It’s been more than a year since I first suggested the idea of a sermon blog. The concept is to take a pastor’s sermon messages beyond the Sunday service, beyond mere online sermon notes, and even beyond the conventional podcast, and create a real tool for ongoing spiritual development. I’ve had the opportunity to help my church do that for the last several weeks, and I’m excited to be able to share that with you.
There are a lot of churches now that put audio of their sermon messages on their website and podcast it so people can listen to the messages on their iPods. There are also quite a few churches that place sermon notes or sermon outlines on their website. Those are great resources for people who were not able to hear the message when it was preached. The premise for the sermon blog is to not only help those who missed the message, but also to help the people who do hear it to go deeper and take steps to implement the principles into their lives.
The sermon blog/podcast developed for my church consists of:
- A brief introduction. This is to help the reader identify with the message and see how it’s relevant to their life.
- Audio of the sermon message. A person can listen to the sermon immediately or download to their iPod and listen to later.
- Sermon notes. This is an outline of the main points of the message with links to the scripture passages cited. When the reader clicks the link, it opens up a new browser window where they can read the chapter in the Bible where the verse is located to gain additional perspective and context. Once there they can also click links to study the passage even more in depth.
- Next Steps. James 2:22 tells us “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” But the fact is that after hearing a sermon, most people do nothing with it. The “next steps” section is a list of practical steps a reader can take to help them move forward in their spiritual development.
- Contact Us. At the bottom of each sermon blog entry is a link to the contact us page along with an encouragement to contact the church if we can be of any help to the reader in this area.
- Comments. Lastly, we provide a comments section where a reader can ask questions or share thoughts about the top. It helps to build community and allows people to participate in the spiritual growth of others.
The purpose and intent of the sermon blog is summed up on the “About” page as a 4-step process: listen… learn… act… share.
So far the feedback we’ve received has been very positive, but the number of people using the sermon blog is still relatively small. There are a couple of things I think we should do to help people make better use of this new resource. First, it needs to be featured more prominently on the site. Right now it’s too hard to find. Second, it would be helpful if the pastor took 10 seconds at the end of every sermon to mention it.
What do you think of the sermon blog/podcast? Do you have any suggestions that could make it better?