Getting Started with Into the Word
On January 1st 2017 we will launch a new podcast called “Into The Word”. This podcast is designed to assist people in reading through the Bible using the 2 year version of the Robert Murray M’Cheyne (RMM) Scripture reading plan.
In 2012 we started encouraging our people to read through the Bible using the RMM plan. We tried to support that by following the plan in our preaching calendar and by releasing periodic blogs and reflections throughout the week. Each subsequent year we tried to improve upon those resources so as to further encourage our people in this important spiritual discipline. The Into The Word Podcast represents the next stage of our evolution in this regard.
Why A Podcast?
Podcasting is rapidly becoming the preferred method of on-line communication for a variety of reasons. One media commentator put it this way:
“Podcasts are on-demand media. You can consume a podcast whenever you want, and almost wherever you want. And — this is a big one — you can consume podcasts while you’re doing something else. I’ve listened to podcasts while:
- Driving a car
- Painting walls
- Cleaning house
- Flying on an airplane
- Walking through a grocery store
- Making artwork
- Trying to fall asleep
Try doing that with a blog post!”
For me, the “aha moment” came through contact with two very different people from our church. One was an older lady who struggled to read her Bible because of her worsening eye-sight. Another was a young man who spends one hour every day in his car because of his commute to work. It occurred to me that neither of these people is likely to have time to read a devotional blog, but they both could be helped by a podcast. The young man could listen to a devotional while driving to work; the older lady (if her grandchildren set it up on her iPad!) could listen to a devotional while sitting at home. The advantages were immediately apparent.
How Will It Work?
Accessing the podcast should not be any more difficult than accessing the RMM RoundUps. We will send out an email to everyone who is subscribed (to get on the list click here) that will contain a link directly to the website where the podcast is hosted. After that, all you have to do is click on the podcast corresponding to the day’s date and readings.
For those who are slightly more “tech savvy”, we will also be uploading the podcasts onto SoundCloud. SoundCloud is a social media platform that was designed specifically for podcasters and amateur musicians. It is a free audio sharing and commenting platform that is ideal for this type of venture. SoundCloud allows you to comment right on the audio timeline so that your questions can be directly linked to the part of the podcast that inspired them. This will make it a lot easier for me to respond to listener feedback. SoundCloud is also an easy way to share podcasts with others. If you enjoyed the podcast and you want to recommend it to friends, you can link it directly to your Facebook page.
Signing up for SoundCloud is incredibly easy if you are already a Facebook user. It took our Office Manager Susan 8 clicks to sign up through her Facebook account.
By January we should also have it setup such that people can subscribe to the podcast using iTunes as well as other standard podcast apps.
If all of that sounds far too complicated – don’t worry! You can simply listen in on the website.
How Often And How Long?
I’m a big believer in incremental steps, and “slow and steady wins the race”. In 2017 we will release the first podcast on January 1st and then we will aim to release one every Tuesday and Thursday following. From time to time we will also release special FAQ Episodes (Frequently Asked Questions) as needs arise. We will try to build on that in 2018, God willing.
Each podcast will shoot for a length of 15-17 minutes.
How Much Time Will You Have To Spend On This?
The people who love me have asked me a few times how much time this will take to pull off. The honest answer of course is “I have no idea”. I’ve never done this before. My guess is that it will take 3 hours a week at first. Keep in mind that we have been producing written devotional content for 5 years now – all of that is in the bank and can be easily turned into notes for an audio podcast. I’ve taped a few trial episodes already to get the hang of it and almost all of them have been done in 1 take. Therefore, I don’t really think this will require a boat load of time. I have great assistance on the technical side and between Matt Stanton, Peter Gallagher and Kathleen Atkinson, so far we haven’t met any particular challenges with respect to the equipment, the process or the hosting. Thanks be to God!
What About The Facebook Page?
The 'Into The Word' Facebook page has basically 3 purposes:
1. To promote the podcasts. Each time we upload a podcast to the website, we will link it on the Facebook page and it will show up in your timeline IF you have “liked” the new 'Into The Word' Facebook page.
2. To facilitate conversation and community. One of the main reasons that we encourage people to use the RMM reading plan is because it is very helpful if we are all reading the same thing at the same time. This way we can talk to each other, encourage each other and ask each other questions. Facebook can help with that. If you have a reaction to a reading or to a podcast, stick it up on Facebook. Someone else might have had the same reaction. If you have a question, ask via Facebook; someone else might answer it before I even see it. If your question is short and simple I will try and answer it right on the page, if its longer or more complicated we’ll try to address it in an FAQ Episode.
3. To provide short daily encouragements. This is already happening. If you’ve already “liked” the 'Into The Word' Facebook page, then you will have noticed that I put up short little encouragements and reflections from the readings. Basically, as I read my Bible in the morning, anything that sticks out to me as particularly interesting or encouraging, I post up on the page or schedule for release throughout the day. These little encouragements will show up in your newsfeed. If you want to keep seeing them, interact with them. Facebook is a “smart” platform in that it tries to figure out what you want to see. If you like things or comment on things, it keeps putting them in your newsfeed, if you don’t, then it doesn’t. Simple as that.
How Can I Sign Up?
The simplest way to get connected to Into The Word would be to notify us by email that you would like to receive an email notification whenever an Into The Word podcast is uploaded to the website. If you would like to send such an email now, just click here. Be sure to indicate which email address you would like to use to receive notifications.
Another way to receive notifications would be to “like” the Facebook page for Into The Word. However, since you probably have 500 friends and not everything those friends post is likely to be seen in your newsfeed, you will want to add the Into The Word page to your “favourites” to be sure of seeing everything that is posted.
Finally, for the more tech savvy, you can find Into The Word on SoundCloud (its all one word – ‘IntotheWord’) and follow the station. Every time you open SoundCloud the new podcasts will be displayed in your profile.
When Can We Get Going On This?
While the official launch isn’t until January 1st 2017, the website will go online December 1st 2016 in order to give people some time to figure out what works best for them. The website is www.intotheword.ca, and it will have the January 1st, 2017 preview version of the podcast up on December 1st so that you can learn how to download and listen well in advance of the release schedule. That way if you have any problems, you can let us know and we can help you out. We’ll also post articles related to the readings on the same site.
P.S. If you go to the website BEFORE December 1st you might just see a version of the adfontes website as we are moving things back and forth at present. Wait for December 1st.
Why All The Effort To Get People Reading Their Bibles?
We saved the most important question for the end. It is also the easiest to answer. Jesus said:
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 ESV)
Not just the Red Letters.
Not just the snippets and bits.
Not just the inspirational, coffee cup slogans.
Not just the Proverbs and Psalms.
That’s why we’re doing this. Because every word that comes from God is authoritative, helpful, beautiful and life giving.
I believe that and I pray that you do too. I am so looking forward to our adventure together through Into The Word in 2017.
May God Alone Be Glorified,
Pastor Paul Carter