Thursday, September 22, 2005

Creative Podcasting

There is an element to podcasting that feels a little like the dude on the old "Mr. Microphone" commercials in the early 80's. "Wow, I'm on the radio! Hey good lookin', I'll be back to pick you up later!"

Just because you can, doesn't necessarily mean you should. My recent Pod blip comes to mind, for example. But with podcasting, it's hard to think of too many reasons why churches shouldn't be leading the way.

So I've been thinking about podcasting recently as it relates to Compass Church and have decided that we probably need TWO Podcasts. I'm still working this through, but here's what I'm working on:

The first podcast is a no-brainer. An mp3 audio file with a feed you can subscribe to of Sunday's sermon/message/talk. Not too hard to put together, really: a simple opener with music, maybe a closing comment, and the talk in between. Kind of a traditional church "tape" ministry online, downloadable and free. Maybe we'll call the first podcast "The Live Wire" or "Sunday Rewind."

But the second podcast is more of a brainer. The whole podcast thing is a new communication tool in many ways, and I believe that we're just beginning to see its potential for ministry - beyond the Sunday message. Maybe we'll call the second podcast "Compass lagniappe." Ok, maybe not lagniappe, but something that communicates something more, something with extra stuff added! ...Ok, definitely not lagniappe.

But this podcast would be caffeinated. It would have extra stuff. It would include more than one person talking. It would have conversations and include more variety. So here are some creative ideas that I'm working on for that 2nd podcast. Feel free to use them in your church, add to them, and let me know how things go!

Some creative podcasting ideas:
  • Record the 2nd podcast on Monday morning with staff or team members. Expand on Sunday's message toghether, talk about wins from the weekend, stories, etc.
  • Include interviews. Interview people who made decisions on Sunday, people who know a lot about the topic, or just people who couldn't be available on Sunday morning. Maybe a celebrity or pastor from another church? Skype could come in handy, here.
  • Include stories related to your series in an NPR documentary/commentary style. Follow someone's journey as they deal with the issue in real life.
  • Create special, themed shows about your current series or with stuff to help your members reach out to unchurched friends (like a discussion about "The DaVinci Code" or God & hurricanes, or something). Holidays could make for great themed podcasts.
  • Include ads/teasers for next Sunday or the next series. This could be cool, well produced audio ads or simply you talking about why you're excited about what's ahead.
  • Include "inside" behind the scenes stuff about what's cooking with your church.
  • Feature a staff member and/or have a different staff member host the podcast each week.
  • Do a podcast series that deals with each of your church's values.
  • Unveil a new song or big announcement on this podcast. Promote it that way: "Listen to this week's (whatever) podcast for a big annoucement!" Let it be where you announce/unveil first.
  • For those who need the weekly jumpstart, or encouragement read a chapter of Scripture each week, between "commercials" or segments.
  • Include a segment that helps people memorize a verse of Scripture. Work it through with your team out loud, each week. Award the team members who can quote it the fastest with a candy bar or apple or something. Have them compete on one week to see who can get the most people to quote the verse from memory, and have them bring their list. Read the names of the people from the lists. Ok, there is all kinds of fun potential here...
  • Give people a "peek" at a creative brainstorming session of your team. Record and edit, of course...
  • Add a quick, "What's Happening This Week" segment, like an audio bulletin board.
  • Create a "Vision Casting" podcast.
  • Do a podcast in a public place. Interview people on the street or in the coffee shop. Ask questions related to your current series. Use audioblogger for that live, "on the street" feel.
  • Add a third, "5 minute" weekly podcast with a separate feed that counts down to an event or emphasis with the latest news, motivators and people stories.
  • At the end of a sermon series, do a "best of" podcast that includes some of the best moments or lines from the series.
  • Allow people to hear you interact with your staff and other people on the podcast. Create an atmosphere that provides opportunities for laughter. Inside jokes become community jokes.
  • Don't do the same thing every week. Hey, if it applies to the weekend worship service, why not your podcast?
Both podcasts should become a part of your church's communication strategy quintet: podcast, blog, email, website & print. Make it part of your culture. Make it something that people don't want to miss, that they look forward to, and tell people about. Before long, it could even become another hook in the water for reaching new people for Christ and your church.

Ok, that's all I've got right now. When the Compass Podcasts launch, I'll be sure to let you know. In fact, we're toying around with doing a countdown type of podcast counting down to the launch.

I know there are more possibilities for the second podcast. Any other ideas, out there?

* By the way, if you don't see the picture in this post, jump out of bloglines or your newsreader and check it out. It took about 6 minutes to make and made me laugh out loud at the finished product!

For more:
One More Podcasting Idea (or so...)

"Creative Podcasting" Addendum

5 comments:

Mark Batterson said...

Johnny,

This is just downright good stuff! Totally inspired to experiment with different podcasting ventures! Mucho thanks.

Mark

kevin h said...

Podcasting could be a great tool for devotionals. We've taught ourselves how to read written material quickly and efficiently. We scan for the important points, commit them to short-term memory, and move on to the next thing. You can't do that with a podcast. You have to take the time (make the time!) to listen to it in real-time and you really can't do it right if you're trying to do too many other things. A "Daily Bread" type podcast (or weekly, if daily is too much to start) with 10 minutes for scripture reading, short meditation, and prayer.

Johnny Leckie said...

Mark, thanks for the encouragement!

Kevin, that's a great idea! A cool tool to help people build discipline and connect with God daily. I like the fact that you couldn't just "rush" through it...

Any other great podcasting ideas, out there?

FreeGoodNews.com said...

I like your ideas of the "caffinated" version with interviews of staff, etc. With a streamlined process, it shouldn't take too much time. It would be a great way to get to know the staff more, personally. The staff can take a shot at being the star, rather than the senior Pastor who's normally the star on Sunday mornings.

...Bernie
http://fgn.typepad.com/

Todd Ruth said...

The devotional idea is a good one as well. I'm working on that as we speak. Have one up but need to work on some things to make it better... but it's a start. But great ideas Johnny!