If you could increase your church’s impact using something you already have, would you be interested? Social Sermon Sharing is a way to get your message in front of more people and engage the people who are already listening.
One thing that nearly every church offers is a Sunday sermon. In many cases, it is the single most resource-intensive item created by a church. While some pastors may deliver something thrown together the night before, excellent preachers spend more time on their sermons than they do on any other single task. My seminary professors taught me that Sunday sermon preparation should take up to 20 hours a week. I am not sure I was able to organize my time enough to make that happen but, at the minimum, one full day of the week can be consumed by researching, writing, and refining a sermon.
And then, at the majority of churches, it gets delivered once. And in most cases, on any given Sunday, it is delivered to less than half of the congregation. Even in churches with multiple services, the result is a well-crafted message that only hits about half the ears in the congregation and they only hear it one time.
Since the majority of the work of the sermon is preparation, why not expand the reach? What if more people could hear it, and for the people who have already heard it, what if we could remind them of the most important points?
Social Sermon Sharing: Get 6X the Impact from Your Church’s Sermons
1. Preach It!
This is a given, so I almost didn’t list it. However, I am on a quest to improve communications, so it is worth pointing out. All this work goes into preparing a sermon. People are giving up an hour of their time to hear it. It is expensive to have a place for people to sit while listening. The musicians have invested time and effort in their part of the worship experience. So, if you are a preacher, knock that sermon out of the park! Know your sermon. Own it. Be prepared. Practice if that helps. Deliver it in a mirror. Record yourself and watch it. Get a coach. Give that 15-30 minutes everything you’ve got.
2. Post the Text
There are many useful reasons to post the text of sermons. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter if anyone actually reads them. Posting sermon text can have a significant impact on your search engine rankings. Search engines are looking for quality content and keywords (read more about that here.) Since you are creating all this content, you might as well put it out there to help people find your church. There may also be people in your congregation who would rather read than listen or would like to share the sermon with someone in text form.
The most common objection I hear to this comes from pastors who don’t preach from a manuscript or don’t feel that their rough manuscript is in good enough shape to share. This is a great place to engage volunteers. I am willing to bet that, in every congregation, there is someone who would be honored to serve by either transcribing the audio from the sermon or editing a manuscript draft. There is likely someone out there looking to serve in a way they can do from home or when the time is convenient.
3. Share Sermon Quotes
If your church is on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you are likely always looking for content. Sermon quotes are a great way to keep the message fresh for people who were in church on Sunday or encourage those who missed it to listen or read it online. (Or watch, but we will get there in a minute.)
Sometimes preachers are willing to pull out quotes of what they thought was important. This is also an excellent role for a volunteer. Look for the people who take notes during the sermon. They probably have them ready to go as soon as worship is over.
You can post these quotes as plain text on Facebook or Twitter. But, for more impact, make them into a graphic. Using a free web app called Pablo (https://pablo.buffer.com/) you can create beautiful images with overlaid text. Pablo will even help you get the image sizes right for posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
So far, everything I have mentioned is virtually free. Sure, it will take some time either from a pastor, staff, or volunteer, but there is no budget impact. These next two may cost a little money, but the return on investment is potentially significant.
4. Post the Audio
Podcasting is currently growing rapidly. People like being able to listen to audio in their cars, in their headphones, and on their smart devices. You don’t have to create a podcast to take advantage of this. Just record the audio and post it on your church’s website. If you need help recording and posting your sermon, check out this page. People who missed the sermon on Sunday may want to listen later in the week. Some who were in worship may want to listen again. Others may decide they want to share that sermon with someone else by sharing the link.
5. Post the Video
In web marketing right now, video is king. Whether or not your church is ready to live stream or even share entire services, it doesn’t take a whole lot to record just the sermon and post it. I am working on a post that addresses this directly. In the meantime, you can visit my page on live streaming. The process is almost the same. The only difference is that you will be recording instead of streaming.
6. Post Video Excerpts
This is the same basic idea as sharing sermon quotes. The difference is these quotes will be in video form. This may be the most time intensive way to increase your sermon impact, but it might also be the most effective. You will need to record the sermon on a video camera and then edit it to come up with some short video clips. You can share these clips on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you are interested in doing this and need some help, let me know in the comments, and I will put together a guide.
This is Going to Take Some Work
This all takes time, dedication, and discipline. However, given the time already dedicated to preparing the sermon, it will be worth the effort. This is an opportunity to take a resource you already have, and use technology to increase you impact the reach out to new people.
Ready for a new website?
Is it time for a new website for your church? Check out my new webinar series, “Church Websites for Everyone.” Rio Texas Conference United Methodist Churches can click here for more information. All other churches are invited to sign up here for another webinar open to all churches.