Why add sermons online?
Adding audio content to your church website provides a great resource for your members. Users of your website can listen to sermons they may have missed or listen again to a message they found particularly helpful. As well as being useful to church members, your recordings may be played by those who might not otherwise have come to church, giving you another way to reach people.
Recordings don't just have to be sermons, you could record a prayer and thought for the week or let the youth get creative and record their own 'radio play'.
What is a podcast?
Users can listen to your recordings on their computer by simply clicking on them at your church website.
A podCast on your website will list the sermons in date order. Someone can then subscribe to your podCast using software on their computer such as iTunes. That way, any new sermons will automatically be downloaded to their computer and ipod when they become available and then inform the person that a new sermon is available to listen.
This reduces the need for someone to keep checking to see if the latest message is on the website.
If you use Church Edit for your website then all of the technical side of things are taken care of as the Church Edit software generates the podCast automatically.
Recording your audio
This is probably the stage that varies most depending on what kind of recording device you choose. A few options follow, but if you already have someone in the church who looks after the sound system, they'll probably be able to help you choose the right method.
If your church has no PA system
If your church has no PA system, you'll have to provide a microphone for recording. You'll need to make sure that your recording device has a microphone input (not just a line input), and that you can get the right kind of plug on the end of your microphone to go into it! A tie clip microphone will pick up a speaker's voice consistently, but since the microphone is attached to the speaker, they will either have to have the recorder in their pocket, or you will need a radio microphone, which costs more. Alternatively, a static (ie stationary) microphone could be placed on the front row of seats or the lectern, but think about the area the speaker will move around in, and check that the microphone will cover this area - a trial run is the only way to be sure!
If your church has a PA system
If your church already has a PA system, it makes sense to record from this. You will record sound from all of the microphones at once, so you can for example hear the reading from the lectern microphone as well as the sermon from the speaker's tie clip. If the recording device can be placed at the back of the church, it will no longer be the job of the speaker to press record (they often forget!). If you have a sound desk, find out what kind of cable you need to connect its output to the line input of your recording device. If there is no sound output available, you may be able to buy or invent a 'splitter cable' to give you access to the signal from the main microphone, whilst still keeping it plugged into the amplifier.