Thursday, November 23, 2006

Podcast users on the rise...number of podcasts available increases too

A recent Pew Internet Life survey reports that the number of people who have downloaded podcasts for later listening has risen to 12%. That figure is up from 7% earlier this year. While the report also shows that only 1% download podcasts on a daily basis that shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Many podcasts don't even produce episodes daily. While 12% may not seem like much, with 600 million current U.S. Internet users, that amounts to approximately 72 million users. That is certainly nothing to sneeze at!

The report also states that the number of podcasts available to Internet users has exploded in the last two years. In 2004, Podcast Alley, a popular podcast directory website listed fewer than 1000 podcasts available for download. That same directory now lists over 26,000 different podcasts, representing over 1 million episodes in November of 2006.

Churches need to consider how they can use this tool to tap into a wider audience for delivering audio files online. The Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver currently podcasts chapel sermons and presentations through the BVBID Chapelcast. You can subscribe free to this podcast through Apple's iTunes (also free) or get more information from the Institute's website. The Bear Valley church of Christ Sermoncast is just beginning to podcasts their sermons and some Bible classes and the Parker church of Christ in Parker, CO. has a good selection of episodes available as well. You can find others through the iTunes Store within the iTunes software. Remember that subscribing to these podcasts is absolutely FREE!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Some interesting stats to ponder...

I found some interesting statistics recently in an article by Walt Wilson in Christian Computer Magazine. The article is entitled, "Web 2.0 - The Second Generation Revolution is Underway" and talks mostly about the new revival of web start-ups and technologies. The interesting part to me, is the stats at the end of the article. The stats were acquired from Facts and Faith Newsletter.
- 27% of ALL U.S. churches make no use of the Internet
- 12% of Protestant pastors never use the Internet
- 94% of church websites are inwardly focused
- Only 46% of churches provide staff e-mail
- Only 23% of churches make use of e-mail prayer chains
- Only 18% have an e-mail newsletter
- Only 2% of U.S. churches offer a way to donate online
- 0% report using social networking software

While some of these numbers shouldn't completely surprise anyone - they should open our eyes to the opportunity to make use of these tools. We need to understand the generation that is coming behind us and reach out with the technology available.

I thought the most interesting stat was that "94% of church websites are inward focused" - that needs to change. The church is about reaching out - we need to be thinking about getting the gospel to others as must as posting a notice on when the next potluck is.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Area preachers exposed to new tools...

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Denver area preachers about technologies that can be used in ministry. They wanted to know about what we are doing at the Bear Valley Bible Institute with our Chapelcast podcast. That gave me the opportunity to talk about a number of things. I introduced them to the idea of setting up blogs and how blogging could be used by minisers and preachers. We discussed RSS feed readers (like bloglines and newsgator) and how these can be used to subscribe to content and more efficiently gather information from websites and blogs.

While a number of these concepts and technologies were very new to them, I was very excited about their reaction. A number of people asked if I was going to podcast the presentation and as much as I hate to admit it....we didn't tape it!! I know, dumb move. I may try to go back and screencast it to make it available later though. I had a number of preachers ask if I could come talk to their elderships or members about this stuff. I definitely saw a spark. Please pray that this word can be spread and that more and more preachers will see the value of using these technologies to help their congregations spread God word and grow themselves.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Logos Tip: Finding Frequently Used Words in the Text

As part of a new class I am going to be teaching, I am experimenting with screencasting. The enclosed movie is a screencast tutorial of how to use the Vocabulary List feature within Logos Bible Software 3.0 to find frequently used words within a book. Let me know what you think. I would like to do alot more of these in the future.

You may need to hit F11 in your browser to view the full screen.
Finding frequently used words... (Flash video)

Have fun.

Monday, November 06, 2006

New class offers new skills...

New class offers new skills

I am very excited about a new class that I am going to be teaching at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver starting in mid-November. We are going to begin a class that we are calling “Ministry Technologies” to our seniors this year. This class will deal with various digital tools and technologies to deepen Bible Study, preaching and teaching, and improve outreach and communication.
Students will be taught to go deeper in their Bible study and research using the Libronix Digital Library System. This software has amazing new tools for examining the text and digging into the original languages in ways never before possible. These new electronic libraries contain hundreds of books, are completely portable (actually they are stored right in the student’s laptop computers) and can be searched in seconds. Research and textual studies that used to take hours or even days with paper books can now be done in minutes. This time savings can be put into making sermons and Bible classes more applicable and powerful.
In addition to Bible study and research skills, the students will be learning how to preach and teach using PowerPoint. This tool has been gaining ground over the last few years, with more and more preachers using it. But making the change from verbal communication skills to visual communication skills can be a challenge. We will help the students use imagery and presentations to reinforce the message rather than distract from the message. This skill can help members connect with the lessons by involving more senses and promotes active rather than passive listening.
New technologies to improve outreach will be examined in detail as students are exposed to website strategies as well as potential ministry uses for blogging and podcasting. These new tools are easier than ever to use and we are excited to be able to provide the students with hands-on experience with these powerful technologies.
I will be posting more about this class and these technologies in the near future. Stay tuned.