Many of my friends say that instead of listening to the radio in the car anymore, they are listening to podcasts. While I have heard of podcasts, I am not as well-versed in them as I am other technology outlets. Believe it or not, podcasting is having an impact on the Church.
For those who may not know, the word podcast is a combination of the words iPod and broadcast. Though most people do not use iPods for mobile listening, the use of the word has stuck. Simply put, a podcast is an audio segment downloaded to your smartphone that you can listen to wherever you are whenever you want
Even in the Entertainment Weekly magazine I subscribe to, there is now a podcast section for subscribers to read about the latest podcasts out there to listen to, as you would your favorite streaming TV show.
Since listening to and looking for podcasts is becoming such a common practice in our current culture, it is a perfect opportunity for the Church to offer something in this arena as well. Worship, Bible studies, sermons, Sunday school classes, devotional reading and prayer petitions can all become podcasts that people who cannot make it to church on Sundays or those who are homebound can access when they have time available.
Besides providing the meat-and-potatoes content, churches can also upload post-sermon discussions or application classes based on what was experienced in worship that week. Pastors and parishioners could talk about how what they heard in church impacted their lives in a very real way during the week. We in the publishing industry call this a value-add. And the value that could add to a person’s faith life could be monumental.
In the end, the Church is a content provider, but the content it provides is the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, and any medium in which that message can get out is a good thing.
I am reminded of these familiar yet timely words from Isaiah 55:10-11:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Think today about ways your church can “get the Word out” with a podcast and consult with your tech-savvy friends or family or staff to make it happen.
For an idea of what is currently out there in the podcast world from a Christian perspective, check out these links that I recommend:
Timothy Ketter sermons on gospelinlife.com and iTunes.
Matt Chandler sermons on thevillagechurch.net and iTunes.
John Piper messages on desiringgod.org and iTunes.