E-lert - October 2013

Working Preacher reaching new audiences through YouTube

Luther Seminary is reaching new audiences through its free preaching resource, WorkingPreacher.org, and its related YouTube channel. WorkingPreacher.org has garnered 1.95 million visits over the last 12 months and continues to grow by 30 percent annually. Additionally, the Working Preacher YouTube channel has attracted 292,000 views.

The newest feature on the YouTube channel is live events. On Oct. 7, Luther Seminary presented a one-hour conversation on The Future of the Church featuring Phyllis Tickle and Brian McLaren. It was moderated by David Lose, the Marbury E. Anderson Chair in Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary.

The conversation was live streamed on Working Preacher's YouTube channel, and attracted more than 1,000 views within two days. One of the live stream viewers, Joel Cramer, posted, "Wow, this is a very open and frank discussion. This so needs to happen." Another viewer, Kate Dalton, expressed her gratitude: "This was really great. Thanks so much to Luther Seminary for sharing with us all."

Another comment by rlmoger speaks to the impact the broadcast had: "Looking forward to having a conversation or two or three about this among my friends. Thanks to all."

In the past five years, the seminary has posted more than 270 videos from experts on biblical preaching, creating a space on YouTube where preachers and others can reflect on their craft and get inspired.

Some favorites of viewers include videos featuring Walter Brueggemann, Barbara Brown Taylor, Eugene Peterson, Lauren Winner, Haddon Robinson and others.

About one video, user Sandra D posted: "What excellent advice and wisdom. Hearing and applying this advice will transform the Church. It has already had a transforming impact on me. Thank you for this post."

The top two videos, "Easter is Coming" and "It's Pentecost," account for more than a third of the traffic to the YouTube site. The videos are spoken-word renditions of the animating impulse behind two festivals, Easter and Pentecost. They were the creative fruit of a collaboration involving Lose; Ben Cieslik, now an associate pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis; and Karoline Lewis, The Alvin N. Rogness Chair of Homiletics at Luther Seminary.

These two videos have been downloaded by nearly 2,500 individuals and congregations for use in worship, and viewed on YouTube more than 100,000 times. You can find out more about each video by reading David Lose's blog posts, "The Story Behind 'Easter Is Coming'" and "The Story Behind 'It's Pentecost'."

Next time you're looking for encouragement or inspiration for yourself or for a preaching colleague, check out the Working Preacher YouTube channel and share or comment on the videos that speak to you.