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So I’m going to the Echo Conference in Dallas, TX (USA) next week. It’s for leaders that use media, the internet, and other forms of technology as a tool for the church. I get paid to go to conferences like this for my work and I’ve participated in these kinds of conferences or trade shows (yes they have trade shows for churches too).
There are a lot of conferences and training events out there that compete for the attention of the church staff. There are denominational events, those put on by the church’s affiliation or events surrounding a subject like worship or leadership in church. And the staff person must decide which events are most valuable while remaining a good steward of the church’s budget.
We are called to come together and meet as Christians and we also understand that iron sharpens iron. And when thousands of people commit to coming to these events year after year, it also becomes a place of commerce for many vendors. Is that ok? I happen to work for a vendor like this but I also know my own heart and I pray often about my motivations. At what point are these vendors and event organizers trying to create revenue rather than equipping leaders? My answer is: the vendors wouldn’t come if there wasn’t money to be made. My bosses wouldn’t let me attend or buy booth space if the end goal was to spread love.
It’s obvious that the makers of technology like projectors, video cameras, and computers are interested in sales. It wouldn’t make sense for them to give their products away, would it? And before technology was heavily involved in the church did we have the same scrutiny of stain glass makers and the people who make wooden pews? We are called to be IN the world not OF the world. So even though we participate in events that are consumer related and we’re treated like businesses by vendors we are still the church.
What are your experiences and what is your feedback?
When I listen and search for podcasts I am often confused by churches taking a recorded sermon and posting it as a podcast. Just to clarify there is only one standard, one qualifier that makes a podcast a podcast and that’s RSS. RSS(2.0) is the technology that turns a one time download into a subscription. That subscription in text format is called a blog. In file format (audio or video) it’s called a podcast. But this is still not what I’m talking about. My definition of ‘podcast’ is a little different. Podcasts should be a lot more than posting a sermon. A lot more.
Listen to a few podcasts both Christian and non-Christian and you’ll know what I’m talking about. There are some great ones that sound like professionally produced radio talk shows with bumper music, interviews, and guest performers. There are some with rantings about current events recorded with poor quality and the buzzing sound of a refrigerator in the background. The point is that the podcasting work ranges from high quality to low quality. God calls us to do everything with excellence and that’s not always the policy in church.
There are a few things we need to make sure are included to provide quality and will ensure that people will continue to listen. In other words, if believers say the words that will save lost souls but there is no one there to hear them, does it still make a sound? Obviously I have a preference to what I like to listen to and what I don’t.
- Introduce yourself, your purpose, where to find your podcasts on ever podcast. Some people will listen out of order or even listen to your last podcast first depending on whichever topic interests.
- Mention your church website or blog, mention some way to continue the community of your podcast even after it’s done. Mention what the next podcast is going to be about. Mention other podcasters who share your views or opinions. The more excitement there is about your subject, the more listeners. Even contact another podcaster and tell them that their podcast was mentioned. It’s not a competition it’s a community.
- If promoting a church or a church ministry of a church, mention the contact info or directions with service times. At very least a website so people can check it out.
What am I missing? What would you add to this list?
Hi. My name is Chris Miller and I’m helping the site out while the normal author recovers from early childhood rearing.
The reason I was drawn to this blog in the first place was because it appeals to my love of teaching. I’m not the authority on a lot of things but God has given me experiences enough to help many in the field of technology and church. I am a believer and I want to help others get the Gospel message heard by as many as possible.
I won’t bore everyone with my bio. But in case you are wondering, I’ll post it and you can read it if you’d like. Enough of the small talk. I’ll get to my first blog now.