Making the Most of Your Sermons

September 7, 2006 by

The sermon is the bread and butter of church life. We get a new one every week. 52 per year. Start adding up the years your church has been around and that’s hundreds, even thousands of sermons. Multiply that by the number of churches and you’ve just won the content lottery. And you know what they say about content: Content is king.

So what is your church doing with its content? I’d guess many rely on the old faithful cassette tape ministry. My church does. Some lucky churches have tapped into podcasting and are making sermons available online. It’s a good first step, but we could do so much more.


Enter Sermon Cloud. It’s a new web 2.0 site for sermons. It’s kind of a Flickr for sermons. Churches can post the audio and text of sermons and enter them into a massive archive of sermons from churches across the country. Site visitors can give sermons they like an ‘amen,’ as well as comment on sermons.

And–here’s where it gets fun–you can sort through the sermons using tag clouds. So say you’re looking for a sermon on justice or Jesus. No problem (hey–how about “Jesus is Better than Beer and Sex”?). Or you can search by books of the Bible–sermons on Philippians or Song of Solomon.

It’s a nice little tool and a good way for churches to make use of their wealth of content. It’s good to see some more church friendly web 2.0.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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13 Responses to “Making the Most of Your Sermons”

  • Markus Watson
    September 7, 2006

    Wow! Awesome idea! I can’t wait to start searching, listening, taking notes, and plagiarizing–I mean, uh, referencing. Heh heh….


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  • Paul
    September 8, 2006

    I really liked this article. It was very informative and helpful. I do have one thought though that I think may be worth talking about.
    I’m not sure the sermon is the bread and butter of church life. It’s probably just me, but I think that is how it probably was and has changed. I would put my money on discipleship.
    Good article though. I love sermoncloud.


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  • Andrew Jagow
    September 8, 2006

    Good suggestion. But, for the technology challenged people (like me) – how do we record a sermon onto an MP3 file. Is there a recorder we can put in the pulpit?


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  • Andrew Jagow
    September 8, 2006

    Great site! I have to admit I’m a little technology challenged and do not know how to get one of my sermons on an MP3 file. Can there be a follow-up article that gives us a how-to guide for getting sermons online?


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  • D. Goodmanson
    September 8, 2006

    Andrew,
    We’re working on a FAQ now to help people with the mp3 recording & uploading….it should be completed by next week. Check back at Sermon Cloud


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  • Brad
    September 8, 2006

    Hmmm… I would hate to think that my pastor’s messages would lose their specificity because there’s a big website looking over his shoulder. Or that we’re building ways to facilitate church-hopping (and I don’t think that’s too cynical of me to say).
    To me the sermon is a pretty small percentage of the ministry of the church. The message of the church is (or should be) much larger than just the words the pastor says one day a week. While I think there is a value to posting sermons online, I’m iffy on adding to the clamour with more content (I mean, anything with “cloud” in the title…). Could be a valuable resource for pastors though.
    To those wondering how to get sermons to the web, this is a great time to tap into the people you have in the pews. There is bound to be someone who would like to assist, and who has the know-how and commitment to do it. It’s a relatively simple add-on to your sanctuary’s sound system (the cheapest new computer has enough power to do it, and the needed software is cheap-to-free). If there isn’t someone, then this whole thing would probably of limited value to your congregation anyway… Just my opinion.


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  • Ryan
    September 9, 2006

    A very interesting concept…seems like something churches should at least check out.


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  • Russel
    September 10, 2006

    This is something I’ve been thinking about for probably the last year. It represents a huge potential to ‘unlock’ the excellent messages being delivered each week.
    It’s not just for pastors – its for people. Everyone can learn from and use the excellent information hidden inside these sermons (what are preachers talking about right NOW? What are the trends and cycles long term?).
    For me the real power however is in unlocking the information in the sermon podcasts themselves – kinda like http://www.podzinger.com or http://www.podscope.com, but those technologies aren’t developed enough yet. Then instead of just downloading sermons from known pastors, users and pastors can leverage from what is being spoken anywhere in the country. Users can search for what they need, and pastors can get a better feel for what is happening in their area/country/movelement/whatever.
    Of course this creates issues. Some sermons just aren’t relevant outside their church. Some people may find a pastor the like more and hop (is this actually bad?). The upsides are overwhelming. More accountability. Unlocked information available to more people than possible before. Wider accessibility (a deaf person can get a braile reader onto the text transcription). And so on.
    I can’t wait to see how the church takes a hold of this. I say embrace!


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  • Peter Walker
    September 10, 2006

    Awesome resource!
    I’m helping Len Sweet develop http://www.Wikiletics.com too: a free online “wiki” preaching resource that allows multiple users to edit and contribute to existing sermons so they become group projects!
    Check it out! http://www.WIKILETICS.com
    (not posting this for my own benefit so much as I think Len is really onto something beneficial here)


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  • Drew
    September 10, 2006

    Drew,
    I am glad you are posting “how tos” to help point people toward a solution rather than just discrediting outdated modes of recording.
    The last place that gave me a cassette…I never listened to it because I do not own a single cassette player. I think that is probably true of many Gen X/Y households.
    Thanks again for helping equip churches.


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  • Peter
    September 11, 2006

    Every sermon will be made available…
    – as a CD and DVD
    – as a podcast available through our website and through iTunes
    – exerpts of the video feed is available through our website and through itunes, Google Video and youtube.com


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  • Rick Rhodes
    September 11, 2006

    Based on hard data, the sermon IS the “bread and butter” of church life.
    According to the updated “US Congregational Life Survey”, the most important factor in newcomers returning to church is the “quality of the sermon”.


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  • Heather
    November 3, 2009

    There is another service called http://www.sermoncompanion.com that our church uses, which has been a blessing as well. We are able to upload our sermon audio online within minutes. I just got an update that this service will be FREE starting this month for churches to utilize!!


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