Using Technology to Preach the Gospel

Stan Cox

Using Technology to Preach the Gospel “Brethren, let’s preach the gospel!” (Homer Hailey quote, as he rotated his arm in the unique motion required to make copies on a manual mimeograph machine).

From the printing press in 1454; to bedsheets and yardsticks; to P.A. systems, mimeographs and radio; to electric typewriters and copy machines; to word processors, overhead projectors and television; to Powerpoint and the internet, preachers have long used technology to help in the presentation and spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

At no time has technology been more capable of adorning and disseminating the word than in our day. However, many preachers are uncomfortable with the technology. This presentation is designed to show how simple and inexpensive it can be to use technology to assist in the preaching of God’s word.

Technologies Used in Preaching the Gospel

Teaching Web Site * Website as advertisement is useless. * Shines as depository of all materials presented weekly (sermon audio, Powerpoint, bulletin articles, class outlines). * Website must be well organized and attractive. * Use blogging software (such as WordPress)

Podcast * Not sermon audio. Packaged audio with intro, outro, possibly scripted. * RSS feed (WordPress can be used; also, use iTunes store). * Multiple preachers possible on Skype. * Can be done with video as well.

Sermon Audio * $100 or less digital Recorder. * Free software for editing and export. * 32 kbps, mono mp3 = 7 MB per 30 minutes. * Also, CD’s are easy to burn, and duplicators available.

Powerpoint Uploads Note: In save options, be sure to embed fonts. Otherwise, if the receiving computer does not have a font you use, it will not look like you intended. This is important when taking your Powerpoints on the road for a gospel meeting. Also, find out what version Powerpoint the host congregation uses on their computer, and save as that version if yours is newer.

* Powerpoint backgrounds (Created or compiled by me) http://www.flickr.com/photos/sportsstan/sets/72157605455971211/

Youtube Videos * Establish your own “channel.” * Short video produced for that purpose works best… Know your audience. * Webcam fine, but best if you use a external (USB) mic. * Widows Live Movie Maker works great, and is free. * Embed in church website, and Facebook.

Twitter * Your 140 character messages go out simultaneously to everyone who follows you. * Note: If you subscribe to others, they are likely to reciprocate. You don’t have to actively follow, you can hide their posts.

Facebook * Individually, you read posts from friends, all friends can read posts you make. * Easy sharing of links (articles, sermons) on other websites. * A “business” page can be established for church. All who “like” your page will receive posts, pictures, videos, etc. * Great way for advertising Gospel Meetings (as an event).

Streaming Video * Live stream of worship services (easily done with web cam or digital camcorder), with DSL account and wireless at bldg. * Free services on internet. * Ex: Woodmont church (Jeff Smith) http://woodmontchurch.org * http://ustream.tv

Online Correspondence Courses and Teaching This can be a bit more involved, and has not been widely implemented. However, the possibilities are exciting. http://moodle.org (Free educational software, allowing for automatically graded testing, discussion forums, great interactivty).

On Demand Publishing * Any book, material, etc., can be “vanity published” with ease because of internet tools. * http://fastpencil.com Fastpencil makes it very easy to publish your own books. You can charge anything you want above and beyond the actual cost of printing the book itself. Both paperback and hardback book binding is available, in numerous typestyles. Electronic publishing available for a nominal fee. Even entry into Amazon, bookstore etc., with IPC code, for a fee.

Software Used in Preaching the Gospel

Audacity (Free) http://audacity.sourceforge.net Note: You have to download and install a LAME mp3 encoder to work with Audacity in order to export your audio files as mp3 files. Simple instructions can be found here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&i=lame-mp3 Audacity also is what I use to prepare files for CD burning (cutting unwanted audio, etc.) I export CD audio as WAV files, then delete after burning.

Direct WAV MP3 Splitter ($19.95) http://www.pistonsoft.com/ This software I use for one purpose, to quickly split my sermon files into 10 tracks (approx 3:30—4:00 minutes each) Works great, allowing for quick navigation of sermons on CD.

WordPress (Free) http://wordpress.org http://wordpress.com Blogging software (Very versatile, creates quick internet sites that look great and are easy to maintain) .org is the development site. .com is the site where you can go to set up your own WordPress blog.

http://bluehost.com and other ISP’s will host your domain name, and have automated install of the WordPress software. This allows you to have an internet presence with your own domain name for about $15/year for domain name, and $100/year for hosting. Total yearly cost: $115 (or, you can go to wordpress.com, and do it for free, without domain).

Windows Live Movie Maker (Free) http://explore.live.com/windows-live-movie-maker Extremely easy to use for editing video (adding titles, wipes, credits, etc.) Integrated upload to Youtube, and DVD burning.

Skype (Free) Video call or audio call via internet Works great for audio podcasting with two (or more) speakers. I used this for Watchman Digest. Larry Fain (in Houston), and I would talk politics, etc. for 1 hour each week. Some challenges with the recording of material. This is a bit more challenging. If you are interested, we can discuss it in more detail. Check out http://live.twit.tv for the best use of Skype in podcasting. (They have video, and do a fantastic job of technology videocasting. Audio can be done the same way).

Windows Live Writer (Free) http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer Best software available for Windows blogging. (Even easier than using the WordPress software itself). I use this software for uploading my articles to Watchman Magazine.

Blog Desk (Free) http://blogdesk.org Another example of good free software for blogging. This software does one thing better than Windows Live Writer; it makes it easy to set up templates. I have 7 different templates I use for uploading information to the Sound Teaching website. I have a separate template for sermons, bulletin articles, Mining the Scriptures articles, From the Preacher’s Pen articles, In the News articles and two types of Podcasts.

Pagebreeze HTML Editor (Free) http://pagebreeze.com Have not used this much, but looks very good if you have to HTML code I use it to create the table for my sermon archives.

EverNote (Free) http://evernote.com Absolutely fantastic note taking software. Notes can be synchronized online, and are available on any computer. Great for searches, organizing, and collecting notes from online sources.

Preacher Study Demonstrations of the use of technology in Preaching the Gospel (Note: Here I actually used my laptop and a projector to show the men how easy it was to accomplish certain things. For example, I showed them a recently created website at wordpress.com, and how to update the site with an article).

Creating a Web Site at wordpress.com * Choosing a Template * Creating Subject Index and Categories * Choosing Widgets * Uploading Article * Created permanent pages for congregational information * Go to bluehost.com and CPANEL (and use FTP) to explain how a domain is hosted to an ISP.

Uploading Article to Watchman Magazine * Using Windows Live Writer to assign author, categories and excerpt. * Uploading to Watchman Website. View at site, and explain archiving by author, date and subject. * Create TinyURL * Disseminate article via Facebook and Twitter.

Create and Upload Sermon Audio and Powerpoint to Sound Teaching Web Site and burn CD

Using Audacity, prepare source file and export as mp3 and wav * Note: I like to use 32kbps rate, and change from stereo to mono for mp3 file. That is a good compromise between filesize and quality of sound. It makes for a 30 minute audio file at between 7 and 8 MB. * Show FTP for uploading audio and Powerpoint. * Use BlogDesk to upload the file to Sound Teaching. * Disseminate sermon via Facebook * Upload Sermon archive HTML code. * Split WAV file using Direct WAV MP3 Splitter software * Burn CD via Windows Media Player * Note: We have a four bay duplicator that allows for 3 copies to be made in about 2 minutes.

Summary:

It is not necessary to use technology to spread the gospel of our Lord. All you need is your sword, preparation and willingness. More importantly, nothing in this presentation can, in any way, take the place of a simple willingness to share the gospel with your family, friends and neighbors. However, thousands of brethren and alien sinners from all around the world have visited both the Sound Teaching and Watchman sites, and there are other brethren who have been even more successful in spreading the gospel through the use of technology. It is not difficult, is not particularly time consuming, and you will have help if you are interested in doing more.

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