Do you ever get that post-sermon, anticlimactic feeling that all of your research, all of your writing, all of your preparation just got burned up in a single half-hour shot?
It would be far more ideal to leave church on Sunday believing there is still more to come of the results from your preaching, even after the lights are turned off and the doors locked.
I think we should never waste a good sermon.
Here are at least six ways to stretch the reach of your message beyond the single weekend service:
Blog your points, one at a time.
A full sermon transcript or manuscript is probably too long for a blog post, but one point with its explanation is just the right size. So if you're presenting three or four major truths this Sunday, write three or four corresponding blog posts during the following week.
And if you're not sure about the difference between writing an effective sermon point and writing an effective blog post, let me offer this advice:
- Write the title as if it will stand all alone—a blog post title needs to hint at what is contained in the post.
- Write the first line as if it determines whether the reader will go any further because it does.
- Write the first paragraph to get people to take the next step, which isn't what you think it is.
If you expect people to keep reading straight through your blog post, you're still thinking of it too much like a sermon. When reading web copy, most readers do something different—they scroll to the end.
At the end, they'll figure out whether the post is worth reading or not. Therefore:
- Close with a strong, confident call to action and sign-off.
- Between the first paragraph and closing paragraph, present your content.
- Try to break it up with subheadings, bullet points and occasional illustrations.
- Share it bravely. The world needs it.
Use brief quotes and verses as social media messages.
Scan your sermon notes and separate out five or six sentences that are strong on their own. Share them as single sentence status posts, and then, sometimes, turn them into an image with a tool like Canva.
It's popular to brand them with your church logo and make them look professionally designed, but I still think there's great strength in just shooting from the hip and dropping truth into your social networks without being polished.
Use the video.
When I was in college, I had to preach a sermon on camera. Then, I had to watch it and sit down with my preaching professor so he could critique it with me. This was extremely helpful and excruciatingly painful.
It still is painful to see myself on video—that's human nature. But it's worth it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures, and video is growing in popularity at a rapid rate with the advancement of mobile web platforms.
So, share your sermon video as a whole, and in pieces, by using smaller clips as brief posts.
Create a podcast.
It's fairly easy to use your sermon audio to create a podcast. Almost every church website solution will have some kind of RSS or iTunes feed capabilities, so with a few steps, you can be sharing your sermons as a podcast.
You may wonder why podcasting matters so much, but there's a reason why it's such a rapidly growing trend. People subscribe to podcasts. So rather than popping in and out, as with blogs, people usually form a pretty faithful community around a podcast, and they'll listen to every new episode.
Turn it into a small group study.
Our Community Pastor takes my notes and creates a discussion guide to go along with them. Then, some of our small groups download those notes from our small group studies page and use them in their group meetings.
It's likely that in less than 20 minutes, you could breeze through your notes and create two or three strong discussion questions after each point. Then, offer it for download.
Create e-books from your sermon series.
Save your finished notes as a PDF file, add a nice cover and then offer them as free downloads. Some people like to read content on web pages while others prefer to read longer form content as downloadable, portable files.
You can even publish them to Kindle with a bit of preparation or give them away as lead magnets to people when they subscribe to your church's email list.
Here's the bottom line:
The gospel is the greatest content on the planet, and we pastors write and say a lot of words about it every week.
It's a shame for that knowledge to go to waste. Utilize modern technology and social distribution points to extend the message and fill every conversational space with the truth and glory of God.
Brandon Cox has been a pastor since he was 19 and has served churches, large and small, including serving as a pastor at Saddleback Church. Currently, he is planting a purpose-driven church in northwest Arkansas. He also serves as editor of pastors.com and Rick Warren's Pastors' Toolbox, and authors a top 100 blog for church leaders as well as a blog about men's issues, a blog about blogging and a blog about social media.
This article originally appeared at brandonacox.com.
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