Toronto Minister Sees Benefit Of PodcastingToronto Minister Sees Benefit Of Podcasting

As churches try new methods to deliver their message, one Toronto-area minister believes video podcasting has a future in the ministry.

Rev. Tim Elliott, honourary assistant at The Church of the Redeemer, and former rector of Christ Church Deer Park recently released a video podcast of his presentation Jazz for life: A pathway to balance.

The presentation is a mix of jazz piano, scripture and speech, and proposes that improvisation, rhythm, listening and freedom are keys to living a balanced life. Rather than being limited to a select group who attended the event, anyone can view the presentation by downloading a copy of the podcast.

A podcast is an audio or video file published on the Internet and available for download. Users can subscribe to the podcast and will automatically be informed of new episodes as they are posted, said Sean Paddison, president of Northstreams Inc., the company that filmed, produced, and hosts Rev. Elliott's podcast.

Video podcasting provides an opportunity for churches to reach out to people who may not normally be interested in attending a service, Rev. Elliott said.

?If the message is available, if you don't have to go to church but you could download the message and watch a podcast, then you might actually be interested in going to attend one [service] and becoming a part of the Christian community,? he said.

Because podcasts are published on the Internet, they are available to the entire world, making anyone a potential viewer or listener.

?Podcasting is a great way to broadcast your message via the Internet. It allows you to take any recording of your service or sermon and publish it online as a podcast,? Paddison said.

?Once they have been uploaded to the Internet, podcasts are usually archived. So not only can someone see the most recent service, they can download a service from a week, month or even a year ago, if they wanted to.?

?Podcasting is the cutting-edge of Internet technology. Lots of people are doing it, and even more are watching and listening to them. They are a great opportunity for people to create quality productions without huge expense,? he said.

Churches often distribute cassettes, and in the past have broadcasted services on the radio. Rev. Elliott believes podcasts have the potential to be the next step in the evolution of distributing recordings of sermons and services.

A podcast could also appeal to those who are away on weekends or traveling and want to stay connected to a church, or anyone looking for a message, he said.

?People that can't come to church - that's the elderly, the shut-ins and the sick - the church traditionally has always been concerned about those folks,? he said.

Podcasting has potential because the clergy is innovative and often embraces new methods and technologies to deliver their message.

?Most of the clergy that I know are highly creative people, and are usually looking for opportunities for their own congregations to move forward and do interesting things in ministry,? he said.

He points out that the clergy were some of the earliest users of the Internet because it provided access to a large variety of music, so publishing services as podcasts is quite viable.

Although Rev. Elliott sees the potential for podcasting, he still thinks the best way to worship is as a group.

?I don't think there's any substitute for being together in person, but it isn't always possible these days. And so if people want to stay connected, there are technological ways you can stay connected without having to be there.?

by Adam Peck
References and Bibliography

Tim Elliott's podcast Jazz for Life: A pathway for Balance is available at http://www.timelliott.ca/fc.html Visit his website at http://www.timelliott.ca

Northstreams Inc., specializes in the production and hosting of audio and video podcasts and electronic press kits (EPKs) for clients in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information visit the website: http://www.northstreams.com

Adam Peck is a freelance journalist in Toronto, Canada.

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