ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–The message of the Gospel may be 2,000 years old, but thanks to new Internet-driven technologies, Southern Baptists’ work of spreading the Good News has never been easier, more flexible or more pervasive.
The North American Mission Board’s church planting group has launched a new weekly podcast aimed at the church planting community, according to Tom Cheyney, the group’s resourcing manager.
What is a podcast? Think of it as an audio “broadcast” but aimed at — or subscribed to by — specific audiences. The audio program can be accessed live or downloaded for listening at a more convenient time, much like using a Tivo digital video recorder or VCR to “time-shift” and watch video programs later.
Podcasts can be accessed by visiting a site on the Internet or by using digital music or multimedia players such as Apple’s iPod with iTunes software.
“We’ve just released our ninth episode,” Cheyney said, adding that most programs are five to 10 minutes in length and will roll out every Friday during the next year. Special editions also are planned as necessary.
Cheyney said NAMB’s church planting group would use the podcasts for training church planters across the Southern Baptist Convention to expose mission field personnel to special church planting experts and SBC speakers and to share inspirational stories and results from successful church planting missionaries and state directors of missions throughout North America.
Guests scheduled to speak during church planting group podcasts include Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Roy Fish, interim president of NAMB; Richard Harris, vice president of the church planting group for NAMB; Ed Stetzer, senior director of NAMB’s research division; Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources; and Elmer Towns, professor emeritus and co-founder of Liberty University.
“We live in a day of great opportunity and we must continue to take advantage of every means of communication available,” Harris, the church planting vice president, said. “Podcasts are just one more way we are committed to delivering timeless resources in a timely way to those on the front lines of starting new churches.
“Planters are very knowledgeable of any technologies that will help their church plant be more effective and efficient,” he added. “Podcasting is very affordable and user-friendly. It’s really a tremendous communication tool.”
Cheyney said one main benefit of podcasting, especially for training purposes, could be a significant savings in travel expenses.
“Today’s younger generation, from 21 to 30 years old, is made up of oral learners,” he said. “That’s why podcasting and web-video casting are becoming so popular. Our vision is to connect with this cutting-edge group of oral learners and lead them to consider church planting as a viable option for their lives and ministry.”
Cheyney said the easiest way for people who don’t use iPods to access the podcasts will be to visit NAMB’s church planting site, www.ChurchPlantingVillage.net, and click on the podcast icon. The website is the largest church planting website in the world, receiving as many as 80,000 visitors each month.
“A podcast is a blink-of-an-eye medium,” Cheyney said. “It’s instantaneous and state-of-the-art. While we’re early in the podcasting business, my goal is that NAMB and church planting will lead the way in podcasting.”
Cheyney urged state conventions and local associations to contact him at [email protected] to learn more about how their pastors, church planters and other church leaders can utilize the new resource.
“Just about every community is developing a podcasting environment, and it’s also a good way for local pastors and churches to get their names and messages out to the public. Podcasting is another way to reach people who might not come inside a church,” he said.