.

www.iamanoffering.com/blog

Drupal feeds

CMS feeds is one of the prime reasons I pushed "so hard" for building our new web presence around Drupal (or a similar CMS). It enables us to move towards that type of thing as soon as people get convinced of the value and familiar with there use. We have some far sighted people who know this type of change is coming even if they are not personally ready for it.

.... and because they don't use it now, and they know the old folks that predominate church community don't use it, and they have their hands full cranking out those monster newsletters....

So maybe around 2010.... In the mean time I'll keep missing stuff tucked away in those monster newsletters that are getting lost in the piles of paper and flood of email (they now offer a huge, non-indexed, PDF copy I can print myself, and then ..... ignore/lose.)

Mark

Mark

Change Management

Change is tough for a lot of people. Not only do you have to do something new but you have to learn something new. Not only do new things go wrong but you have to learn new ways to fix them.
While shiny and new is a draw for some people it's often something scary for others. It takes them out of the comfort and security and knowledge that they have in the current way of doing things.

So, this really isn't a technology issue but one of change management.

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

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

Good show

Great episode, guys...lots of good information.

And for the record, I think both of you are great podcast host personalities.

www.iamanoffering.com/blog

Fewer and better podcasts

Regarding your comment that fewer and better podcasts might be better. I really have to agree.

And although I know it isn't what you were getting at. I think in the long term, this may also be the case for sermon podcasts.

I know its radical, but I really wonder if the locally delivered Sunday sermon itself will be as common in a few generations. Your average weekly -local sermon is pretty lame compared with a pick of the best sermons being podcast...

Of course your religious community still needs other community gathering and bonding ceremony elements and points to gather around. I'm just not sure that the sermon part needs to be, or is even best delivered on the basis of what your a local minister or pastor can come up with for a particular week. I'm pretty confident that weak sermon performances discourages a lot of people from attending church regularly...

My church already uses "pulpit exchanges" to keep the sermons strong. Ministers from other local denominations will visit us and share their strongest sermons while our minister does the same the home church of our visiting minister.

.... I could be totally off on this.... we are such complex social beings. Still the whole podcast discussion this week made it plain that the future landscape of religious communications will likely include many new elements that will compete for inclusion into our communities and our lives.

Mark

Mark

What are sermons for?

I think this gets to the heart of what sermons are for. We have gotten this expectation of fun, flashy, entertaining sermons. Is this what they are supposed to be?

And, we have gotten this impression that a sermon from a pastor in one place works for me, too? Is that really true?

I think this is something we need to consider. Different groups of people go through different parts of the journey of faith at different times and in different ways. How can overarching sermons cover that adequately? How can they have their finger on the pulse of the people to do that?

This is one of the arguments used against mega churches. Though, I'm not trying to argue against them... I'm trying to show this from another angle.

Then, there is the entertaining argument. There is no place in the bible is says to entertain people. In fact, if we make the church about entertainment than that's what it becomes to people. A place of entertainment. Not a place of hope or that is about God and a relationship with Him.

This is one of the arguments I've herd against being centered on entertainment in youth ministry. If it's about entertainment than when they go away after high school they will just flow into something else that's entertaining. And, studies show that 70% of kids who regularly attend leave the church when they leave high school.

So, while I see the desire to have good sermons and there are a number of pastors who need help, I appreciate the other side of the equation and I think we need to consider some other angles.

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

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

Paul the entertainer?

If we look to the Bible for the pattern we are to follow - it is interesting that none of the New Testament church seemed to be focused on the entertaining people. Their focus was on the gospel, communicating it to others and applying it to their lives.

Seems like quite a different focus.

So how does a sermon fulfill those NT goals?
How does a studio podcast?

I think both do, but in very different ways, with different strengths.

Just some food for

Just some food for thought:

If we look at Entertainment as "Innertainment", that puts a different perspective on it. Considering that the definition of entertainment that I know is "capturing and holding a person's attention for an extended period of time", perhaps the meaning of how we leverage things (make them entertaining) is a good thing as a tool for getting people to pay attention. :)

As to the newsletter comments...how about e-newsletters? I know we get a ton of "spam" and this could be viewed as spam, but through a subscription-based e-newsletter we can track click-throughs and see what really interests our target audience.

Just thinkin' out loud...

Anthony D. Coppedge, CTS
Church Media Consultant

WEB: www.anthonycoppedge.com/blogs

"Our consulting firm helped the chicken to not only cross the road, but to change and become more successful in the process."

Anthony D. Coppedge, CTS
Church Media Consultant

WEB: www.anthonycoppedge.com/blogs

"Our consulting firm helped the chicken to not only cross the road, but to change and become more successful in the process."

Entertainment vs Teacihing/Enlightenment

Interesting....
I didn't start this line of discussion even considering "entertainment" value differentials. The ability to hold my interest during a sermon seems more connected with how well the ideas are expressed and connected.

A sermon for me needs to be more than just scripture reading and selection. It's the abiltiy to translate scripture or experience into something that connects the internal, the external and the transcendant.... that is, for me valuable. Of course... skill at holding my attention during the process, and a gift for clarity of expression makes this much easier to accomplish. But it's not primarily about ammusement, excitement, titilation or the church equivalent of an applause line. Sermon's that are popular primarily for those reasons may be popular, but usually not particularly "good".

I consider mass communication of the one-to-a-crowd nature a type of gift. Abilities vary widely even among the well educated and well trained. In addition, if you don't have something particualry revelatory, in-reaching, whatever to express, .... then you can't express it no matter how talented or entertaining you are in the moment. And among the gifted, those that find they are highly gifted on one day, or during one year, may have less of those gifts at a different time.

I don't know if Paul was a lively entertainer, but it seems quite clear his guidance, his teaching, and his inspiration connected with people pretty strongly. It seems to me, Paul became "Paul", because of what he was able to accomplish in relation to the people. ...not simply because he wanted to serve, or was motivated, or was given a pulpit.

I don't believe our current mannerisms for worhip or learning are any more God ordained than were those of previous centuries. They reasonably should be subject to change and adjustment along with our gifts, our needs, our circumstances and our opportunities.

Mark

Mark

God Ordained Worship?

What are the mannerisms of our modern day worship and what was ordained by God in worship? This is a question I'm not qualified to answer but I know we need to ask more often than we do. Worship was ordained by God. God instructed man in how to worship. Sure, there are a lot of variables that are of mans choosing. But, which are they? I think before we make decisions on this we need to be well educated on Gods teachings. Not just moderately but well educated. So, through worship we can honor God the best we can. I'm not opposed to change as long as that change doesn't mess with God ordained parts of worship. If God is perfect than wouldn't that which he ordained be a better way of doing it than we, imperfect beings that we are, could do?

And, this is where my personal concern pops up. I've met a lot of worship leaders who are very good at leading people. They are very good at making services very involving. But, they are making drastic changes from the time tested and aren't really educated on Gods word with regard to this. That's my concern.

The idea of entertaining in worship bothers me. Not for the reason that Anthony points out. When I think of entertaining I see the definition that says, "To hold the attention of with something amusing or diverting." It's that diverting or amusing angle. Diverting from the word and the meaning behind it. It kind of reminds me of those phone calls I get. You can go on this free vacation if you attend a seminar on time shares.

The bible teaches that it's all about relationships with God and with others. That spreading the word is about spreading the word itself. We need to be careful how much we dress it up.

I think there are a lot of valid concern that we, as a church, need to work and think through. Sure, they can slow us down in changing things. But, not all change is good.

Oh, and something that a friend of mine points out regularly. He is a believer in the small church. In the small church where 100 people have a personal pastor. Who can really work with them and their relationship with God. Wouldn't that be great? Where it's not about that cool sermon but that personal relationship.... just to throw another angle at this game.

Stepping off soap box....

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

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

Paul the relater

Something in your last paragraph reminded me of something else I've noticed about Paul's writings. They are always sprinkled with personal references. "greetings to x, to y, to those that meet in z's house. .... Welcome Onesimous.... watch out for aaa ...."

Even though he had planted and guided many, many churches - he communicated at an intensely personal level - not primarily at a one-to-a-crowd level. Much like Jesus.

I wonder how hard he had to fight to keep it that way? What things did he lay out in the churches to keep them that way?

I wonder how we foster that level of communication on the internet - which is inherently using the one-to-a-crowd model?

More stuff to chew on ...

Each Church

You bring up an example that I like. Pauls letters are interesting. What he wrote to each church was different and dealt with what that church was going through at that time.

Not only did he address each church differently but he would start where each church was at and slowly move them to where they needed to be.

On a one to many approach this wouldn't work. Having top preachers that speak a generic message couldn't do that.

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

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

Good point about Paul's commuications

Good point about Paul's commuications. Each local society is unique, and has unique characteristics, challenges and needs. I suspect that was particularly so in Paul's time. Locality was (I suspect, I'm not a scholar) often the most significant differentiator among Christians.

Today, we simultaneously possess many differing societal identies and IMHO we benefit when we reconize this and think and act accordingly. As Christian's have long recognized we share a common humanity across all of existence.

In the past, cultural differences were extreme between regions and long distance communication on the small scale was very difficult. That has been changing for centuries, and is currently changing faster than ever. Its part of what makes this site possible. It's part of what gives rise to and sustains fundamentalist terroists.

But I'm drifting way off topic....

I agree with the need to have someone present locally, to minister and guide local faith communities, and to assist them with local works and community maintenance. I'm less sure that needs to be, or even should be the main focus for most gatherings or sermons. I think, our "small tribe" tendencies work against our more holy instincts nearly as often as they assist.

Mark

Mark

Worship style vs lifestyle, and sermon podcasts to critique.

Matt,

I've been thinking about this topic since you posted about it on your blog, and just put a reply there, too. You make some really good points.

Our church leadership frequently emphasizes (especially within the music ministry) that worship isn't about what happens on the platform, it's about how we live our daily lives.

I think there's a risk of distraction no matter how a church chooses to express worship. All Christians, regardless of our worship style preferences, need a frequent heart check to make sure we're on track.

As it so happens, while we're here on the topic of sermon podcasts, that three of our most recent sermon podcasts are messages on worship:

  1. One of our worship leaders speaks to the youth ministry about being a real worshiper
  2. This same leader team teaches with her husband, our visual arts minister, on having a lifestyle of worship
  3. Our worship pastor teaches about what it means to be a worshiping church

The second two sermons both used this Sermonspice video about worship. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to deal with videos and other visual elements of the message when editing for podcasting. It's usually hard to edit out all references to the video, so I'll usually just fade it out and back in.

No, these sermon podcasts don't have any intro or outtro attachments. That has bothered me since day one, even before our "online sermons" got a podcast feed, and it's something we need to do. I'm interested in any other comments or suggestions about how these sound.

Micah