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Exchange of pulpits

16 December 2016


SERMONS come in all shapes and sizes. For some people, a five-minute homily is more than enough, but, for others, anything less than 20 minutes is merely an introduction. And, no matter how good the sermon is, the hours of work that go into preparing it can be lost once the sermon has been delivered, unless a way is found to provide more longevity.

The traditional way of doing this has been to collate written texts into books of sermons; the modern way has been to record the sermon and make the video or audio available on a church website. Now, an app has been published that develops the latter model.

SermonAudio is probably one of the most accessible church-related apps around. It is available on the popular iOS and Android platforms: and it can also be downloaded on Windows and Blackberry phones and tablets, as well as Kindle, Nook, and Amazon Fire. The catalogue can also be accessed via Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire streaming TV ser­vices.

SermonAudio is a collection of recordings of sermons, mainly from conservative parts of the Church, and mostly from the United States. At its advanced level, it allows churches and preachers to register as “broadcasters”, and then upload their own sermons. Once uploaded, they can be searched and accessed by any of the 4500 active users of the app. A church can also use its website to link to sermons on the SermonAudio platform.

Becoming a broadcaster costs $US1 (79p) in the first month, for up to ten sermons; and then a recurring monthly fee of $US39.95 (£31.50). After the first month, you can upload an unlimited amount of sermons in audio or video.

For the end user, the app is free. It provides several ways to access sermons. If your church is registered as a broadcaster, you can list all the sermons from that church. Or you can search by the more-than 25,000 preachers. You can also search by place. There are almost 150 UK-
based broadcasters, and more than 2500 around the world. There do not appear to be any broadcasters from churches in the Anglican Com­­munion.

You can also search by speaker, Bible reference, topic, or date. The app hosts readings of sermons by a range of his­torical preachers, includ­ing William Booth, Bunyan, Spur­geon, and Charles Wesley, as well as earlier figures such as Calvin, Knox, Luther, and Tyndale.

All of the sermons on SermonAudio can be listened to through the app. The audio files can also be down­loaded for off-line listening. Many are available as pdf files, for those who prefer to read the sermons; and a significant number — particularly of the newer ones — can be watched or downloaded as video files.

The overall theological flavour is conserva­tive and Evangelical. This won’t be to everyone’s taste. But it is a useful platform for those who like that kind of sermon; and for those who are looking for somewhere to host their, or their church’s, sermons.



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