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The Definitive Guide to Starting a Podcast for Your Church

As a church, you’re already producing high-quality valuable content each week. Starting a church podcast is a great way to reach new members and serve your existing congregation.

This guide will first walk through why you should start a church podcast, and then give you step-by-step instructions on how to record and upload your first sermon.

Why should churches be putting their sermons online?

In simpler times, the internet was just AOL message boards and instant messenger. But as people spend more of their lives online, the church has an incredible opportunity to meet them there.

Here are the top 5 reasons every church should host their sermons online:

1. Make your message global

Each week your pastor prepares and presents a sermons to your congregation, and each week you see God use those sermons to move the hearts of your congregation.

A podcast makes your sermons available to anyone with internet access. Let’s rephrase that — it makes all of your sermons available to anyone at any time, in any part of the world that has internet access.

Whether it’s a family who moved away from your church last month, or a solo missionary in another part of the world. Your messages can reach them at the exact same time — no address needed. They simply subscribe to your church podcast and receive an automatic update whenever you post new sermons.

2. For members who couldn’t make the service — or would like to listen again

Life is unpredictable — sometimes people are out of town or maybe just couldn’t get the kids ready for church. But, that doesn’t mean that somebody who missed the sermon on Sunday can’t listen in on Monday (or even a month later).

When you publish your sermons as a podcast, your members can listen to them whenever and wherever they’re able.

3. For members to share with friends and family

If we think something is interesting, we share it. It has become a daily — and sometimes moment-by-moment — action. We share pictures on Instagram, messages on Facebook, and news stories on Twitter.

Your church members are the same way.

A podcast makes your sermons easy to share. When someone is touched by a message or thinks of a friend while listening, they can share it with others by sending them a link to your website where they can listen to the sermon.

4. For new and visiting members

Your website shows who you are as a church: your message, your mission, and your calling. Having your sermons on your website allows visitors to hear the way you teach.

Having them on your website also allows new visitors to listen to past sermons and understand the context of the sermon they will encounter on their first physical visit.

A podcast also provides a safe environment for non-believers or new members to see what your church is like if they are intimidated by visiting in person.

5. To create a permanent (and always accessible) , archive of church’s sermons

Even if they’re still relevant today, older messages can be easily forgotten. And sometimes they are just hard to remember after a while.

Storing your sermons online with a podcast keeps them within reach at anytime. A great message you remember from last year, a past Christmas-Eve sermon your mom liked from 3 years ago, or just last week’s dedications. They’re all there. Permanent and easily accessible for everyone.

Night Vintage Microphone Bokeh

What You Need to Podcast This Week’s Sermon

At Buzzsprout, we currently hosts over 10,000 podcasts and about half of our podcasts are churches that are hosting their sermons online.

When we’ve spoken with churches about the process, we found that the majority have two common misconceptions about starting a podcast for their church:

  1. Podcasting is too expensive, and
  2. It will take a whole tech media team

If either of these apply to you then you’re in luck. We’re going to debunk these misconceptions and you’ll find that you already have a lot of what you need to put this weekend’s sermon online:

1. Record your sermons

The first step to getting your sermons online, and into iTunes, is to record them. If you run sound through a soundboard or mixer, your audio is already being converted to a digital format, now all you’ll need to do is to record it.

Here are the simplest ways to record your sermons:

  1. Use a computer (recommended): The simplest solution is to use a computer running software like Audacity (free) or GarageBand (free for Macs). You’ll just run a cable from your mixer into your computer, spend some time optimizing the audio, and you’re ready to go. This is the recommended route since it removes the step of transferring the file to your computer.
  2. Use a digital recorder: You can use a digital recorder to record the sermons. Just make sure you can run a cable from your mixer to the recording device. If you take a few minutes to optimize your levels, you’ll see a big improvement in audio possible.
  3. Use your sermons CDs: If your church is recording sermons to CD, you could do without a digital recorder all together. With a CD, you can import the audio directly into iTunes and have exactly what you need.

What if you don’t run sound through a soundboard? No problem. You can use a digital recorder or a smartphone app to record the sermon at the podium.

2. Move the recording to your computer

If you recorded your sermon on your computer then you’re already done with this step.

If you used an smartphone app, digital recorder, or CD, then you’ll need to get the file onto your computer. With a CD you’ll want to “rip” the CD track and get it onto your computer — this is the same process you use to load your favorite CDs onto your laptop.

3. Optimize the audio (optional)

This isn’t required and honestly most churches do not spend too much time optimizing their audio. If you’re a bit intimidated by audio editing feel free to skip this step.

Audacity

All these buttons and dials can look intimidating, but after a few minutes you’ll start getting the hang of Audacity and you’ll hear a real difference in the quality of your audio. You’re just trying to keep the sound from getting too loud or too quiet.

Check out this article on how to optimize your audio in Audacity.

One note about sound quality

Sometimes we can get caught up in the perfect sound quality of the recording, and forget about what is really important. People are going to listen to your sermons because the message resonates with them, not because it has the perfect audio levels. As long as you don’t have ear-piercing hums, hisses, or pops, you should be fine.

4. Host your content online

After your file is saved to your computer, you’re ready to host it online.

While it is possible to host the audio files on your server, it can get difficult and pretty expensive. That’s actually why we built Buzzsprout — to help churches get their sermons online as quickly and easily as possible.

With Buzzsprout your church can upload the sermon one time and then that sermon is automatically updated everywhere including iTunes, your free Buzzsprout page, and on your church website.

You’ll even get an embeddable podcast player for your church’s website.

Buzzsprout Embed Player Large

5. Promoting

Once your new sermons are online, you’ll want to spread the word so that your congregation can listen to the new sermons and share them with their friends.

Here are the top three ways to promote your church podcast:

  1. List your church podcast in iTunes and other podcast directories
  2. Embed an audio player on your church website
  3. Post a link to each new sermon on Twitter and Facebook

The best part is that after you’ve been listed in iTunes and posted a player on your website, both #1 and #2 are updated automatically each time you upload a new sermon. Now your members have a way to listen to your messages anytime they want!

How Does Buzzsprout Help?

Buzzsprout hosts your podcast so that anybody can download them at any time. Your church will also get access to tools to help you promote and track the growth of your church podcast. Here are a few of the features we’ve built to help churches get their sermons online:

  1. Customizable podcast players for your website. Copy and paste a single line of code into your website and your visitors can listen right form the webpage. Embed players are completely customizable and work on any device.
  2. Your own podcast website. Don’t have a website? No problem! Will set you up with a basic podcast website automatically. Customize your url, colors, and images, and then link to iTunes.
  3. Statistics to track your podcast. Get behind-the-scenes analytics on how your congregation is listening to your podcast. View play counts for each episode, geo-location of your listeners, how they are listening to each episode, and more!
  4. Easy setup for iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher. Get listed in all the podcast directories your congregation is using in just a few minutes. We make is simple to use, and all the directories will update automatically each time you publish a new episode.
  5. Personal support. Have any questions? We’re just an email away and more than happy to walk through any issues you have.