Podcasts are a useful online tool. Almost all of our guests have listened to at least one sermon before they come. Our congregation members also like it because it allows them to download listen to sermons they may have missed.
Creating a podcast can seem intimidating. It is easier than you think. Some website design companies include podcasting as part of their package. If you have it, definitely use it! They have already done the work for you. If your church has a WordPress website, you can skip these steps and use these sermon plugins to create a podcast.
For those of you who do their own html web design like me (I have since changed to WordPress), I have created an explanation of how to create a podcast into two section. The first section includes six steps are what you need to complete to initially set up the podcast system. I have set everything up using free tools that automatically update every time you create a blog post. While it may seem tedious at first, it actually works great. The first step requires the most work. The last four took me about an hour to set once I understood all I had to do.
The second section includes three things you will need to do each week to keep the podcast up to date. I have found that these weekly steps take about 10-20 minutes to complete. I have handed off the weekly podcast update to someone else. Using this system, we are both able to access and update it. This is great because the main podcast person may be gone on vacation or get sick and we can still easily update it.
Six Steps To Initially Create A Podcast:
1) Record MP3 Audio File of Sermon
- Our church uses free Audacity shareware software to record our sermons from the line out of our mixer board.
- I know other churches that record using someone’s smart phone or MP3 recorders.
2) Find A Place To Store The MP3 Files Online:
- You can store your files anywhere. I personally prefer my own hosting company (we use Bluehost and get unlimited bandwidth and storage). We upload them using an FTP to a file folder called audio files. Check out our sister site ChurchWp for other hosting companies we recommend for churches.
- Some prefer to store it on a specific sermon podcast site (sermon cloud, etc.). These can cost money or limit the number of sermons you can have at a time.
3) Create a Gmail / Google Account:
- I suggest creating a gmail / google account with your church domain as the email address. (YourChurchDomain@gmail.com)
- I use it for the blogger.com and feedburner.com in this process. It is also great for sharing documents via google drive (documents).
4) Create a Podcast Blog:
- Go to blogger.com and set up an account.
- You will only use this other website for posting sermons. I do this because It creates an easy format for multiple people to be able to edit and post. It also links well with your gmail account and feedburner.com which are all free Google products.
- c) To make it easier to remember, I suggest that you use the same title as your gmail account. If you do this, the blogspot web address will appear like this. www.YourChurchDomain.blogpsot.com.
5) Create a Feedburner.com Account:
- Use your google (gmail) account and got Feedburner to create an account (it will be tied to your gmail account since it is all google).
- Feedburner will walk you through the correct steps if you check that you want to create a podcast.
- Link it to your blog website when asked for the site. (www.YourChurchDomain.blogpsot.com)
You can see our feed burner site here
6) Submit your feed to Itunes to create a podcast:
- Follow these Apple instructions to learn more about the process.
- If it is helpful, you can check out my church’s podcast site to see how it will appear.
Three Weekly Steps:
Like I said before, once you have done all this, everything should update automatically. This is what you do each week to post the blog
1) Record Sermon To MP3
2) Upload the sermon to your storage site (see step #2 above)
3) Create Blog Entry for Each Sermon:
This is the general format we have found works great. You can go to our blog site to see how how it appears there.
- Title of Blog: The title of the blog will become the podcast title in Itunes.
- Blog Text: The text in the post will become the description in Itunes.
- Create Link To Sermon Audio File in Text: In the post, we highlight the sermon passage and create a hyperlink it to the sermon file that you posted online.