Podcasts are fast becoming an important means of communication. According to a 2019 Edison research study, 90 million Americans listen to a podcast every month. Of these listeners, they are most likely between the ages of 18 and 34. And that’s only in the United States!
Why are podcasts growing so fast?
1. Podcasts are very inexpensive to produce.
Unlike television or radio, podcasts have a very low cost of entry. In fact, the only thing a person needs to start a podcast is a computer connected to the Internet. And almost everyone has one of those!
With a computer that has only basic recording software, connected to a decent microphone, you can put together a podcast that can match the same level of quality that you would expect on popular radio shows listened to by millions of people.
2. Podcasts have limited (or no) advertisements.
Today, people are heavily reliant on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu more than ever. These streaming services give people the ability to watch whatever they want with limited ads or no ads to watch. Media consumers are less likely to spend time watching a show or movie if it means they must watch or listen to commercials.
I know that I record almost 90% of the TV shows that I watch today. I can fast-forward through commercial breaks and watch the full hour-long program in about 42 minutes. In addition to the convenience of seeing them “on my schedule” and not on the broadcast channel’s schedule.
3. Podcasts are easy to access.
You can listen to a podcast on any smart device. That device can be a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, and even some smart TVs! It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting at work, driving in the car, or working out at the gym, your podcast can travel with you.
Churches and podcasting
Due to the above reasons, podcasts have been very important to churches. In fact, it would be difficult to find a church with more than 1,000 members that does not yet have a podcast! But this is not just for large churches. There are many churches with less than 300 members that have been podcasting for years.
If you think about it, a podcast is simply changing the medium that its members can listen to recorded messages. Rather than offering your pastor’s sermon on cassette or CD, you are simply telling your congregation to visit your website and listen at your leisure.
Unlike the distribution of sermon CDs to visitors and members, podcasts are available to anyone on the Internet. There are many people who will listen to a church podcast before deciding to visit the church in person.
What does that mean? It means that your podcast can be the first impression of your church. You want to make a good first impression on those listeners.
Your podcast must be professional and with good sound quality. If your podcast is lacking in quality and unprofessional, you run the risk of turning people away!
It sounds trivial that people can overlook your church if you have a bad podcast. But it is the truth. In this digital age of smartphones that we live in, many decisions are made based on the accessibility and quality of content.
You don’t want your recorded messages to be so bad that no one wants to hear them.
Content can be great. But if the quality of the recording distracts from the message, people will turn it off and go elsewhere (digitally and physically).
So … it’s time to answer the main question: Should Your Church A Podcast?
But only if your church can:
1. Record the sermon in high-quality audio (through the mixer or a good microphone).
2. Take the time to edit the audio correctly and add the intro and ending to each episode.
3. Constantly publish the podcast weekly on the website (or on a podcast hosting platform) so that it is available to anyone at any time.
4. Have a person / team with the technical knowledge (or who can be taught) to manage the podcast and recordings.
If you have those 4 elements, you really should consider starting a podcast for your church today. Having a podcast can increase the reach of your church (locally and globally). It will also give people who serve in various ministries (daycare, parking, security, etc.) a way to hear the message if they lose it.
Podcasting is here to stay. The popularity of podcasts is growing. Many churches that have implemented podcasting have seen their in-person attendance grow.
If your church does not currently have a podcast, you should seriously consider implementing one. The technology is available. It is time to grow with the times.