You are here

Why Transcribe?

Why Should You Have Your Sermons Transcribed?

Before that question can be answered, you have to understand why people download transcripts in the first place. Most people don't go online to find sermons; they go online to find answers.

Why hasn't God answered my prayer?
Where is God when I'm hurting?
What does God really think about divorce?
Did my friend [or parent or child] who just died go to heaven?
What did Jesus mean when He said to be perfect?

When a person goes online to find out whether or not they can lose their salvation, and they come across a sermon called Can You Lose Your Salvation? and they have the choice between downloading the 30-minute sermon or the transcript, which do you think they will choose?

Based on my research, three times as many people choose to download a transcript when given a choice between transcripts and audio sermons.

Why? Here are a few reasons:

  • People are busy, and it's faster to read a transcript than to listen to an audio sermon. If their only choice is to listen to a 30-minute sermon, there's a good chance they'll move on to another resource.
  • They can print it and highlight the parts they want to study more.
  • They can be read by the hearing impaired.
  • The font can be enlarged for the sight impaired.
  • They can be translated into other languages using online text translators.
  • They are keyword searchable.
  • They can be used as study guides by Bible study groups and Sunday school classes.
  • Bits and pieces can be cut and pasted into blogs and emails to share with family and friends.

How Can Pastors Use Transcripts?

I can hear you now, "Okay, I'm convinced transcripts should be put on my website for others, but how can I as a pastor use sermon transcripts?" Fair question. Here are some ways:

  • They can be used as the basis of blogs, newsletters, magazine articles, and you can turn your sermons into books.
  • They can have bold, italicized, and colored text to emphasize Bible verses and numbered lists.
  • They are keyword searchable. (No more accidentally telling the same story you just told 6 months ago.)
  • They can be archived and cataloged electronically.
  • They can be indexed by search engines. Search engines cannot index audio files.
  • They will be much smaller file sizes than mp3s.
  • They can be used for closed captioning of television broadcasts, web media, video-sharing sites, DVDs, and videos.

The Main Reason I Believe You Should Have Your Sermons Transcribed

I believe the most important reason you should have your sermons transcribed is to reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus Christ and to provide a resource with answers to the kinds of questions listed at the top of this page. You're probably already addressing these issues in your sermons; you're just not reaching as many people as you could because you aren't providing the answers they're searching for in a format they would be willing to open.

One of the churches we transcribe sermons for on a weekly basis is Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (John Ortberg) in California, and their transcripts are downloaded around 10,000 times a month. That's just one church. This is a nation starving for spiritual direction, and these numbers prove that many people are "feeding" on sermon transcripts.

Most people...especially unsaved people...won't take the time to listen to a 30-minute sermon, but millions of people will spend a few minutes reading, cutting and pasting, saving, printing, and sharing bits and pieces of transcripts.

If it is true that three times as many people download transcripts as audio sermons, and you're only posting audio sermons on your website, how many people are you not reaching?

Let us help you get started today!

Ginger Schell, Owner of SermonScribe


"To reach people that nobody else is reaching, you have to do things that nobody else is doing." ~ Craig Groeschel