Podcasts are rapidly growing into a significant medium of communication. According to an Edison Research Study in 2019, 90 million Americans listen to a podcast each month. Of these listeners, they are most likely to be between the age of 18-34. And that’s just in the United States!
Why are podcasts growing so quickly?
1. Podcasts are very economical to produce.
Unlike TV or radio, podcasts have a very low entry cost. 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 just a basic recording software, hooked up to a decent microphone, you can put together a podcast that can match the same level of quality that you would expect in popular radio shows listened to by millions.
2. Podcasts have limited (or no) commercials.
People today heavily rely on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu more than ever before. These streaming services give people the ability to watch whatever they want with limited or no commercials to sit through. Consumers of media are less likely to dedicate time to watch a show or a movie if that means they must watch or listen to commercials.
I know I record almost 90% of the television programs I watch today. I am able to fast forward through the commercial breaks and watch the entire one hour show in about 42 minutes. Plus the convenience of watching them “on my schedule” and not on the broadcast channel schedule.
3. Podcasts are easily accessible.
You can listen to a podcast on any smart device. That device can be a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, and even some smart televisions! It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting at work, driving in the car, or working out in the gym, your podcast can travel with you.
Churches and Podcasting
Because of the above reasons, podcasts have been huge for churches. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a church with over 1,000 members that does not already have a podcast! But this is not only for large churches. There are many churches under 300 members that have been doing a podcast for years now.
If you think about it, a podcast is simply changing the medium your members are able to listen to recorded messages. Instead of offering your pastor’s sermon in the form of a cassette or CD, you are just telling your congregation to visit your website and listen at their leisure.
Unlike handing out sermon CD’s to visitors and members, podcasts are available to anyone on the internet. There are many people who will listen to a church’s podcast before they actually decide to visit the church in person.
What does that mean? It means your podcast can be your church’s first impression. You want to make a good first impression with those listeners.
Your podcast needs to be professional and with a good sound quality. If your podcast lacks quality and is not professional, you will actually risk turning people away!
It sounds trivial that people may pass on your church if it has a bad podcast. But, it’s the truth. In this digital, smart phone era in which we live, many decisions are made based upon accessibility and the quality of the content.
You do not want your recorded messages to be so bad that nobody will want to listen.
The content may be great. But if the quality of the recording is distracting from the message, people will turn you off and go elsewhere (digitally and physically).
So… it’s time to answer the main question: Should your church podcast?
But only if your church can do the following:
1. Record the sermon with high-quality audio (via the mixer or a good mic).
2. Dedicate the time to edit the audio properly and add the intro and outro to each episode.
3. Consistently post the podcast on a weekly basis to the website (or to a podcast hosting platform) so it is available to anyone at any time.
4. Have a person/team with the know-how (or is teachable) to manage the podcast & the recordings.
If you have those 4 elements, you should really consider starting a podcast for your church today. Having a podcast can grow your church’s reach (locally and globally). It will also give the people serving in various ministries (nursery, parking lot, security, etc.) a way to listen to the message if they miss it.
Podcasting is here to stay. Podcasting popularity is growing. Many churches that have implemented podcasting have seen their in person attendance grow.
If your church currently does not have a podcast, you should seriously consider implementing one. The technology is available. It is time to grow with the times.