In the past, if a person was a member of a spiritual community, he or she most likely lived in the local community and attended in person. With the ever-increasing reach of the Internet, that has all changed. The fact that a ministry’s sermons can be both livestreamed and recorded has added a new dimension to “sharing the good news” with the world. Sunday morning service is now enhanced by leading-edge technology that allows people near and far to remain connected to your ministry’s message and mission.
In order to understand the fundamentals of podcasting, it is helpful to define some of the terminology that goes along with the recording and dissemination of audio and video. Livestream is defined as a live transmission of an event over the Internet. The way a spiritual community may utilize this term is, “A livestream of the Sunday service will be broadcast from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.” Podcasting is defined as the practice of using technology to create digital recordings which are available for viewing online or by downloading to a computer or mobile device. An example of how the term podcasting applies to ministry is: “Our Sunday service is being recorded and will be available for viewing after it is uploaded later today.”
Having a podcast makes it much easier and more convenient for people to hear your ministry’s message. When congregants are on vacation, not feeling well, or just aren’t up to getting out in the weather to attend in person, they are able to tune in to your recorded service and still feel a part of your community. Whether you are audio recording your services or videoing your services and uploading them to the web, you are podcasting!
Offering content through your website is just the beginning and perhaps you are now ready to consider spreading the good news further by getting an iTunes or a YouTube account so that you can offer your ministry’s message to the world. Podcasting (also referred to as audio archives or video archives) allows members and others from all over the globe to subscribe to your ministry’s message and receive notification when a new message is uploaded. How convenient!
To get started in audio podcasting you will need a decent sound system, quality microphones and a method of recording your service. Next, you’ll upload the recording of your service (I recommend using an mp3 file) to your ministry’s website and, if you are so inclined, to iTunes and YouTube. To take the next steps and begin video podcasting, you will also need one or more cameras, good lighting, and a computer with editing software.
While tablets and smartphones do provide decent video quality, they don’t offer optical zoom which is needed to capture your Sunday message shared from the platform. In order to achieve variety and richness, consider getting two or more cameras. There are many online resources available on the topic of church podcasting. For more details on how to create successful ministry videos, check out this article by Andy Waggoner.
In addition to the increased reach that your ministry will achieve, there are other rewards of using technology to share your ministry’s message. Midd Hunt, an active volunteer Unity of Fairfax, Oakton, Va., has much to share about podcasting and livestreaming church services. Read his article. Midd experienced the benefit of growing his AV (audio visual) team as a result of the ministry upgrading their podcasting equipment and practices. Not only has his team bonded and expanded, they are receiving more positive feedback about the services that are being viewed online and donations are up. That’s always good news!
If you’ve been considering moving forward with sharing your ministry’s message, now’s the time to take the next step! Unity Worldwide Ministries is providing matching grants (made available by the John Templeton Foundation) to qualifying Unity ministries. This grant focuses on supporting our ministries in disseminating our Unity teachings through audio and video podcasting. In order to be considered for the current round of grants, fill out the Audio Video Grant Application by June 29, 2017. If you have any questions about this grant or about sharing your ministry’s message, please feel free to contact Rev Diana Kennedy at 816.434.6814.
[editor’s note: To learn more read about Rev Pat Williamson process of livestreaming with Unity Minneapolis, MN.]