It’s a consistent issue for churches, pastors, ministry leaders. You have the message. What’s the best way to get it to others?
Obviously, the most direct and personable level is Sunday mornings and evenings, Wednesdays – whenever the church is open and an audience gets a sermon or Bible study in person. But as culture and technology involves, so do the methods of delivering the message.
For example, one of the fastest-growing delivery methods has proven to be podcasts. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital survey data, 11 percent of Americans 12 years of age or older in 2006 had listened to a podcast. By 2017 that number had jumped to 40 percent. In addition, nearly a quarter of Americans 12 years of age and older reported listening to a podcast within the last month.
Weekly unique users for National Public Radio, which boasts some of the more popular podcasts in Apple’s iTunes library, rose from 2.5 million in 2015 to 3.5 million in 2016. This year, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board launched its most recent podcast, one focusing on Kingdom Generosity.
Those increase should cause churches to take note. Although podcasts can be heard on a desktop computer, most individuals don’t take that option. In fact, the notion of a podcast lends itself primarily with a mobile world where connectivity comes through our phones.
An older, more mobile crowd
And the sharpest rise among the public adopting mobile usage may not be who you think.
When it comes to getting news on a mobile device, Americans age 50 and older showed the most growth, according to the Pew Research Center report. To put it more clearly, approximately 85 percent of respondents in a March survey answered as such compared with 72 percent a year ago. In 2013, slightly more than half of Americans (54 percent) in that age group got their news via mobile.
To be clear, the younger-to-not-so-young age group still dominates in mobile usage. In the same study, 94 percent of Americans ages 18-49 got their news on a mobile device. Those 50 and above showed the greatest increase in usage.
And, even while more older Americans get their news on their phone or tablet, it doesn’t meant that’s the preference. Among those 65 and older, more than half (51 percent) preferred their computer. Those age 50-64 only slightly (54 percent) chose their mobile device.