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5 Ways to Extend the Reach of Your Sermons

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Your pastor puts in many hours each week preparing sermons. A 2021 survey by LifeWay Research said the average pastor spends nearly 14 hours on every sermon. Some may even spend twice that amount of time.

Your sermons are the most important pieces of content your church produces each week. Not only are sermons time-consuming to produce, but they’re full of biblical wisdom your congregation and community needs.

With all the time your pastor puts into sermon preparation (and all the potential impact they can have), your church should do what it can to ensure it makes all the impact possible.

Most likely, you’re already streaming your sermons. But don’t stop there. Here are six other ways you can extend the reach of your sermons. 

1. Share Sermon Clips on Social Media

    Short and sharable videos are like wildfires on social media, spreading your content far and wide. Your sermons are likely full of these short, sharable moments. 

    Look for clips of compelling, thought-provoking moments in the sermon. Each clip you share should stand on its own, yet also point toward something deeper that viewers want to engage with further. Note where people can find the full sermon if the clip piques their curiosity.

    The exact length of an ideal sermon clip depends upon the particular channel you’re using. For TikTok videos, look for clips that are about 30 seconds long. Facebook and Twitter videos can go 45 seconds before they drag. 

    Don’t forget to include captions on your clips. Many people watch social media videos with the sound turned off so they don’t bug the people around them. 

    2. Turn Them Into Devotionals

    This isn’t as difficult as it might sound at first. You can typically create 3-4 short daily devotionals based upon the scriptures used. 

      No need for these devotionals to be longer than a few paragraphs, including a key Bible verse, a few sentences of reflection on the meaning of the verse, an application, and a prayer. Each devotional should be only 200-250 words. They may even be much shorter. (The scripture passage should really carry the biggest weight.)

      You can develop these devotionals from current sermons or from past sermons. Current sermons help your congregants dig deeper into what they’re learning over the weekend. Past sermons give readers a different topic to explore. 

      If you have transcripts of the sermons, you can train AI tools like ChatGPT to help you create rough drafts of these devotionals. You can then edit the AI output to put it in the voice and tone of your church. 

      3. Create Podcasts

        Many churches already do this, but if you don’t consider getting started. Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans listened to podcasts in the last month. While your congregants who have already heard the sermon may not be interested in listening a second time, podcasting helps you reach new people with the message. When your sermons are in a podcast format, your members can easily send them to friends. Once you review the analytics of your podcasts, you’ll be shocked at the breadth of people who find, download, and play your sermons. 

        To turn your sermons into podcasts, make sure you have a top-notch microphone and recording equipment. Ask a few people to listen to your recorded sermons and determine whether the quality will distract future listeners.

        You’ll also want to find a podcasting host, which is a platform where you’ll store the audio files and make them available for download and for streaming. You could try starting a podcast without a host, but that would mean additional work and stress you don’t need. Good platforms will also provide you with analytics, so you know who is listening, and an RSS feed that helps people subscribe.

        Most churches will simply podcast the sermons (with a short intro and conclusion at the end), but you can also include an added section where the pastor (or another staff member) debriefs the message at the end.

        4. Produce Small Group Discussion Guides

        In most churches, small groups are where discipleship happens. They are where people discuss the important issues of life and how scripture intersects. 

          Building small group discussion guides out of your messages helps your small groups go even deeper into the sermon and helps them apply it to their daily lives. 

          Find a volunteer, preferably someone with experience running a small group, to help you do this. 

          Start with an icebreaker or some kind of opening question related to the general theme of the sermon.

          Pull out the key verses and passages from the sermon. Then, brainstorm discussion questions to help people discuss what scripture teaches. 

          Here are a few types of questions your guides should include:

          • Text-based questions point back to the biblical text. Participants can answer these questions without adding their own thoughts and input. They are simply describing what the Bible says.

            For example, “Why does John 3:16 say God gave his one and only son?”
          • Reflective questions ask participants to examine their own beliefs and actions, considering what the Bible says.

            For example, in John 3:16, “How does God’s sacrificial love for us impact how we perceive our value?”
          • Application questions encourage small groups to ask themselves how the Bible applies to their everyday life.

            For example, again, in John 3:16, “Who can we tell this week about the sacrificial death of Jesus and how it has impacted our lives?”

          Just make sure that all the questions you ask are open-ended. None of them should be able to be answered with a yes or a no. 

          5. Host a Weekly Webinar on Your Sermon Topic

          You’ve probably participated in webinars from time to time. A webinar is a live web-based video conference that will allow your community to dive deeper into some aspects of your sermon. Typically, you can use platforms like Zoom or Google Meet to do this relatively inexpensively. 

            For example, say your sermon focused on the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). You can hold a Thursday evening webinar where a couple of members of your mission’s team talk about opportunities for people to get involved in mercy ministries in your community. Then, allow some time at the end for discussion.

            Or, if your sermon centers on recovering from grief, host a webinar that week on how to help loved ones walk through grief from a biblical perspective. 

            Think of these webinars as a way for you to dive deeper into applications than you often have time to do in 30 minutes on a Sunday morning. 

            Multiply Your Sermon

            Your church’s sermons are likely already making a big impact in your church and your community. But they can have an even bigger impact. Try one idea above or brainstorm something else. 

            Be creative in how you leverage sermon content to impact your church and your community with the good news.

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