This is my own MacGyvered method, done on the cheap. I’m not claiming it’s the best way or the easiest, though I think it’s ridiculously simple to do, and I wish I’d done it earlier. The programs I use, I found through a bit of searching, but not exhaustive searching. So perhaps others can share what they do in the comments.
First I downloaded Recorder Pro onto my iPhone from the App Store for $.99. From there I can just sit the phone on the pulpit and hit record when I’m ready to go. Sound quality is great. (Here is where people point out that the trick is remembering to hit record before preaching and to hit stop afterwards. Yes… there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I put a reminder in my manuscript/notes.)
Then I get the sound file from my phone to my computer. There are a couple of different ways to do that. I upload it to the Recorder Pro site, where they will keep it for 10 days for you to download. You can also e-mail it to yourself (HUGE e-mail!). Do it on Wifi.
Recorder Pro doesn’t record in mp3 format, which is what iTunes and the others all use. So I downloaded a free program onto my Mac called Switch that lets you convert. (PC people: google “free mp3 converter” and you should find plenty.) It’s a simple drag and drop thing to convert the .wav to .mp3.
The podcasting program I use is called SermonDrop. I looked at several and there are plusses and minuses to all of them. I finally went with SermonDrop because I liked the ease of use and thought the interface was attractive, and they made it easy to get listed in iTunes. The process is as simple as uploading a photo to Facebook.
I have the free version of SermonDrop, which keeps the 10 most recent podcasts on their site. You can also upload one attachment for each sermon, if you use PowerPoint, or want to upload your manuscript. We still keep the manuscripts on our website.
I have a friend who uses GoDaddy for his podcasting. That site and others, as well as the Premium version of SermonDrop, let you have unlimited podcasts available. Something in me bristled at that, oddly. I think it’s because I heard a stat the other day that 10 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every minute. That’s just ridiculous on some level. So perhaps keeping the most recent 10 podcasts is a way of building in a little humility, that not every word I say from the pulpit needs to be accessible to everyone until the end of time.
Also, sermons are temporal events. And for a church our size, I’m not sure sermons-in-perpetuity is worth the cost. Sorry to any fangirls and fanboys out there, you only get 2 1/2 months of me at a time. 🙂
If you know you want your podcasts up there forever, let me say that SermonDrop Premium is on the expensive side.
And one thing Robert brought up that I don’t know—if I decide to quit SermonDrop and go with a more robust paid service at some point, how do I get iTunes to point to the new host? I have no idea.
So that’s how it’s done.
One final thing. The friend who asked the question was feeling frustrated about his church’s process because while they do record the sermon each week, it takes forever for it to get uploaded to the website. Here is where we have that tension as pastors, between equipping others to share the ministry and just doing something simple yourself. It is SO easy to do this—it honestly takes me five minutes a week and minimal thought. I think it would take more mental bandwidth to find someone else to do it. And as my friend has found, you can’t always trust the result.
Here is where technology makes complicated stuff accessible to anyone. If you have a smartphone and a computer (which I realize is not universal), you can do this.
That said, it would be simple for an admin person to do this each week. Even if you record it onto your own phone, just e-mail the admin the link in Recorder Pro and let them take it from there.