Recently I met Steve Lacy and the team at StreamingChurch.TV. They shared a new concept they have developed that gives pastors and teachers a new platform for giving millions of people access to their sermons and teaching through Amazon Alexa devices. It was intriguing so I started asking questions. Here’s our conversation:
Phil Cooke: Where did the idea for sharing sermons and teaching content to people through the Amazon Alexa device come from?
Steve Lacy: We actually had the original idea to provide a service for ministries on the Alexa devices a couple of years ago. Personally, I’ve been a big fan of the technology and now have several devices in my home. We recognized that this is the next frontier for technology and that the church should be one of the firsts to leverage it for ministry. Although we initially struggled with the right features to leverage with Alexa. Do we create a ministry Q&A app? Do we post recent sermons automatically? We then landed on the Daily Flash Briefing as a great regular interaction vehicle for the pastors and staff to interact with their members daily.
Phil: Tell us exactly how it works.
Steve: The pastor, staff member, or lay leader would create or re-use whatever audio content they wanted. They could use their phone or computer to record a short message. Or use audio clips from the past weekend’s sermon. At our church, our associate pastor has a special daily devotional that he reads for each day. Then you upload the audio file (or files) using our simple web interface. Then you just drag and drop your files onto the calendar days you want it to play and you’re done! The message will automatically be available on every Alexa device when they say “Alexa, play my flash briefing”.
Phil: In some recent work our team at Cooke Media Group did with a large Christian media organization, our surveys indicated the #1 thing Christians would like to engage with more in the media is Bible teaching. Do you feel a similar desire among people today?
Steve: I agree. Especially for new Christians and those wanting to see their faith grow, Bible teaching is a must. The Bible is pivotal for building a strong faith foundation. As the culture around us continues to evolve with many harmful ideas and practices, the Bible has been the solid meat that Christians desire to grow and thrive in today’s world. At my home church, they have created a special daily devotional Bible that emphasizes a weekly topic for each week of the year. So every daily devotion for that week is a Bible teaching related to that topic. They are leveraging the myChurchDaily.com Alexa tools to get the daily message to every member’s home during the week.
Phil: What results have you seen so far in the lives of people who have been listening?
Steve: Our church leadership has prepared and printed this special Bible that is designed for both a daily devotional and a discipleship program. They provide a printed copy for free and encourage the congregation to go through the devotionals together each week. Many have accepted the challenge and are staying current, while others have fallen behind. Having the content on their Alexa devices makes it easy to make it a part of every day with very minimal effort. We have an elderly couple in their 80’s that have been Christians for many years. They regularly mention how grateful they are that they can now easily listen to the daily message on their Alexa device with a simple voice command. Other ministries are using myChurchDaily.com as a reminder tool for weekly activities and events going on at the church. They can specify their announcements for the exact day so all members are kept abreast of activities.
Phil: Have you received positive responses?
Steve: We’ve gotten great feedback from the ministries using myChurchDaily.com. While it can be a challenge for ministries to create content to stay connected with members during the week, many have reported how easy it is to leverage existing content to reach their members in a very personal, uncluttered way through their Alexa device.
Phil: Any suggestions for getting more church members to sign up?
Steve: We encourage the church leadership to promote their Alexa Daily Flash Briefing through their normal church communication channels (newsletter, weekend service announcements, email, etc.). We provide a short video clip that they can use in their service to inform their members how to get the church’s message on their Alexa devices. Or the church can create their own material.
Phil: Should people be concerned about security risks with an Alexa device?
Steve: Today, over 30% of all US households have a smart speaker device and it’s growing faster every year. Like many new technologies, there’s often security concerns in the beginning. But as you learn more about your Alexa, you quickly realize that you’re in control of your device and you can set it to behave as you wish.
Phil: For pastors and church leaders, how can they contact you for more information?
Steve: Reach out to us at myChurchDaily.com. We have integrated chat on the site where you can talk with us online or you can give us a call at 866-852-6648.