The sermon podcast was just the beginning.
The next step takes you beyond the church media we’ve all seen and heard.
Discover the potential of podcasting to transform how you reach and teach your church and community.
The difference between sermons and podcasts
Sermons are designed for live, in-person delivery.
A sermon happens in front of an audience that is in the same building at a particular time.
It’s public speaking.
Yes, I know, sermons are different than speeches. You know that because you see a distinction between preaching and speaking.
But to those in the audience, it looks just like public speaking.
And a message delivered by someone on a stage is different than a message delivered through audio or video—especially if it is heard or seen at a later time.
When you preach, you deliver your message with gestures and use different tones of voice in order to communicate clearly to the crowd that is there.
You often have slides with important points (and sometimes Bible verses) displayed on screens behind you. Sometimes you play videos and movie clips.
And yet, with all that preparation, practiced delivery, and those visual aids, not everyone is fully engaged for the entire time you’re talking.
And most sermons are scheduled right before lunch. Yikes! You’re fighting gut-wrenching battle when you preach.
Those who sit in the audience watching you and listening to you do not catch all the points you worked so hard to make clear.
And by Monday, most folks have forgotten most of what you said.
5 ways to make a Beyond the Sermon podcast
This is where a podcast ministry helps you by taking your message beyond the sermon and directly into the mind, heart, and soul of those who listen to you later in the week.
1. Sermon delivered to one person
While the sermon podcast is a common way to share your already-prepared and already-recorded message, there is a difference between speaking in front of a group and talking directly to one person.
How does a sermon sound in your church building? Does it sound like a discussion at the dinner table? Usually not.
Consider this: Most people are alone when they listen to podcasts.
Podcasts are personal.
Whether they are driving to work, shopping for groceries, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the house, people usually listen to podcasts by themselves. Often they wear headphones or earbuds.
This means when you produce a podcast, your voice is going straight from your microphone to their ears. You are not talking to a crowd. You’re talking to one person.
Record a different version of the sermon
In this case, the message would be delivered in a more personal tone as if it were a conversation over coffee.
If you make a podcast like this, your listeners will feel a completely different connection to you and your message.
How would you preach the message if you were only talking to one person?
2. Have a co-host interview you about the sermon
You might have heard this kind of podcast before. Rainer on Leadership is a popular one.
Jonathan Howe is the host (or co-host depending on how you look at it). Thom Rainer is “Rainer” in the title of the podcast. He’s the expert on leadership and the reason people are listening to the podcast.
Jonathan Howe introduces the podcast and then has a conversation with Thom Rainer about the topic of the day.
If you were to go beyond the sermon with a podcast like this, your co-host can ask questions about the sermon that listeners will likely be thinking about.
You can answer those questions, clarify points of potential misunderstanding, and offer specific ways people could apply your message in their own lives.
If your co-host also understands editing and the whole podcast production process, he or she could also be responsible for putting the whole episode together.
3. Remind and Apply
A Beyond the Sermon podcast helps people recall the gist of your message along with suggestions for applying that message in their lives that week.
Even if you feel confident in the clarity of your message, your listeners can always benefit from hearing this again in a slightly different way.
It usually takes awhile before learning really sinks in.
People might have to hear the same thing several times before it starts to click. And even then, they might have trouble seeing how to make changes in their lives.
Remember that verse in 2nd Peter?
The people Peter wrote to already knew those things and were standing firm in what they had been taught. And yet he still felt the need to remind them.
If what you preached last weekend is important, then it’s important to help them understand it beyond the one-time delivery of that message.
Your Beyond the Sermon podcast can remind listeners of your main points and offer specific steps they can take to apply those things to their lives.
4. Give them more to study
Another way to use the Beyond the Sermon podcast is to share additional resources with them.
When you prepared your message, you probably didn’t do that in a vacuum. You most likely used Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and discovered illustrations from various places.
Let your listeners know your sources
Share the books and websites that went into the making of your message.
There are two reasons to do this.
1. People like to fact check.
When you quote studies, stats, and tell stories, there are people who will search for those things to verify what you said. You can make it easy for them by telling them exactly where they can go to read and learn more.
2. People can benefit by learning how you put together sermons.
You’re teaching them how to read and study the Bible. And that’s a good thing!
Learning to read and study for themselves goes a long way toward improving biblical literacy—and spiritual maturity.
So help your listeners go beyond the sermon by pointing them to resources they can use to study on their own.
5. Invite your listeners to respond
If you truly want your congregation to engage with the church, ask them to engage with you and your sermon.
Invite your listeners to ask you questions. If there’s something confusing or unclear to them about your sermon, encourage them to share that with you.
And if you’re brave, ask listeners to tell you what challenges they’re facing, especially in light of what you preached.
Maybe they don’t see how to apply what you preached. Maybe they disagree with what you said. Maybe they’re struggling with things you don’t even know about that’s hindering your message from making the impact you thought it would.
If you’re going to do this, you need a good way to receive and respond to their questions and critiques. Email might be best. Also consider a Facebook group.
Huge warning here: If you invite people to respond, make sure you respond to them.
Questions to ask yourself or your team
Would you consider starting a Beyond the Sermon podcast to serve your church and community?
What obstacles would you have to overcome?
Are you ready to engage with your church members when they respond to your podcast?