How to Record Your Sermons

Are your sermons dying too young? You have to record your message.

This the most important thing you can do to increase the life of your sermon. The majority of the other ideas in this series on Increasing Your Sermon’s Lifespan will springboard from this.

Quinn's-eye view

Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski cc

By not recording your preaching you are watching it die. You could have saved it, but you didn’t.

There are two ways to record a sermon. I recommend doing both.

Video

Camera: If you don’t have one, buy a good HD Video Camera (like this one). Don’t think of it as an expense. It is an investment that will yield a great return.

You can go expensive for top quality professional camera, or you can stick to a budget. Don’t worry. You can still get high quality video from a relatively inexpensive camera. Just make sure the camera that records in 1080 HD, and has at least 10x zoom (since you will probably be recording from the back of the auditorium).

Lighting: You will want to make sure that you have plenty of lighting on the stage. A poorly lit stage will make for a bad recording. If you walk around while preaching, you will also want to test for dark spots. Some areas of your stage will probably be better lit than others.

You want light pointing directly at your face.Contrary to what you might think, if you feel like it is shining directly in your eyes, you are on the right track. You don’t want any shadows cast on your face. It may be uncomfortable and even a little blinding, but its not about you. It’s about your audience.

People in the congregation and watching the recording later will appreciate better lighting from their perspective. They will be able to see your eyes and facial expressions better.

Operator: Find somebody to run the camera every week to record the entire sermon. Make sure they start before you get on stage, and end only after your closing prayer. It never hurts to have too much recorded that you can edit out later, but it can hurt to miss a single moment.

Use a tripod to keep the shot steady. Zoom in to the desired shot. Some like a full body shot, others like from the waist up. It’s up to you. Tell them not to try to be fancy. Don’t move the camera unless the pastor moves around the stage.

Cast vision to your tech people. They are more than just camera operators. They are advancing the kingdom of God by capturing and spreading the spoken Gospel.

Audio

Whether you are recording video or not, you should still record audio.

Direct: The best way is to record directly from the soundboard. Invest in a digital audio recorder that has the inputs to be directly plugged into an output channel on your sound board. This will give you the best quality. You will get what you pay for here. Cheaper recorder = less quality. More expensive recorder = higher quality. Test them out and pick which works best for you.

CD: If your church is already recording the audio onto a CD, great! If you are happy with the results, just pop the CD into a computer and export it into iTunes. Mission accomplished.

Camera Mic: If you are on a budget, I recommend investing first in a quality HD Video Camera. You can use the built-in microphone to start. Just know that the quality wont be as good as a direct recording, and you will pick up every sound from the audience (babies crying, people coughing, etc).

Smart Phone: I have also heard of some pastors who use their smart phone. They use a voice recording app like iTalk, set it on the podium next to their notes, and hit record just before they speak.

Do what works and makes the most sense for you and your church.

Lights, Camera, Action!

If you aren’t recording your sermons, now is the time to start. Quit letting your sermons be a one time event. We are in the 21st century for crying out loud! You don’t have to be a technical wizard or have a big budget to do this anymore.

If you are bad with technology, it’s ok. I guarantee you that many of the young people in your church are. Ask them for help.

There are no more excuses. You cannot extend the life of your sermons if you don’t capture them.

Start by recording, and we will get into ideas for what to do with the recordings in the next posts.

Other posts in the Increase Your Sermon’s Lifespan series:

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