Sermon Cloud

If you're the type who appreciates good preaching, I would encourage you to check out Sermon Cloud. If you have not yet heard about it, allow me to attempt to summarize. It is part podcasting site, part social networking, part tag cloud, and part Digg (minus the annoying users). Confused yet? Don't be. It's really quite simple. You, or someone you know, uploads his or her sermon as an MP3 file, with an optional PDF manuscript or message notes.

Sermon Cloud then converts the MP3 to an appropriate compression level, saving you having to optimize it. So, for those who have a church sound board, just save the audio and then the site does the rest. It also adds it to an RSS feed so that people know your sermon has been uploaded. This way, they can add it to their playlist, and download it directly into iTunes for listening on their computer or take on the road in an iPod.

Additionally, there is a Flash based streaming media player built right into the site, so if you feel like listening to a sermon from a kiosk without downloading anything, that too is an option. After listening to a sermon, you can indicate that you liked it by adding an Amen. This process is much like digging an article, adding to its popularity so that others know it is a good one. It may seem funny, but I like the lighthearted tone, as is evident by the t-shirt.

You can also tag each sermon with relevant details. For instance, a sermon on the book of First John could be tagged with "1 John," as opposed to the gospel of John, to avoid confusion between two similarly named books. This constitutes the Bible cloud. Additionally, people can add tags for any topic, such as community, faith and prayer. This makes for the Sermon cloud, which is where the site gets its name. The number of tags added then of course makes the words increase in size within their respective clouds.

This site isn't pulling any punches either, delving into the nitty-gritty of our society, covering topics such as: sex, sin, social justice and even the taboo of pornography. The cool thing is, none of these categories are pre-defined, so what you see on the site is geared to be a representative cross-section of the user demographic. If a particular topic is being tagged often, it means that people are preaching about that more. If it takes off, it could be a way to keep tabs on the pulse of our culture, checking the spiritual temperature.

Overall, I am very impressed with this site's functionality, and am excited to see how it fares. It is a testament to the versatility of the CMS which runs it: Ekklesia360. I think this site will be a great way for churches to let the rest of the world know about them, instead of having sermons localized only to a particular church site. That's enough from me, go visit Sermon Cloud.