Supercharging sermons with a blog

As I was lying in bed at 5 this morning half-conscious trying to decide whether to sleep for a few more minutes or get up and start my day an idea hit me.  My mind drifted to a conversation I had with my pastor a couple weeks ago about the general trend of church websites.  I told him I see church websites fulfilling three general purposes: to help people looking for a church home, to assist people already attending the church to know what ministries and activities are available for them, and to help people grow spiritually by providing additional resources that complement the services and ministries.  I expressed how great I thought it would be to put audio of his messages online along with additional resources for people who wanted to go deeper on the topic.

That’s when it hit me and I got up and started writing…

A blog is the perfect format for helping people go deeper and apply sermon messages to their lives!

Imagine a sermons blog that would be updated each Sunday shortly after the services.  It would include…

  • A brief sermon outline.
  • An audio “podcast” of the message.
  • A “Going Deeper” or “Additional Resources” section that would recommend books, websites or other resources on the topic.
  • An “Action Steps” section that would list possible action steps depending on circumstances, including a link to an online presentation of the Gospel on those Sundays when the Gospel is presented.
  • A section where people could leave comments (anonymously if they like) about the service and how it impacted them.
  • A “Contact Us” section where people could send a private message to the church if they wanted help or prayer, or wanted to let the church know how the service impacted them but not publicly on the website.

What struck me is how perfectly a blog lends itself to this purpose.  A blog is easy to update weekly, it facilitates the posting of comments, it automatically archives messages by date, topic, and sermon series, and it’s searchable.  Awesome!

So, I thought to myself… this makes way too much sense to be an original idea, and I went off to see if I could find a church that is already doing this.  I went to BloggingChurch.com because it has a list of about a dozen churches that have blogs.  I checked every one of them.  Many of them have audio or video of sermon messags, but as far as I could tell the only church in their links that comes close to using its blog in this format is Watermark Community Church in Dallas.  It includes a sermon outline and audio podcast, but no resources for going deeper or action steps. 

I tried googling “church sermon blog” and after going through about a page and a half of results I heard, “Daddy!  Daddy!  Juuuuuuuuiiiiice!”  It was 6:45 AM and that’s my two-year old son’s way of letting me know he’s ready to get up.

As of now I haven’t found a church that is using a blog in this way.  If you know of one, post a comment with a link.  This would be a very powerful way to use a blog to help people grow spiritually.  What do you think?

In His Service,
Paul Steinbrueck
OurChurch.Com

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

34 Responses to “Supercharging sermons with a blog”

  1. Great way for keep in touch. I am not very computer savvy, but I help myself. Still do not know how to set up the blog thing.

  2. Organized blogging is a good idea if it is consistant, and if the content is worth using the bandwidth. It has potential if the teacher has time to convert his notes to blogworthy copy!

  3. Great idea. Go for it!

  4. Dear Paul I wrote in three weeks ago to find out about podcasting etc because I am sure that this is somthing that many would find useful. I know of business men who are not able to go to church so often, but would love to know of good churches in the area they are in, and also be able to download a sermon for the train journey. come on, we have life coaches, whos better than Jesus for that task. I want to set this up my self, but it seems so difficult for someone with a limited computor vocabulary, even understanding what to do is beyond me, but ONE DAY soon I will do it, and attach it to my website! Go for it, this is a brilliant concept and this is the lord Im sure of it.

  5. Hi Paul,
    The concept sounds awesome…I am new to blogging so I don’t know all that’s involved but if its not too time consuming as far as posting the messages …as an out reach for the body of Christ is concerned it has great potential. We are a small fellowship just getting on our feet and need help to impliment this new tool of the good news. What are the time requirements and costs involved? I believe you heard from the Lord on this one. I know of so many people that the Holy Spirit is drawing them out of religion into a deeper personal relationship with Him than ever before. We must be a tool and instrument in His hand to fulfill His plan and purpose in this day and hour…I feel an urgency to get His message to as many as possible as soon as possible… Keep up the good work…You are making a tremendeous difference…

  6. I too think this could be a great tool on our website, and I would love to try it and see if it would be worthwhile. My concerns would, as mentioned above, be time and cost, and would this be easy enough for those of us to do that are still learning how to put stuff on the website such as audio and video. If it were very user friendly, then I say it would be a wonderful tool for churches. I know that our members would appreciate it at times when they are sick and can’t attend, are out of town, or for our part time residents who are only with us during the summer months. I say go for it! We won’t know if it’s a good tool or not if we don’t try! thanks

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments. A lot of people have responded saying, “Sermon blogs sound great! How do we do it?”

    First, of all I’m glad to see such a positive response. Kudos to everyone who is ready to jump in to something new like this.

    In the article Pam wrote last week entitled Who, Me? Blog? she explained a few different options for creating a blog. The idea of integrating the audio into the blog is where things get complicated for most people. Since the idea of sermon blogs with integrated audio just hit me this week, we have not had an opportunity to develop a service to facilitate this or even instructions on how one could use existing blog software or services for this purpose. We’ll work on that and let you know when we have a solution.

    In the mean time, starting a sermon blog that had a sermon outline, additional resources, action steps, and a way to contact church staff but not audio wouldn’t be a bad way to get started. The resources mentioned in “Who, Me? Blog?” can help you do that.

    - Paul

  8. Grace be unto you and all be well with you! I think MANY people would
    respond to this sort of thing. The witness which we give to Him, should be
    the same which we give unto uor brothers, in truth and in spirit! God has
    poured out His spirit of truth, and MANY are being delivered from sin and
    oppression in these last days…just as the scriptures said they would!
    Praise God! The abundant life Christ spoke of consists of hearing HIS VOICE,
    so that we may all learn how to “rightly divide His word of truth”.
    Let us bring our faith together in unity, for the perfecting of the saints, so
    the prayers of Jesus…”John:17 ” let them all be of one mind, and of one
    accord, speaking and believing the same things”. Great Idea! ManofGod

  9. The sole purpose of a church website is to get the soul-saving truth out about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Every church website should give the reader an opportunity to learn who Jesus is, and give an opportunity for the reader to accept Jesus into their hearts and lives. If any church website is not offering this opportunity, it is strictly in existence to “sell” the church itself to the public as a “business” and to offer the church service as the product!

    Jesus and His Church are not for sale, and should not be “marketed” as such. The soul-saving message is that Jesus Christ wiped your sin slate clean and marked it “Paid in Full” with nothing owed but for you to accept Him as your Lord and Savior. The best part of this is that He still leaves the choice to us! We can choose to continue to serve Satan and his world and live eternally in Hell, or serve Jesus and live eternally with Him in Heaven. We can walk in the flesh in constant fear, worry, frustration, financial misery, etc. or walk in abundant blessings in the spirit. You choose this day whom you will serve.

  10. [correction on web address]

  11. Shalom to you,
    I think an audio is a really GREAT idea! I’ve gone to several church websites that use audio and it takes no time at all to download the “blog” to my harddrive and I can pick which one I want. I’m disabled and this is really the next best thing to sitting in a Church hearing the sermon on Sunday. We all have a need to grow and we grow from hearing the Word..rather we’re at home or in Church….we all have that same basic need within the Church. I’m speaking of course to Christian’s but the non-Christian’s are also reached with a “live” audio message to them…..I say “go for it” and let me know when they’re posted…. Thanks, LeAnn aka Sparrow

  12. thank you I want to invite you here in Tanzania Africa country to help the teaching Gospel and to work together in the prphans children for HIV/AIDS
    thank you and may God bless you

    Rev, Eliah Mauza
    p.o.box3108
    Dodoma Tanzania

    Email pmctchurch@yahoo.com

  13. This Idea sounds very good i havent yet understood but it sounds very powerful for the body of jesus christ
    l zulu

  14. This was just awesome to receive this email about evangalising on the internet! I have been evangelising on the web for about a month now. I dug my heels in and headed for My Space…I did my best to also encourage other older wiser adults to join in there…Our Lord is busily working and has sent many who are well trained onto the site, and all praises are to HIM, amen!

    I will be praying that many more join in this endeavor, in
    Jesus name I pray, amen! With much joy and gladness, A sister in Christ,
    Hannah Fievel or Andie Moore :o)

    PS Just went onto a site where “a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit by evanglising on the internet” was brought up! How great is Our Lord…too awesome for words! Confirmations abounding…Praises be to our Lord who sits on the throne, AMEN! :o)

  15. I had this same thought just today and was doing some googling and came across you. How has it worked. I am not sure we could go as indepth as you describe and we are a very small church but people are quite spread out. For example we travel 120miles round trip to attend church today and cannot go every Sunday so tend to miss out on what the Lord is doing. I thought blogging would work to keep community growing. Your answer would be appreciated. I have not run this by my pastor just checking out possibilities at this time.

  16. Hi Vic, I have not personally had the opportunity to implement the concept of sermon blogging at my church or any other for that matter. If you go forward with this, at your church, please post another comment to let us know how it goes and anything you learn from your experience.

  17. This is a great idea.
    We may even set this up on our website in the near future.
    http://ltmm.centennialchurch.org/
    http://christianblog.lovethatmatters.org/

  18. When I first read your post about supercharging a podcast with a blog, it moved me into asking the LORD. He said to me concerning this “do that
    whichsoever seemeth good in thy sight”.

    This got me to thinking, instead of just podcast, why not produce a webcast?
    The very same month HE lead me to join a video broadcasting service in which
    it is not only very cost efficient, but since HE has gifted me and my wife (Joyce)

    greatly in musical ability, singing songwriting, 40 years plus, playing fingerstyle
    guitar. In the last ten years HE has given us over 75 Gospel songs which
    “rightly divide His word of truth”

    The cost of webcasting? ONLY $8.00 a month for unlimited audio and video.
    Thee sound quality is quite acceptable and the picture is good enough that most whom have watched have had only good things to say.

    Who is the Producer, you may ask? YOU ARE! As I said the LORD lead me to
    bliptv.com
    Here you sign up for a free service that limits the amount of (MB) to around
    100MB a month or so, so I asked why limit the amount, when for just $8.00
    a month Yes $8.00 a month gives you unlimited access. From 3 min. videos to
    a hour and a half (or more).
    How is this possible? Through a minor purchase of webcam equipment of
    around $100.00 and the $8.00 dollars a month (bliptv.com) Pro service, YOU
    can produce your own webcasts of Sermons, Praise and Worship music, ect!

    I must also note that OCC hosting package must be upgraded to at least a
    BRONZE account, so that you can have multimedia, mp3 bandwidth!

    Bliptv.com allows you to automatically feed every webcast directly to your
    multimedia page. You simply “name your show”, use your webcam for audio
    and video to “tape” the webcast, then “upload” the avi. file to bliptv and they
    will RSS (feed) the file to your (showplayer) which is the same as a windows
    media player would allow you to produce and watch video! You can also add
    the feed directly to your blog page or your website!
    It has been a blessing for the LORD to show me how to do this, and you can do
    it as well. Under the “showplayer” there you can give sermon guidelines, or
    blog about the epipisode content, therefore making it easy to webcast and
    affordble as well to spread the glory of His Gospel. May this bless you as it has
    blessed me, for as HE is in control of all things, ALL things were made to
    and for, the “express intent of HIS heart”. Glory be unto Jesus forever, for
    ALL THINGS are truly “under His feet”!!

  19. I believe every Christian organization should set up a blog! The Word declares that it will not return void — so post away and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how the Lord will place people in your path!

  20. I think it is important that every Christian Church develops a blog or website. These blogs or websites should give an invitation to all who visit the site to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Of course, it would be great also to have material to help the saints grow in the Lord.

  21. Paul I think you're on to something. I've always thought it to be a great idea but I let distractions get into my way. I've decided that perhaps this method can truly be one of many evangelism ideas to reach out to people and share more of what the Holy Spirit shared with you. That idea that hit you was the Holy Spirit getting your attention.

  22. How about a live video broadcast.

  23. From a church members viewpoint the most important part of the blog would be the 'digging deeper' part. Resources, additional scripture and a reading list would be great. However, this is a lot of work for the busy pastor. Perhaps just a few paragraphs of additional thoughts and comments would be good.

  24. Yes, this is a VERY good idea and has all kinds of potential benefits for the church.

  25. Yeah I agree Organized blogging is a good idea if it is consistent. Resources, videos and pictures will help you blog post more attractive to your reader. Sometimes we need to be more proactive to inform our religious readers about the update.

  26. One of my Pastors has approached me with a similar idea that he would like to implement. He sent me the following message recently:
    "In my mind the website will be pretty simple. It will have sermons with additional resources to pair up with the sermons. In addition, it will have articles and studies with a devotional/Bible study intent. That is at least a start. I'm very open to any other thoughts you might have."

    Do you know of any websites that are doing what you described or are similar to what my Pastor wants to do? He's asking me to help him with something I am not great at but I'd like to learn more about. Any help you can provide would be wonderful. Even a link to a few examples would be wonderful.

    Blessings,
    Steve

  27. The idea and concept is great but, as with all things in life, it does need to be consistently maintained with the weekly sermons going out at a regular time. This is the part where most blogs fail. At first it is new and exciting but after awhile it becomes a chore and people start to neglect the blog.
    I do think that there is so much potential not only for encouraging your own church members but to also use the blog to reach out to a hungry world and let them know about Jesus as well.
    Good luck with your new blog.

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