In the last couple years alone, podcasting has exploded as a source of entertainment and education. Whether you personally listen to podcasts or not, the reality is that a huge portion of the people in your community do. (Stats below to prove it.)
So the question is simple: Have you considered leveraging a medium like a podcast to connect with your community?
Creating a Church Podcast: Fast Facts
You may be wondering if starting a podcast is really worth your time and effort as a church. Here are some updated podcast stats you should know:
- There are currently over 700,000 podcasts available (up from 550,000 in 2018 — the medium is growing!).
- Over 50% of people have listened to a podcast.
- Over 30% of people in the U.S. regularly listen to podcasts (at least monthly).
- Of those who regularly listen, 80% listen to all or most of every episode, and listen to an average of 7 shows per week.
So here’s what those stats mean: A lot of people listen to podcasts. And in your local community, whether that’s rural or urban, it’s very likely that the stats are nearly identical. At least 30% of people in your community listen to podcasts monthly and the percentage continues to grow.
It’s a medium worth leveraging.
How to Make Your Church’s Podcast Unique
Honestly, there aren’t very many churches using a podcast strategically right now. A lot of churches post their sermons online as a podcast (which, as I discuss below, isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not what I mean when I say you should start a podcast), but most churches don’t create a podcast as part of an overall strategy to connect with their community.
To get the ideas flowing, here are some suggestions on creating a podcast that’s unique and effective:
1) Think bigger than your sermon.
Sharing your sermons online is a great practice to be in. But can I tell you who typically listens to sermons? Christians. And it’s great if we can encourage Christians, but it’s even better if we can connect with those who aren’t part of the faith, right?
So here’s my challenge: Think bigger than your sermon. Think outside your Sunday service. What are the questions people in your community are asking? And how can you engage those topics and conversations to build trust and start a conversation with them?
2) Do something local.
Our primary mission as a church is to influence our local community for Jesus. And if there’s one thing that you and your community have in common, it’s exactly that: the local community.
A unique way to leverage the platform of podcasting is to interview business leaders, influencers, and people in your specific area — share their stories and share what they’re doing for the community. As a result, you have the opportunity to build trust with your community and create content they actually care about before they come to faith.
3) Talk about things that people who aren’t part of your church care about.
Again, be thinking of the questions people are actually asking before they come to faith and how you can address those topics in a meaningful way. Talking about things like anxiety, money, parenting, your local community, marriage, etc. is going to connect easier than strictly talking about a specific book of the Bible or a topic that’s instantly polarizing.
The goal is to build trust and community, even before (especially before) someone ever steps foot in your church building.
How to Start a Church Podcast
The idea of starting a podcast can seem overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! Here’s why: The content of your podcast is more important than your audio quality, your technical skills, or your episode structure. Our friends at Buzzsprout have some great step-by-step guides that walk you through the process in detail.
Nevertheless, here’s an overview on how to get started with launching a podcast:
Step 1: Decide what your podcast is about. Put simply, what are you going to talk about? Who’s going to host it? What are you trying to accomplish?
Step 2: Nail down a title and some artwork. These are two of the details you’ll probably want to figure out before you move to Step 3. What will the podcast be called? And what image will accompany it? If you have an iPhone, just check out the “Podcasts” app to see some examples.
Step 3: Pick a podcast hosting site. Our recommendation is below. But once you decide that you’re ready to get started, you’ll want to decide where you’ll host the podcast so you can get everything set-up.
Step 4: Record your first episode. Jump in! Take a shot at recording your first episode. It won’t be perfect. (It doesn’t have to be!) And you may have a few things to edit on the final audio, but give it a shot!
Step 5: Stay consistent and promote. The biggest thing when it comes to podcasting is consistency. If you decide you want to use this platform strategically, you have to keep yourself accountable! And on top of that, be sure to promote the podcast on your website and social media. If you’re using the podcast to connect with others in your community, have them share the episode they’re featured on with their followers as well!
The Best Hosting Site for Church Podcasts
This is exactly what we were wondering about when we first started The 95 Podcast. After doing some research and testing out a few options, we think the answer is simple: Buzzsprout. It’s what we use for our own podcast and it’s what we always recommend for other people starting their own podcast.
- It’s free for 90 days so you can get started without worrying about a payment.
- They’ll provide a simple podcast website for you if you don’t have an easy way to add it to your current website.
- They make it SUPER simple to list your podcast on every directory (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and everything else).
- They do a great job of providing simple guides for equipment, recording, editing, promoting, and anything else you could every wonder about when it comes to podcasting.
Podcasting is a medium that is consistently growing. And it’s something that churches have an opportunity to leverage intentionally rather than passively. Hopefully this article gets the ideas flowing as you continue to think through how to best connect with those in your community!